Why does SONY or Office Depot or
Best Buy spend millions putting their name on the
side of stock cars? Why does Goodyear float that big
blimp over football games and golf tournaments?
you ever once had the urge to run over to Office
Depot after the race and pick up some office
supplies? Or stop by Goodyear after a football game
and grab some tires? If not, whatís the point?
Arenít these companies wasting their money?
Even more confusing, the race car
says absolutely nothing about Office Depot. It
doesnít say "we have great products." It doesnít
say, "we have low prices." It doesnít say, "we have
convenient location." Most likely there is nothing
in or about that race car that has anything to do
with Office Depot.
And there are no tires on the
What do these giant companies
know about advertising that you donít? Itís the
power of name recognition - a key element in
One theory of branding dictates
that a prospectís buying decision is greatly helped
along by multiple positive exposures to a company
name Ė sometimes hundreds or thousands of them.
You go to a major league baseball
game and see a SONY sign on the wall. You donít
think much about it, in fact you probably would
never remember seeing it, but when you go to buy a
TV months later, that brand has been reinforced in
your mind and it becomes a powerful motivator when
looking at two TVs Ė and one is a SONY.
Thatís why big companies spend
millions on name recognition ads that are never
going to close a sale Ė but certainly do help grease
Advertisers with smaller budgets
tend to want ads that are going to generate
This is understandable. We just
spent some hard-earned money on an ad and we want
that phone to ring! "Call to action" ads, they are
often called - since they are to incite a prospect
to buy something NOW!
We want that instant
gratification - itís how we evaluate our advertising
- but itís often a mistake. We fail to take into
account two big factors: First, the prospect may not
be in the market "now." Second, we forget the
longer-term benefit of name-recognition branding.
Take an insurance agency, for
example. They run an ad package that costs $2,000.
At the end of the 30 day "call now" campaign, they
can only identify $1,200 worth of commission that
came directly from the ad - nowhere near the
break-even point. Was the ad campaign a mistake?
They need further analysis. First,
only 1 of 12 readers/listeners, statistically, had a
renewal coming up in the month of the campaign.
(assuming all 12 month policies) Did that mean the
ad was wasted on the other 92% of the prospects? Of
course not. It could be assumed that a certain
percent of prospects will continue to respond to the
campaign, having noted it while it was running.
But the big benefit of the
campaign may never be understood by the advertiser
or attributable to the campaign: name recognition.
Many of the prospects that may have been exposed to
the ad campaign had the name of that business
plugged into their mental database.
Five months down the road, one of
those prospects does a Google search for a local
insurance agency. None of them sound familiar -
except one, because heís heard the ad - and thatís
the one he calls and thatís the one that earns the
business. When the insurance agency asks, "How did
you hear about our agency," the newly insured says,
"I found you on the Internet."
And the process may be repeated
over and over again, contributing business for years
depending on the branding effectiveness of the
campaign itself. The trouble with most "call to
action" ads, is the name recognition factor often
gets lost in the reams of data pressed on the
prospect in order to get them to do something "now."
The advertiser is confronted with
a choice: Short term vs long term results. Looking
at the modeling of Fortune 500 company ads, itís
apparent they believe in both. You will find your
classic "call to action ads," i.e., coupons ads and
sales, but also a strong reliance on name
recognition branding ads for long term results.
Never underestimate the
importance of name recognition brand building. It
will yield long-term, annuity-like rewards in the
form of new business. It may not be immediate - but
it is powerful and reliable.
If you are a vendor or insurance
company selling to insurance agencies, your ad may
never close a deal or cause the phone to ring today.
Yet when your marketing rep stops in an office and
hands a business card to your prospect, or your
prospect experiences some event with a competitor that causes them to
seek a new provider, your advertising will pay off
As a result of your branding ads,
the prospect will be familiar with your company in a
positive way. You will have built credibility; a
comfort level that an unknown or lesser known
company just canít own.
Always remember that more
purchases and buying decisions are made for
emotional or sub-conscious reasons than are done for
intellectual reasons. People make buying decisions
that are comfortable, easy and emotionally
rewarding. Absent other factors, people will almost
always choose to do business with a well known
company over an unknown ó regardless of the relative
merits of the unknown company or product.
How would you like to be a TV
salesman trying to sell a new Zap-o-Matic TV against
a SONY? Even if the Zap-O-Matic is technically
superior and carries a lower price? Consumers want a
well-known brand. They want the comfort level of
dealing with a leader. You become a brand leader by
exposing the marketplace to your name and logo over
and over again.
Donít be so fast to declare an ad
campaign unsuccessful simply because it didnít
pay-off big during the campaign run. If you made a
powerful brand statement, it may be like money in
When you design your advertising
remember: there my be nothing so important in the ad
as your company name and logo - the visible or
audible symbol of your brand.
Always advertise consistently and
from multiple angles. The more places and times your
brand appears, the stronger your brand identity will
be in the marketplace.
Advertising experts tell us that
an advertising message must make 5-8 "impacts" on a
consumer before it is noticed or effective. Thatís
why single-run campaigns are often unsuccessful.
Subsequent ads build on past ads. Each campaign
becomes more powerful and more effective as ad
I proved this to myself years ago
with a direct mail campaign to insurance agents in
the Carolinas. Although thousands of mail pieces
went out on the first mailing, there were a small
percentage of responses. The second mailing was
slightly better. Many advertisers would have called
it quits at this point, since the campaign had
generated an unsatisfactory return.
Yet by the 6th mailing, the responses had
increased to 15 times the what we had experienced on
the first mailing! Consumers are not required to pay
attention to your ads. If you want to lease that
little space in their unconscious reserved for brand
identification, you must assert your presence over
of Advertising Part II - How to
Design Effective Print Ad Copy.