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Get Your Branding on the Road

Multi-channel branding delivers results so make sure your message is seen over and over again – and what better way to do so than high impact vehicle branding?

Monique Verduyn

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A brand is the proprietary visual, emotional, rational, and cultural image associated with a company or a product. It’s an organisation’s representation of what it stands for, often based on cumulative impressions and positive reinforcement.

A successful brand can be identified readily and is used for increased awareness of the business. Branding is used throughout the company, in its logo, stationery, business cards, on its website and in its tagline. One example of effective branding is the Nike “swoosh” logo because it’s instantly recognisable around the world. Another is MacDonald’s’ “golden arches” which are familiar to millions across the globe.

Branding allows a company to differentiate itself from the competition and bond with its customers, create loyalty and establish a position in the marketplace.

Brand basics

A great brand requires a great logo that is original, inspired and attractive. Once you have a logo, design templates and create brand standards for marketing materials. Use the same colour scheme, logo  placement, look and feel throughout. Integrate your brand into how you answer your phones, what you wear on sales calls, your email signature, everything. Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand and apply it to all written communication and in the visual imagery on all materials, online and off. Develop a tagline that is memorable, meaningful and concise.

One message, many channels

In a multichannel environment, a consistent brand image is essential across radio, television, print, outdoor and the web. A recent study by US media and marketing research firm, Arbitron, concluded that consumers who are reached repeatedly with a message, across several different channels, show higher advertiser awareness, brand recall and purchase behaviour. Outdoor media plays a vital role in the media mix, because it reaches consumers missed by other media and enhances the exposure of the brand. Outdoor media also reaches consumers only lightly exposed to newspapers, radio and television, and is complementary to print and electronic media advertising. It also reaches the entire socio-economic spectrum of South Africans.

One exciting new way to get your brand image across to consumers is vehicle branding. Marketing budgets have been slashed in recent months, but vehicle wrapping practically sells itself to companies that are interested in reaching potentially hundreds of thousands of viewers over the short-term.

Vehicle wrapping offers advertisers an excellent opportunity to reach commuters on highways and city and suburban streets. Wrapped vehicles place messages in front of target consumers, reinforcing the brand message in away that is highly visible and cost-effective.

Did You Know?

Products with visible brand names are everywhere; many times we don’t even notice them. But how much do those unnoticed exposures affect brand choices? Quite a bit, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Consumer Research. Researchers conducted a series of experiments using a brand of bottled water and found that participants who viewed pictures of ordinary people near bottles of the water were more likely to choose that brand over others. The study found that repeated exposure to a brand will lead to an increased likelihood of selecting that brand, particularly if consumers are exposed to it during their everyday activities such as reading a magazine or driving towork.

Monique Verduyn is a freelance writer. She has more than 12 years’ experience in writing for the corporate, SME, IT and entertainment sectors, and has interviewed many of South Africa’s most prominent business leaders and thinkers. Find her on Google+.

Advertising

Consumers Don’t Have An Attention Problem. It’s Just That Your Advertising Isn’t Very Good

With so much media available to consume, quality matters more than ever for ads.

Brendan Gahan

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If a brand releases an ad and no one sees it, is it still called “advertising”?

People have more tools than ever before to skip out on ads entirely. More than three-fourths of the people in North America engage in automated ad-blocking, and 10 percent of them block ads across four kinds of media or more, according to Deloitte. Much like the question of trees falling in forests, what good is a brand’s message at a time when people generally don’t want to hear its sound?

Ad units are shrinking in the wake of ad-blocking technology, but human attention span remains unchanged. Today’s consumers are surely more distracted than any previous generation, so they guard their attention spans more mercilessly. When advertisers can successfully command that attention for a minute or two, it means the consumer is watching an ad for the same reason he or she binge-watches Stranger Things on Netflix: The ad has managed to present itself as relevant or vital to the viewer. It wins every time.

Just 10 years ago, Gillette dominated the razor blade market. Its ads were comfortable, predictable 30-second units that reminded everyone of something they already knew: You need razor blades on the regular, so you might as well buy Gillette.

Related: Advertising Consulting Business Plan

But, the market had to reorganise itself with the appearance of Dollar Shave Club and its distinctly off-the-wall messaging. The notorious startup used quirky 90-second ads to spread its word online, presenting itself as unignorable by comparison to the competition. Even though we live in a time when people can skip ads, block ads and avoid ads, Dollar Shave Club’s marketing won major viral attention. It didn’t exactly kill Gillette’s Goliath, but it sure made Goliath sweat.

