"Good brand advertising is to get customers in and increase sales – it is all about sales"
Marketing a 21st Century art form
Choosing the best way to get the word out about your franchise is not easy; the continually spiralling multitude of available platforms is enough to daunt even the most analytical.
Every year, billions of pounds are spent on advertising and promotion to keep companies at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Getting marketing right can lead to an increased market share, a sharp rise in sales, an improved public image and, ultimately, a more profitable business. Getting it wrong, however, can be extremely costly and often embarrassing.
According to marketing expert Paul Saxton, setting your brand apart from your competition, by identifying the point of differentiation of your business, is extremely important.
Paul says: “We all know we live in a world of similar products and, lets be honest about this, most companies do not have a USP. So what you have to do is identify something that is different about your company and put it to consumers in the right way.
“Creating that point of differentiation is important, but you have to choose how to do it.”What is widely disputed is the approach that companies and individuals should take to the art of selling. Because the effects of advertising are very much immeasurable, it has always been difficult to pinpoint exactly what sells and what does not.
“In good marketing, there is always a concept approach and there is always an approach where you are thinking about the end product,” adds Paul. “Marketing depends entirely on the business, service or product. Good brand advertising is to get customers in and increase sales – it is all about sales.”Throughout the latter part of the 20th century, businesses began to wake up to the power of advertising. They began spending more money than ever on illustrious PR and marketing campaigns to get consumers talking about their brands and, arguably because of the internet, this marketing trend has only accelerated since the millennium.
Paul continues: “Firstly, I think that online marketing is overstated and overrated. It can be a very dangerous route to go down. People often think that because it’s cheap or often free: ‘what have we got to lose’.
“What you have to lose is that you can affect your brand and end up with a boring Twitter account or a boring Facebook account that everybody gets fed up with and never achieves anything.”However developing web leads with an effective social media presence can be hugely advantageous for a company, if it is done correctly.
Paul concludes: “I always say to clients of mine, if you are not naturally gifted or not naturally funny or can’t write – don’t do it. If you have somebody within your company that is a fantastic writer, use them. Don’t use an advertising agency because you think you ought to. But I would say, if you are struggling, go to the professionals.”
Developing a campaign that is right for your business or franchise is extremely difficult and takes an extensive knowledge of your own business and your customer base.
“You have to think at all times about what the consumer wants. People start waffling on about things like their extended company history, when in reality consumers are not interested, or at least not immediately interested.”
Paul believes that identifying the underlying message of your company and transmitting it to interested parties is key to a successful campaign. He says: “It is great to have something underpinning your advert, identify the message of your company and stick with it. You can run all kinds of campaigns; it doesn’t matter if the wording changes or the adverts change as long as the important message of your company is a constant.”
Decades ago, when the available platforms for placing an advert consisted mainly of newspapers, magazines and radio, deciding where to place a campaign to achieve maximum impact was a much easier task. Now, with the emergence of product placement, fast-moving web trends and branded products, the options are almost limitless.
“I like print advertising. It gives you a space on a page and you can do with that space whatever you want,” says Paul. “Everyday I look at newspapers and magazines and my heart sinks because companies have completely wasted their opportunity in publications.
“Yes, people flick pages, but they wont flick the page if their attention is caught by something they are currently interested in. Getting people to stop and look is the advert doing its job and then you need to have some information to give people more. Adverts have to be clean and nice, but at some point during the chain of communication there has to be some cold hard information for people to digest.”The constant struggle to keep an idea or campaign fresh is something that has perplexed companies for years. According to Paul, refreshing an advert or branding is often counterproductive: “One of the things we often find is that you do a fantastic advertising campaign and six months later the brand wants to change the campaign, based on the personal preference of the client. You think about some of the greatest brands out there – they haven’t changed a thing.”
Some of the most successful brands in the world have sold the underpinning message of their business to consumers and maintained that concept for decades, enabling them to build up a successful business on reliable and ascertainable foundations.
For all the debate about online presences and situation analyses, the fundamental principal remains the same. Identify the unique story of your product, service or franchise opportunity and tell it to those who are interested. Making sure your adverts are breath-taking through Wilde-ly witty wordplay and mesmerising imagery is important – getting the message right is crucial.