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I read two posts lately mentioning humor in advertising. This excellent one from MarketingProfs’ Ann Handley outlines the advantages of humor and offers tips on how to approach incorporating it into your message.
Another, from Jill Rosen, suggests that (at least with Super Bowl commercials) successful ads are not about humor or even sex. Instead, they tell a story.
But whether it’s humor or telling a story, both can be difficult.
Humor is subjective, so can succeed or fail with equal likelihood, and there is the danger that the audience will forget the product but remember the joke. Another potential limitation for humor is limited freshness. Once you’ve heard the joke, you seldom want to hear it again, so humor tends to do better with multiple executions in a campaign.
On the other hand, telling a story in broadcast durations can be challenging, even with all the tools of words, picture and music (though, as movie trailers prove, 30 or 60 seconds can be enough to pique one’s interest about the story and drive an audience to a site or even a theater.) Still, a storytelling approach does easily support the goal of setting up the product or service as the hero and problem solver.
Both humor and storytelling are powerful methods of delivering a message and entertaining the audience, but the question becomes which (if either) is more appropriate and effective for the brand and the message?
There are no hard and fast rules to answer that. We must make judgments based on research, experience and intuition. But there are some things to keep in mind in following either approach.
If you can’t swing multiple executions of a humorous spot, try to include one element that the viewer anticipates and looks forward to repeatedly. It can be anything from perfect casting, a single character reaction or expression, something understated but funny or even something unusual in the background action.
In a storytelling spot, the viewer should feel rewarded for having seen it, either moved, enlightened or both, and two of the most powerful tools to achieve this, aside from the relevance of the story itself, are music and, in the case of voiceover, casting . Music is a direct highway to the emotions and sets the context while the voice conjures an image and personality in the viewer’s mind that can make or break a brand. That might seem obvious, but in the production process it’s easy to settle for what works at the expense of what’s perfect.
Ad Giants is committed to helping companies streamline their marketing processes using the best processes, gleaned from years of marketing experience. For more information on how to brand a company or our mission to make marketing simpler and more efficient, find us on Facebook, Twitter, or at AdGiants.com!
I’ve made a list of customer experiences I’ve had recently, and though utterly anecdotal, they make me believe businesses are taking customer relationships more seriously than ever. Maybe economic conditions explain the increased attention, or maybe businesses finally understand that it’s far more expensive to attract new customers than it is to keep existing customers, who if dissatisfied, could venture into the marketplace and tarnish the brand’s reputation.
Here are some of the incidents I recall from recent years and the results:
My mechanic: I brought my teen’s car to him on the recommendation of an auto parts clerk. My son drove off in the repaired car, but after a few miles found that the accelerator stuck, and the brakes just barely overpowered the engine enough for him to stop the car and call me. Thankfully, there was no accident, but I was pretty steamed when I called the mechanic at closing time for most businesses. He was mortified. Immediately he dispatched and paid for a tow truck to bring the car to him. He stayed late and fixed the car himself, apologizing over and over while explaining how angry he would be if this had happened to his child’s car. As it happens, a fairly recent hire of his had worked on the car and left a piece of mechanics unsecured, which had moved into a position to block the accelerator linkage. He fired that mechanic the next day. When I needed car service again, I took a chance, and went to him again. Over the course of my next few business encounters with him I realized he was the most honest, fair and competent mechanic I’d found in this town, and I recommend him to close friends. At Christmas, I bring him cookies.
The outlet center: I needed a new dishwasher and bought one from the outlet center of a major retailer, the place where you get the returns and scratch-and-dents. I bought a refurbished unit, but when I was ready to install it I noticed a spring assembly was missing from the door hinge. I was steamed when I returned it, resentful of not just the long drive but the wasted effort of hauling it in and out of the house. The woman asked me if I’d like another dishwasher instead of a refund, but I explained that I could no longer trust their definition of “refurbished” if parts are missing. Polite and contrite, she invited me to look around and come back with my decision. And then she stunned me by offering me a new-in-the-box dishwasher (albeit, probably either discontinued or overstocked.) I found one that was twice as good as the one I’d selected before, and it cost about twice as much, too. I almost felt guilty accepting the offer, but accept it I did. I asked her why she was willing to make this offer, and she explained that she only wants happy customers because with social media, word-of-mouth can make or break a business. She also explained that she’d been burned herself, and knew how long a dissatisfied customer will hold a grudge.
The new dishwasher is a dream (if you dream about dishwashers,) and I will keep this business on my list of merchants when I’m looking for an appliance, though I’ll certainly inspect any refurbished merchandise more carefully before I lift it in my truck and drive back across town.