The lesson here is that people don’t hate all ads, they just hate the crappy ones. The bar for perceived quality in advertising is so low these days that many choose not to engage with anything on principle alone. People even close web pages they want to visit when the page auto-plays a video ad. When job number one of the advertiser is to interest consumers, it’s never been easier to annoy them.

Far from the rise of the six-second ad unit, there’s strong evidence that people generally want long-form content.

Ooyala reports that long-form video content consumption is up 30 percent from last year. Instagram used to be all about sharing individual photos and short videos, but now with the launch of IGTV supports 60-minute videos. The most widely subscribed YouTuber, PewDiePie, regularly posts 20-minute-long videos to a community of millions of fans. Joe Rogan’s podcast blends comedy, politics and philosophy for two to three hours at a stretch, and is one of the most popular podcasts on the internet.

People can, of course, handle stories and follow them over time. It’s one of the defining characteristics of humanity. But, there are so many stories competing for our attention nowadays that we are extremely selective about which ones we let into our lives. If any of these opt-in narratives will come from advertising, those ads must first run the ad-blocking gauntlet, then be immediately relevant and spectacular to the consumer upon arrival. The bar for perceived quality in advertising these days is actually quite high.

Related: 9 Strategies For Memorable Advertising When Your Audience Is Chronically Distracted

But, there is meaningful assistance on your way to clearing it. Social listening tools trawl the internet to learn what’s being said about and around different brands. With help from a company specialising in consumer insights and some Nielsen data, brands can better learn who their customers are, what they love and what they don’t love. This is key information in designing a vital, relevant message. In simplest terms, a brand must know its audience. The marketing needs to reflect what the audience is interested in, not what company leadership is interested in.

From there it’s only a matter of iterating and optimising. The great thing about digital advertising is that you get feedback instantly. You can iterate a campaign to make it better. Simple tweaks in copy, reframing key ideas and A/B testing can help make your campaign truly great.

Otherwise you run the risk of a mediocre campaign and a wasted media spend. No one wants to hear that sound.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Advertising

6 False Advertising Scandals You Can Learn From

Don’t stretch the truth the way Volkswagen, New Balance, Airborne, Splenda, Rice Krispies and Red Bull did.

Jayson Demers

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New entrepreneurs are often tempted to exaggerate what new products or services are capable of. No wonder: Presented to a powerful investor, a stretch of the truth just might help land that series A funding.

And, less seriously, a bit of marketing flair or showmanship, in many cases, will help an entrepreneur accomplish his or her without many repercussions.

But, in other cases, if you’re that entrepreneur who is caught deliberately misleading investors or consumers, you could face false advertising charges – and the ruin of your brand’s reputation. Consider these six examples:

  1. Airborne
  2. Splenda
  3. New Balance
  4. Rice Krispies
  5. Volkswagen
  6. Red Bull
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Advertising

Forget Everything You’ve Heard — Fear Doesn’t Sell

If consumers associate your product with fear, they may not have a strong connection to your brand.

Scott Brown

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Sixty percent of Subaru owners have dogs. So in 2008, when the company decided to sponsor Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, it made a major break from previous advertising campaigns — ones that showed drivers with other cars getting stuck in the snow, for example. Alongside a pledge to donate $250 to charity for every car sold, the company began to understand how to appeal to its core audience through their own interests — and how those tied together in a Subaru.

Since 2008, the company has been running a campaign called “Love,” one that brings together all the attributes that Subaru is known for — including safety and reliability. Instead of talking to customers by telling them all the bad things that will happen if they don’t drive a Subaru (e.g., getting stuck in the snow), the company began speaking in a more positive language — including bringing furry friends along on drives.

For many, the instinctive approach toward marketing is to tell an audience why they have to buy your product. Bad things will happen otherwise, and yours is the best in market. The others won’t help you reach your goal. The problem with that logic is that it doesn’t take into account the impact of brand image on product marketing. Sure, you might skid in the snow without a Subaru, but you need to think positively of the company as a whole if you’re going to be drawn to its products in the first place.

Related: How do I know that my product is market-ready?

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