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Trying to make an impact on your customers now is harder than it ever has been before. Ads are everywhere – on every platform and bus stop. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get lost in the noise of all the other advertisements out there.
Coming up with new and creative advertising campaigns is only half the battle, as those can fail and flop just as easily as normal ads. The key to marketing – and creating advertisements that your customers will remember – is to make sure that you’re being authentic. Consumers have developed a sense for when they’re being fed a line, and when they’re being told the truth. This ability comes with skepticism. If your customers think that you’re trying to trick them, they’ll lose trust in you.
So how do you ensure that your advertising is authentic? There are a number of ways, though most of them boil down to ensuring that what you’re telling your audience is true and that you’re being respectful of your customers.
Tell a Story
People love to hear a good story – particularly if that story involves the tale of an underdog. You can spin a tale in your advertising – or, if you’re an entrepreneur, or own a business, make it a part of your content. If you can manage that, you’ll find that more of your customers remember you, and pay attention to your advertising. Everyone loves an inspiring story – so if you can provide that information about you, your company, or within an advertisement, you’ll not only find that more people remember – you’ll also get passed around by word of mouth.
One of the most powerful ways to get your target audience to pay attention and remember you is to make them feel an emotion. According to Randall Isenberg, attorney and founder of Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, “People remember advertising because it evokes an emotion. Not guilt, fear, or sadness – your audience will more than likely block out those ads. But happiness, pride, hope, and other strong, positive emotions will cause your audience to remember you. I do, even if I think the advertising is fake – or I don’t like the company – when they make me feel something strong, I remember them.”
This is easy to do badly. It’s easy to try and tug on someone’s heartstrings, and end up going too far. Some companies can manage to do it well by actually helping real people instead of staging something, or by helping a cause.
Now, if there’s one thing we’ve seen recently, it’s that it is incredibly easy to try to make an advertisement to reach someone – but to do it so badly that you end up losing sales instead. Consumers today are incredibly aware of pandering. If they think that you’re being inauthentic, talking down to them, or don’t mean what you say, they will call you out on it. You only have to look at the recent advertisement put out by Pepsi that tried to profit off of protests and rallies to see that this is true. This tone-deaf advertisement tried to convince their target audience – fiery young adults and teenagers – that they were on their side, and prepared to protest. And while the ad may have been well-intentioned, it certainly came across as pandering.
Anymore, consumers are looking for brands to which they can feel connected. This is true, even for large businesses. Customers want to know about their companies. They want to know if they’re being environmentally friendly, what their stances are on certain issues, etc. Customers want to make sure that their money is going to a company that supports the same values as them. This means that to attract new customers, and ensure that you keep your old, you need to incorporate your values into your advertising – beyond the three ways outlined here. If you’re donating to a cause, make sure your customers know. People who support the same cause are more likely to give you their business if they know you support the same.