Advertising Basics: What Advertising Can Do
Understanding marketing strategy and brand-building is the "thinking" behind a complete brand campaign. The second part is the "doing," or the advertising. Having a great marketing strategy is useless without building a successful brand and maintaining brand image with consumers.
Here we give you a primer on the basics of advertising.
What advertising can do
- Induce trial
If you have a new brand and want people to try it, advertising is a great way to gain awareness of the product.
Examples: Viagra, Zima, Baked Lay's Potato Chips
- Intensify usage
If you have a product/brand that has lost share/marketing momentum, advertising is a great way to "reintroduce" people to the brand and increase usage patterns.
~ Examples: Milk, V-8, Arm & Hammer
- Sustain preference
If you already have a strong brand but want to maintain high awareness and usage rates, advertising is a great way to "remind" people of why they love your brand and to build their brand loyalty.
Examples: Marlboro, Coca-Cola, Budweiser
- Confirm imagery
If you manage a brand that has a very distinctive image (expensive, elegant, rebellious etc.), advertising is a great way to cement consumer perception of the brand.
Examples: Godiva, Lexus, Absolut, Harley-Davidson
- Change habits
Your product may force people to reconsider their current behavior. Advertising can make changing a habit "acceptable" because the consumer learns how to change these behaviors through the advertising.
Examples: Cellular phones, microwaveable popcorn
- Build product line acceptance
Your brand may actually be composed of several individual products. Some advertisers promote an entire line of products. When advertising uses this approach, they are often hoping that if you currently use one product and are happy with it, then you will be more likely to buy other products within the line. This phenomenon is often called the "halo effect."
Examples: Kraft, Sears, Gillette
- Break the ice for salespeople
If the product or service you are marketing is very "sales intensive," then advertising is a good way to help sell the service benefits of the product. Advertising the benifits of a product and making them well known makes selling that product much easier - as consumers are "pre-sold."
Examples: Xerox, Avon, Saturn
- Build ambience
If your product is striving to own a certain consumer emotion, advertising is a great way to "hammer" that emotion home through creatives uses of music, touching vignettes/storylines etc.
Examples: Disney World, McDonald's
- Prove performance (via "torture tests")
If you say that your product is the best in its category, then you better prove it (sometimes in a test vs. the competition). By showing for example that Tide cleans better than any other detergent, advertising helps to build the performance profile of the brand. Examples: Timex, Jeep, Tide, Motrin
Jennifer Goodman is a marketing specialist at McKinsey & Company and graduate of Harvard Business School. This article is excerpted from Goodman's book, the Vault.com Career Guide to Marketing & Brand Management. Vault Members can read the entire career guide FREE online.