In 1472, the first poster was placed on the doors of a London church and thus began the history of advertising. As a product of its times, advertising has changed a lot over the years, reflecting the technical capabilities of each century, as well as its social, economic, political, and cultural context. Fast forward 500 years, and advertising has changed a lot.
The average American is exposed to up to 10,000 ads every day, whether they come from billboards, TVs, or smartphones. In this oversaturation of advertising messages, brands who want to stand out need to carefully design their advertising strategy because one missed step means getting ignored or associating your brand with the wrong values.
There will always be advertising trends to follow, but if you want to increase the reach of your ads and create a lasting connection with your audience, you need to focus on five core goals first. No matter what advertising medium you’re using, these practices will not only help you draw attention, in a good way:
Try to get an emotional response from your audience
As human beings, we rely on emotions to make purchases, whether we’re aware of it or not. The emotions that a person feels when interacting with ad content are sometimes more important than the product itself, so don’t be rigid and impersonal. A good ad should entice the audience by generating some sort of emotional response, whether that’s joy, concern, empathy, or sadness.
Associate your brand with a positive feeling
People who associate your brand with a positive feeling are more likely to remember and purchase your products. Think of Coca-Cola, for instance. Their ad campaigns are less about the actual drink and more about the idea of family, sharing, and togetherness so that when most people think of a cozy family dinner, they automatically picture a bottle of Coke on the table.
Make the audience want to join you.
A compelling ad campaign should not only explain what makes a product special but also make the audience want to join the bandwagon. Apple is perhaps the best example here because, though their ads, they persuade people to become a part of the exclusive Apple family. This isn’t something you can achieve with only one ad, and it takes years of consistent work, but once you do manage to build this kind of image for yourself, your loyal customers will do the selling for you.
Benefits outweigh features
When you’re drafting ad copy, focus less on the what and more on the why. You only have a few seconds to impress your audience, so don’t insist on technical specs and product features – they can look them up on your website later. Instead, explain what benefits your product has, how it can make a positive impact, and how they can solve an existing problem. You can see this strategy best in insurance or bank ads, which don’t necessarily promote the product but instead describe how much better life would be with it.
Tell a story
Modern advertising is all about storytelling. Use stories to showcase your company’s mission and the principles it stands for. You can also include the stories of your clients in your ads, like Dove does, to show that you care about humans, and you’re not just a company. Keep in mind, however, that many brands are using stories these days, so if you want to succeed, you need to be genuine and tell your story from the heart.