Part 2 - Advertising - Where do I begin?
Last week we tackled this question from the perspective of a small business. This week, let’s imagine we have a big budget, but not much of a brand. You gotta start somewhere
Don’t be upset. It really isn’t odd for a business to grow without a memorable brand. There are thousands in every city. Congratulations on expanding this far. Now let’s take it to the next level. You have a great business, now let’s build the brand.
Last week I chose social media as the most important medium for small businesses. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for big business to be great at it as well. Your business will always be contested by challenger brands. The challenger brands that succeed are the ones that embrace new ways of operating. Social media is a new medium. It has a direct line to the wallets of new customers that could topple your business. Use your superior resources to get to them first. Have your employees trained in social media. Have an official account for your business, and encourage your staff members to tweet about your business through their own accounts. Embrace social media before your competitors beat you with it.
Decide what your “community” is and support it. Since your business has grown, your community might just be an entire city or province. Host your own events, sponsor other community events, and donate to local charities. But, whatever you do, do not turn your charitable donations into a commercial. Be humble about it. It’s not to be mentioned in your mass media campaigns. Let your donations grow organically. The moment you pat yourself on the back, you lose credibility.
You’re big now, so you need to play with the big boys. That means buying mass media. Last week I eliminated Print and TV from the mix immediately. I stand by that decision for all business sizes. And for the love of god, pull all of your money out of the Yellow Pages. That leaves us with my two favorites. Good thing they’re team players!
I suggest you begin your advertising journey with radio. I say this because radio is the only effective mass appeal advertising form with a deep message. It’s a deep message because you have time to explain why someone should use your services. It isn’t just a logo. If you buy radio, develop your brand with radio. I’ve been asked to make radio campaigns based on print ads, billboards, and logos. That is a lot more difficult than the other way around. No matter which media mix you begin with, always develop your brand first with the medium that has the deepest message. Expand your brand from there.
Billboards and bus benches can work, but they are shallow messages. You have eight words or less to promote your business. You can get a very clever concise message across in that amount of time. But, it is difficult. If you have budget, I don’t suggest buying only outdoor advertising. I would use it to reinforce your radio campaign. Let them work in tandem. Most people listen to radio in the car. Almost everyone who sees billboards, sees them from their car. They can easily work together. Broaden your brand by having them complement each other.
Those are my main solutions for advertising success. But, that doesn’t mean that this has to be perfect for you. There are so many different ways of advertising. None of them are wrong. But, they all can be used incorrectly. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to have a chat on how you can use one or all of these mediums.