Bad advertising can destroy good brands

By Russell Bell

SO I see that TVNZ have determined that they will "turn down the volume" on screaming commercials.

Possibly a good move, I have to say, as there are certain commercials out there that actually encourage me not to purchase products from certain businesses.

Now it is entirely possible that the lady who fronts the Big Save Furniture ads is a nice person and does not conduct business conversations at a volume that would cause birds to fall from the sky - but there is no way I am going to purchase furniture from her. The volume of ads on TV moves away from relaying information as an invitation to treat to an intrusion on your home, and we all know how welcome intruders are.

Which is why when you are planning a marketing campaign it needs to be more about the value than the volume. Emphasise the value you create and why you should be chosen over competing products and businesses.

Value is more than just price as well. It extends to the performance of your staff and products and beyond to the experience that you create. That "experience" lasts well beyond the point of sale. I was once challenged about this in a workshop by a provider of a very "vanilla" product who argued there was no "experience" per se.

His view changed when it was realised that his products were integral to the performance of important machinery and if the wrong part was sold or if it failed, the negative experience could be traced back to his company.

Your advertising will position you in the market place but also must add value to your brand.

Converting advertising dollars into sales is one measure but it also must properly and positively position your business. It is important to not confuse the market or send mixed messages.

One such example is where the "Countdown" family ads have gone. The Countdown Dad being made redundant is both topical and tugs at the heartstrings but I'm not sure that it positively positions the supermarket chain. Its opposition, Pak'n Save, already are entrenched as the low cost supermarket and they do this with an ingenious and simple advertising campaign. Countdown's response is complex by comparison and actually fogs their message.

Most advertising aims to leave the audience upbeat, as you are more likely to make a purchase if you are in a good frame of mind - in this case I just feel sorry for the guy.

But it is interesting that some of the most memorable commercials are really, really bad. In a lot of cases that is intentional, but again, you don't want your advertising to be so bad that you alienate a part of the market. The best thing that you can do is get advice from experienced and skilled professionals to assist you. With the right advice you will get the best bang for your advertising buck and your market will feel positive about your brand.

Zenith Solutions is a Wanganui-based management consulting practice. It specialises in providing strategic planning, business process improvement and financial management services. Contact or phone 021-244-2421.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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