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Advertising pays

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Working with some of the leading brands in the UK, Fusion Media provides innovative, inspiring and award winning work. Here managing director, Christopher Bassett, talks to Electrical Review about a hot topic – advertising

Advertising usually absorbs the largest part of any organisations marketing budget, so we can say that it’s one of the most important elements of promotion. Every day we are exposed to many different forms of advertising. Everywhere we look there are messages.

Successful advertising is all about sound strategic thinking, targeted execution and inspirational ideas. There are ways to save money, but advertising is typically not the place to cut corners. Doing so will affect sales, and that affects the bottom line. Successful advertising may cost some money, but that is because it works. You have to spend money to make money.

Below are our top tips:

Evaluate reach. Do the numbers stack up? What proportion of the total readership, viewers or browsers, meet the ideal profile and how does this compare between the different titles. Don’t forget that publisher certified readerships may be less reliable than those with independent certification from bodies such as ABC.

Establish an image. You can recognise the McDonald’s arches while whizzing by on the motorway. Likewise, there are plenty of products that you recognise by their packaging or logo alone. Image counts when it comes to advertising and promoting your business. Too many advertisers do not work to build a consistent image, and they’re missing the chance to make an impression on prospective customers.

If an advert works, stick with it. Run it more than once, or in more than one publication. Repetition is effective, and a business will save money by not creating new ads. Reuse your ads in other advertising mediums. If you’ve got an ad that’s especially effective, or looks great, reuse it in a circular, brochure, hand-out, flyer or direct mail piece and don’t forget to use the graphics on your webpages.

Good advertising uses creativity to attract attention. Creativity is an essential element in advertising. Good advertising uses creativity to attract attention and motivate further action. Advertising that lacks creativity cannot move people. Advertising that overdoses on creativity often entertains but may fail to convey the message. A creative balance is needed to make adverts work.

Think about real people. Demographics are fine, but these give you a stereotype. Try to find real people who fit your target audience profile and understand their needs and motivations. Empathising in this way can be a springboard for creative advertising.

Avoid skimpy briefs. Creative people need the full picture about who you want to address in your adverts, what you want to say, how you want the audience to respond and where this fits within the overall marketing framework. Include examples of previous advertising campaigns, competitor material, details of your proposed media and any research you have.

Give creative freedom. Allow the creatives to create three possible advertising approaches and test them.

Using a focus group or more informal polling check how typical target customers respond to the message.

Be different. We live in an age of communication overload. Audiences are exposed to many competing messages and can give each only a fraction of their time. To rise above this clamour, effective advertising must find a way to distinguish itself from all the background noise.

Less is more. In most cases simplicity pays. Many first time advertisers try to fill expensively purchased space with as much information and as many images as possible. This is too much. Keep the message simple and let your helpline, web site, literature or sales people take the sales process forward.

Be passionate. Enthusiasm is infectious. If your advertising does not convey your passion for your product then it will not convince the customer.

Communicate with colour. We have a huge palette of communication tools.

Advertising copy and imagery need to be carefully crafted, selected and presented to tap into the reader’s experience and emotional channels.

Have a call to action and a means to take things forward. Information line numbers and web site addresses in tiny type are a total waste – make them big, bold, simple and easy to remember.

If inspiration fails don’t force it. Do something else, take a break, go for a walk with your creative person. It is surprising how putting an idea on the back burner and having a change of scene can stimulate the creative subconscious.

Let it rest. If you have the luxury of time, always review your advertising ideas the day after. Incredibly, the perfect precision prose that you and your creative thought was perfect the day before, may reveal some unwanted hidden meaning you didn’t intend.

Things you should not do:

Don’t be too clever. The message should be easily understood by the majority of the audience.

Don’t infringe ASA codes. Legal, decent, honest and truthful are the basic requirements, but check the code for more detailed guidelines.

Don’t tease. Teaser campaigns can work – sometimes! Often, however, they confuse the message and can irritate some consumers.

Don’t knock. Tempting though this may be, there are legal nightmares and mentioning a competitor in a negative way does not win points for you.

Don’t be obscure. Make it clear what you are selling. Yes, we all sell solutions to problems, but when you cut your finger you need a plaster – not a flexible hygienic barrier clinical solution.

For further information please contact Fusion Media (Europe) on 01322 424 499 or visit www.fusion-media.eu.

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