Creating advertising is much easier and simpler than you think…
Giant multinational companies have very kindly spent hundreds of years and tens of billions of dollars figuring out how and why advertising works – so you don’t have to. They have already made all the expensive advertising mistakes there are to make – and learned the most important lessons of how successful advertising works. The easily followed rules of successful advertising they have learned inform the guidelines you see explained below.
1Consumers are not really very interested in your advertising
Unless you are the LEGO movie, consumers do not seek out your advertising. At worst, advertising can be an annoying interruption; at best, your advertising can be an interesting distraction. Always remember that consumers must be seduced and persuaded to pay attention to your advertising – they are not sitting at home waiting for your fascinating message to appear in front of them!
2You have less than 2 seconds to grab a consumer’s attention
It’s a crowded market out there – most estimates suggest a consumer will be exposed to over 3,000 commercial messages in a single day. So consumers have become very discerning in filtering out uninteresting messages. Your advertising must stand out from the crowd, grab consumer attention and communicate a simple, engaging message.
3Grab their attention with something relevant
Think about how many adverts there are when you can remember exactly what happened in the ad – usually a funny joke – but not who the advert was for. This is sometimes called ‘borrowed interest’ – when an advertiser grabs attention but with an idea that overpowers their brand or the message they want to get across, or their attention-grabbing idea has not enough relation to the message that the advertiser wants to get across.
4Communicate ONE message ONLY
If someone throws 3 balls at you when you are not expecting it, you will not catch any of them. If they throw one ball at you, you have a chance. Your advert works like these balls. As we’ve seen earlier, consumers are not waiting around for your advert. They are not walking around in their daily lives thinking about all the products and services that are on offer. You will be surprising them and asking them to catch and remember your message. Asking them to catch more than is asking too much. Be single minded – no matter how great you are offering, you must prioritise.
5Communicate what is UNIQUE about your offering
How do you stand out from your competitors? What do you do better than them – something that they cannot claim? Are you cheaper? Better value than them? Do you provide a better service? A more reliable service? Or a faster service? Are your products much better – what makes them better?
You need to find a position in the consumer’s mind, deliver a message about your offering that the consumer values and that you provide much better than your competition.
6Consumers buy products based on their emotions NOT rationality
Research has shown that about 90% of people’s buying decisions are made very quickly and almost unconsciously. Consumers base their buying decisions on the information they most immediately call to mind. Even in areas such as banking, insurance and air travel, where you would imagine people take a long time to consider their purchases, consumers rarely sit down and spend time rationally weighing up the positives and negatives of different companies. This process explains why we don’t spend 6 hours in the supermarket weighing up our weekly grocery shopping – brands provide a short cut for decision-making. And brands speak to consumers’ hearts not their heads.
7A picture is worth a thousand words
Yes, it’s a cliché, but that’s because it’s true! In today’s Instagram-obsessed world, visuals are more important than ever, and consumers are better at decoding the meaning of visuals than ever. Think about and choose carefully the picture you use – it will communicate a great deal about you, and what you have to offer consumers.
8What do you want consumers to DO as a result of your communication?
Some brands want to sell to you right away – to send you to their web site, make you pick up the phone, or to be at the front of your mind at a physical store – they focus all of their effort on making you perform the action they want. Some brands want to tell you more about their product or service as their offer is complicated, so they grab your interest and suggest you find out more. Some brands just want you to remember them, for you to be aware of them and easily called to mind when buying time comes. How about you: what do you want consumers to do when they see your advert? Make sure you tailor your advert to giving consumers a compelling reason to do what you want.
9Think about when / where / why consumers are most likely to buy your product
Do people most often buy your product or service on a specific day of the week – maybe when they do their big supermarket shop? Or at a certain time of the day? Or do people demand you most at a certain time of the year? Or perhaps they buy more when the weather is hotter or colder? Or perhaps your demand is unpredictable and all year round? Your goal is to have your advert seen as close as possible to when people make a buying decision. Think carefully about the journey a consumer takes when they consider buying your product or service and place your message when they are closest to their purchase decision.
10If at first you don’t succeed…
For decades – until the current digital advertising era – brands would spend many months and millions trying to create the perfect TV ad…and then they were stuck with it for at least a year. With digital advertising, this has all changed – businesses can change their digital ads quickly and cheaply all the time, anytime they want – some businesses even run multiple different executions of their ads to see which one works best.