Have you ever wondered how to execute an effective ad? Advertising is just as important as ever, regardless of whether the medium is online, in print or on social media channels.
But the market is saturated. With so many brands and businesses competing for attention, cutting through the noise is becoming more and more difficult. Which is why a great ad execution can make all the difference in helping to deliver effective communications.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a handy guide that you can follow to ensure your ad is a success and, most importantly, delivers a return on your marketing investment.
Get people to notice your ad
First things first – people need to notice your ad. The cost of advertising has risen quite dramatically over the years, so when you produce an advert, you need to make it count.
Your main objective should be to cut through the noise. There are tonnes of adverts out there right now selling everything and anything – how are you going to make people stop and take notice of yours above the rest?
Behavioural science can play a role when you’re trying to get your ad to have an impact. These are some popular tactics to try:
The Von Restorff Effect
Named after psychiatrist Hedwig von Restorff, the Von Restorff effect proposes that we are hard-wired to notice things that are bizarre, novel or out of context. Making your advert different from all others on the market will grab attention and stick in your consumers’ minds.
For example, WWF’s ‘would you care more if I was a panda?’ campaign juxtaposes a cute, cuddly panda’s head with a bluefish tuna’s body to draw attention to the overlooked fish’s plight. It’s familiar, yet different, and that’s what makes people notice.
The Picture Superiority Effect
Like the name suggests, this is the tendency to notice, remember and understand information depicted as images more than as text – in particular, faces or cute and simple pictures.
This ad for Nivea night cream is a powerful example of how simplicity works when executed well.
The Humour Effect
The humour effect is the idea that we remember and notice things we find humorous. People love to laugh and are also more likely to tell their friends, family and peers about something funny they’ve seen.
The next time you create an ad, try adding a splash of humour into it so that it sticks in peoples’ heads.
Adopting any of these when producing your ad can help focus your efforts and put the consumer at the heart of everything you create.
Ensure people know it’s your brand
This is where the dedication in creating and using distinctive brand assets really pays off. When potential consumers begin to notice your advert, you’re capitalising on the marketing investment made in previous years.
But what are distinctive brand assets?
They’re a set of combined elements that allow people to identify your brand easily. These elements include tone of voice, copy, colouration, fonts, images, sounds, characters, taglines and logos. You won’t necessarily use all of them in one ad, but they’re distinctive to you.
Great examples include:
- Checkatrade’s simple yet catchy jingle (it’s stuck in your head now too, isn’t it?)
- Compare the Market’s lovable meerkat characters
- Coca-Cola’s instantly-recognisable bottle shape
While your ad needs to have the quality factor, you shouldn’t rely on it to get your brand noticed. Distinctive brand assets are essential in representing your brand and remind people who you are. They create the associations that people have with your brand and, when seen, trigger a response.
Take the image below – what brand can you see?
You’re thinking of Dettol, right? By positioning itself as an expert within the cleaning sector, Dettol has cemented itself in the minds of its consumers through strong branding and creative advertising, becoming the go-to brand for cleaning products. Even though the picture’s blurry, it’s clear the image on the right is a cheaper imitation brand.
This shows why distinctive brand assets are so important, but also how copycat brand can start to erode these assets if yours aren’t strong enough to begin with.
A brand-building objective
Brand-building is the process of creating memory associations around what the brand stands for and the value it offers. If you do this well, your advert can help your brand come to mind instead of your competitors when people are considering the category.
To build your brand, you’ll need to consider the following:
Target the whole category
A successful ad targets the entire market for greater reach. Think broad to outperform your competitors and reach a larger range of people.
It’s shown that brands that target the whole market have a greater excess share of voice (ESOV) than those who under-target. As a result, they’re more likely to gain market share.
Build mental availability
Ultimately, what brand-building aims to do is build mental availability. In buying situations, customers choose brands that come easily to their minds. In behavioural science, this is called the Availability Heuristic.
Science describes how this is where people make judgements based on how easily things come to their minds when they’re thinking about something. Similarly, negative publicity detrimentally affects consumers, so be careful with your brand positioning.
Associate with category entry points
It’s worth trying to associate your brand with your category’s entry points – so not just at the point of purchase but when, where, how and who the category is consumed or used with.
You can also capitalise on these positive, relevant mental associations you’ve built in people’s minds when running sales activation campaigns.
Make your audience feel something
The most effective way to build brand associations is to make the audience feel something. Storytelling is a great way to use emotion within advertising. Characters, incidents and places are all helpful tools when coming up with a campaign that will stick in peoples’ minds.
This idea is called the Affect Heuristic. Science describes it as a reliance on good and bad feelings in response to a stimulus. In other words, think about what you want your audience to feel, and present content that will guide them to that emotional response.
Also, consider an emotional benefit proposition – perhaps around one of the basic implicit human motivations, such as excitement, autonomy or security.
These feelings tap into people’s subconscious ‘System 1’ brain, which is the intuitive, automatic thinking side that influences our day-to-day decisions.
Aim for fame
When creating your advert, go for gold. Aim to make your advert famous. If this idea overwhelms you, think about Cadbury’s gorilla ad. Released in 2007, it’s become one of the most recognisable TV ads in history.
Marketing Week describes how it very nearly didn’t get made, but it ended up increasing the brand’s sales by 10%. It was such a simple idea, but it stood out in an oversaturated market, made people look twice and got people taling about it.
A sales activation objective
Sales activation will likely be the objective of the majority of your adverts in your communications plan.
Brand awareness obviously plays its part in converting people, although consider the following to increase your adverts effectiveness:
Target an audience segment
While brand-building adverts focus on targeting the whole category, sales activation adverts are more about targeting one segment with one clear message.
This could mean that with every advert you create, you target a different segment with a different message that’s relevant to them.
There’s no such thing as customer loyalty, so when coming up with your strategy, opt for one that includes approximately 40% brand-building adverts and 60% sales activation adverts. The overall strategy should be to go after multiple segments to target a wide range of customers.
Communicate with your customers’ ‘System 2’ brain
The ‘System 2’ brain is the mind’s slower, more analytical mind. It takes longer to make decisions and considers them carefully.
In order to target this system of the brain, your proposition needs to be a lot more rational. Highlighting the main features and benefits of your product offering is one of the best ways to do so.
Always factor in ‘so what?’ whenever you’re talking about your product. It might be great, but why should your consumers love it? Make it simple to understand, as risk-free as possible and easy to action.
Consider using behavioural nudges
Nudge marketing uses suggestion and reinforcement to influence customers’ decision-making. It makes the conversion process quick and easy.
However, nudge marketing should never be used to trick customers into buying something. Be as transparent as you can within your adverts and don’t mislead them.
A nudge can be as simple as applying a badge to an online product that says, ‘this product will sell out soon.’ You’re simply warning customers that if they’re not quick, they might miss out, encouraging them to convert.
Think beyond your advert
Great – you’ve got your advert and distinctive brand assets, and you’re starting to become noticed by new customers. This means your efforts are paying off. But now’s the time to keep the momentum going by thinking beyond one advert.
Start to consider the following things to scale your content:
- Can the concept be used for sales material as well as in your communications?
- Will the idea work in different markets, particularly if you’re a global brand?
- Will it be affordable to roll-out into multiple markets?
- Is the concept used in the advert suitable for ongoing campaigns?
- Could elements of the advert become distinctive brand assets?
Need help getting started? We’re here to help. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can work with you to bring your marketing ideas to life.