My ISP: One evening I was surfing the net and noticed my speed slow to a crawl. Even twitter was slow. I ran a speed test to confirm that my “high-speed” connection was actually slower than dial-up, then tweeted those results. Within five minutes a representative from my ISP DMed me, agreed the results were unsatisfactory, and promised to get back to me, and after ten minutes, she did. My speed was back to normal. I can’t overstate what an improvement that experience was over the ISPs clunky and frustrating phone tree process.
Clearly, social media is more than a soapbox; it’s a powerful tool for customer service and customer relationships, and each positive experience has the potential to build the brand’s reputation.
Content marketing solutions make your brand management simpler and more streamlined. Ad Giants can also streamline your processes, with years of marketing experience that translates to a knowledge of best practices to help customers stay ahead of the crowd. For more information on marketing CMS or our mission to make marketing simpler and more efficient, find us on Facebook, Twitter, or at AdGiants.com.
Keeping franchises on the same marketing page is critical for the brand, of course. It’s how the consumer knows the brand at a glance, the standards it represents, its position in the market, no matter where it’s seen.
But keeping the field on-brand shouldn’t be a one-way street. In fact, involving the field in corporate’s marketing efforts and direction is key to managing a successful brand.
When in Rome: No one knows more about what’s going on in local markets than the franchisees in those local markets.That’s information corporate can use and act upon to supply the needs of that market and any others in similar circumstances. Suppose, for instance, a franchisee is in an area with an annual regional youth sporting tournament that attracts thousands. A franchisee might want to target these visitors, maybe with discounts, promotions or a loyalty program. By making that need known, corporate can then determine if any other local markets could use a similar program.
Tap into the aggregated experience of franchisees: Franchisees have diverse experiences from which to draw, and often, they know what works and what doesn’t in their area. Sometimes a simple customization or localization of a corporate marketing piece can make all the difference. Good communication between corporate and the field is in everyone’s interest.
Build your brand community: When franchisees see corporate listening to their needs and responding, when successes are told and retold, it builds a sense of community for the brand and encourages more involvement and participation. That means more acceptance of corporate’s marketing materials systemwide, better ideas built both top-down and bottom-up, and acknowledgment for franchisees who take an active role in moving the brand forward.
So, your marketing content management system should allow for powerful customization and localization and provide an easy-to-use communication channel, for tweaking, input and feedback, brainstorming, requests, information and more.
Communication is a key element to streaming and improving marketing processes, and a key element in the Ad Giants approach to helping marketers achieve their goals. For more information on marketing CMS or our mission to make marketing simpler and more efficient, find us on Facebook Twitter , or at AdGiants.com.
Any attentive marketer keeps a watchful eye on all the mediums where the right audience lives. It helps you with the first requirement of communication: speak the language. And social media, because of its hive-like nature is a petri dish of new memes and conventions where language (and symbols) evolve.
So pervasive is social media that it’s often referenced in traditional ads. Yet it’s not necessarily a completely different beast from tradition advertising. Some commonalities:
- Brevity – whether enforced by a 14-character limit or just encouraged by the size of the update box, brevity is a valuable quality in copywriting, certainly in headline writing.
- Getting Attention — Getting attention and building an audience is much of what social media is about. Getting attention to build awareness or make the case for a product or service is what much marketing is about, regardless of the medium. In either case, nothing much happens without the attention of the audience.
- Entertain and inform: Individuals on social networks create or share to entertain or inform for the inherent value of doing so, whether that’s validation, seeking alternative points of view, finding others with similar outlooks and personalities. Advertising informs potential prospects about the benefits of a product of service, often attempting to draw and holding attention with entertainment value, created or borrowed, and the style and tone can certainly be inspired by social media.
So marketers can borrow techniques and conventions from social media that might serve them well elsewhere. Here’s an example. Now I don’t know if this has been done, but if not, it’s just a matter of time.
What’s the idea?
This. Really that’s it. One word: This.
It began as way to agree, much like “ditto,” but it’s since come to mean I approve or I really want this or this is the crux, what it’s all about, perfection etc.
Yes, it seems to work with almost anything, which is why it caught on in social media.
The unobstrusive “this.” It’s a determiner. And not a bad headline, assuming a little copy elaborates.
The point is, a meme isn’t stuck in the medium where it originated. No one gets all their communication from one medium, after all. A writing style can, now and then, step from its context to make a message more meaningful
So it can be helpful to stay alert for evolving language and forms of expression and add them to the toolbox as you create your marketing messages. Borrow what you need.
Finding new ways to solve problems remains the driving vision behind Ad Giants and the Ad Giants ONE system, a powerful marketing content system to help dispersed enterprises stay on brand. For more information on brand management, business software, or our mission to make marketing simpler and more efficient, find us on Facebook, Twitter, or at AdGiants.com!