Monday, December 01 2008
The Era Of The Brand Builders Is Over - The New Rules Of Marketing
How Behemoth Companies Have Brainwashed You Into Thinking That Branding Alone Or At All Is The Anwser To Increasing Sales For Your Small Or Medium Sized Business.Dallas Texas -- Dec 1, 2008 --
United States of America (Press Release
) December 1, 2008 -- So here's a quick recap of the last article: Big, national companies made a fortune by advertising on the tube. C & R, or Creativity and Repetition, became the calling card of the big advertisers, and their methods trickled down into other media besides TV. Now, here's a critical point: Advertising agencies
and business schools started to "benchmark" these companies. They said, "Hey look at these big, rich companies getting bigger and richer! I wonder what they're doing? ! " They did a little bit of research and discovered, "Oh, they're advertising on TV with all this creative, slogan-oriented stuff, spending a bazillion dollars on repetition...." which led them to this conclusion: "That must be how you do it." That must be how to get rich in business in this country. You spend more than your competitors on the tube, you hog up all the airwaves, put your name and slogan out there so everyone sees it 50 quad-billion times, do it all as creatively as possible, and as a result, you make a fortune."
And you know what, for a period of time, they were right. We call this the era of the "brand builders." In the 1950's and 60's, and even into the seventies to a certain extent, that was a no-brainer formula for market dominance for behemoth companies with the financial wherewithal to pull it off. So these ad agencies started running this formula for their other clients, even ones who were smaller and had shallower pockets. Business schools started teaching marketing and advertising based on methods that were being successfully implemented by the largest companies in the world...and churning out graduates who only knew one way to do "marketing." Brand builder marketing and advertising became the de facto standard for "how you do it," and after a few years, nobody even questioned the formula.
Which brings us to the crux of the problem. Everybody reading this article--with no exceptions...and let me be specific--YOU!--grew up in an era where almost all of the advertising you ever saw--and certainly all of the advertising that you consciously remember, like "Who squeezed the Charmin"--was a product of the "era of the brand builders." We became conditioned (or more to the point, brainwashed!) as to what constituted a good advertisement. We learned the pattern for what to put into a commercial. We learned about slogans and jingles and being funny. I'm not saying you had to sit in a classroom and get an MBA to learn this stuff; I'm saying we learned by osmosis, just by being around it constantly for years on end. We learned that in marketing and advertising, the outside perception doesn't have to reflect the inside reality. That's why I can have the audacity to say "everything you know about marketing and advertising is wrong." And this is the numero uno reason--uncounted years of unconscious conditioning.
So now, you're in charge of marketing and advertising for your company, and you need to create an advertisement, brochure, or website... so you draw on all of your collective creative resources. If you're going to put the marketing together yourself, you dredge your mental archives for everything you've ever seen before--for 30 or 45 or 60 years as you've grown up. Maybe you've been to business school--got the MBA on the wall--and you're counting on what you learned there for solutions. Business school certainly wouldn't steer you wrong, would it? Maybe you pick up some books from Amazon.com on marketing and advertising. Or if you're going to leave your advertising and marketing up to so-called professionals, maybe you go to an ad agency for advice, or hire some kind of a marketing person or department.
Well, here's the sad truth. All of the resources that you have either flat-out don't work, just don't know how to do it, or they teach you outmoded stuff based on the antiquated, brand-builder, "spend a billion dollars on creativity and repetition" C & R model that doesn't work any more. At best you'll get results that are severely under-leveraged. Maybe it still works to an extent for Coca Cola and General Motors because they literally spend over a billion dollars a year on the repetition side of the equation. GM spends $3 to $4 billion a year on advertising. McDonalds spends over $1 billion. Coca-Cola spends over $1 billion. Proctor & Gamble, over $2 and a half billion. You throw enough mud at the wall, some of it's going to stick. But that's why I can unabashedly say that everything you've ever learned, everything you've ever seen, everything you've ever done, it's ALL WRONG. ALL OF IT. That stuff just doesn't work anymore, and even if you do have a billion dollars to spend, it still isn't the way to maximize your return. There are new rules to this marketing game.
The inevitable resulting mess is known as "the current state of marketing and advertising"... where the outside perception built by the advertisements and marketing pieces do not reflect and reveal the inside reality of the company. To this end, most ads can be classified into one of two main categories...think about yours: It's either a) institutional advertising, or b) what we call menu board-style advertising.
Institutional ads are ones that essentially say "here's our name, here's our best attempt at being creative, and here's the biggest budget we could muster to support this junk." It's C & R at it's finest. Almost all big companies and ad agencies--along with many small business and small agency copycats, specialize in institutional advertising. This is what most television and magazine advertising you see is comprised of. For an example of what I'm talking about, open any national magazine to any page and look. Turn on any national television program and open you're eyes and you'll see it. You've been seeing this stuff for years now and may not even recognize the inherent problems in following their lead.
Then there's menu board style advertising, which basically says, "Here's our name and here's a list of what we have for sale." Just like a menu at a restaurant. We have hamburgers, we have chicken, we have salads, and we have roast beef. Maybe there's even a little picture of it. In advertising, it's "We're a moving company we load and unload. We move local and long distance. We move houses, apartments, and offices. We do commercial and residential moves. We have insurance. Oh look, a picture of a truck. No duh!" Get the point? Just like a menu at a restaurant, it's a simple listing of what's for sale. Many large companies and almost all small businesses specialize in menu-board style advertising.
If you let the newspaper or radio creative department put your ad together for you, you're almost certain to get a menu-board style advertisement. It's vastly under-leveraged because it doesn't do what advertising and marketing is supposed to do. It may interrupt and get some attention, but it most certainly doesn't facilitate the prospect's decision making process, it doesn't build a case, it doesn't lower the risk, and it doesn't lead prospects to say "I would have to be an absolute fool to do business with anyone else but you regardless of price." It just says, "Hey we have stuff for sale, come buy some from us for no justifiable rational reason other than we want your money.... if you even happen to see this ad in the first place."
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