When we think of advertising today we think intrusive, disrupting, uninvited, ignored and so on. The reason is because it literally gets in our way and our reaction is to find the little “X” in the corner as quickly as possible to shut it down and resume our original course of action.
Anything that gets in the way of our ability to discover new things and make connections in our thoughts is not adding value, it’s consuming our most valuable asset, time. We give websites only a few seconds and if there is nothing of significant value we move on, until we find something profound. I’ll provide some examples of how to create profound or remarkable content later in this post.
We should start with why people are becoming immune to advertising, and why companies should be setting higher standards for their brand sooner rather than later.
Advertising online consists of some sort of call to action, such as a banner, or in search engines it can be above or to the right of the organic results, it can be videos that display a product, a promoted Tweet, a sponsored Facebook post, or god forbid a popup, etc.
Where Do Customers Learn More About You
If we see an advertisement, from a company we aren’t familiar with, for a product we haven’t heard about or expressed the need for, then why would we suddenly decide to click on an ad. We don’t, we ignore it, and if it keeps interfering we resent it. It’s right up there with telemarketing. We can’t draw any connections to it, so we can’t trust it, or even give it a fraction of a second to explain why we should.
However, we react differently when there is a connection. It doesn’t have to be a close connection just something that would explain whether it’s going to be interesting (they researched who I am, why I’d be interested) or a waste of time (they have a list with thousands of people to call).
The first thing I want to know is the name of the company, so I Google it, look at their website and perhaps their about page. If that tells me something of interest, I may want to go to Twitter, Facebook or their blog to see what they’ve been talking about recently. It might give some insight into why they are reaching out to me, and what they want to sell or show me.
What About Brands I Already Know Exist
You can look at brands like Apple, who go to the extreme in expressing their aligned vision for creating beautiful technology that enables anyone anywhere with the tools to pursue their dreams. We can thank the visionary in Steve Jobs for creating something that would truly make a difference and change the world. We are attracted to that, and anything that reminds of its existence is not seen as inappropriate but as inspiration.
To be like Apple, you have to inspire. To attract people, you have to give them something profound. To become a great brand, you have to employ great people, who do great things, and are given the opportunity to share great things about those they admire or about their love for the product and what it stands for.
If Apple calls, I am intrigued because my initial thought is it will be something good. They don’t need to resort to unsolicited type sales, their customers are very much aware of what they are up to and this is typically because people expect game changing technology from Apple. They know Apple is on their side, and working hard to deliver the next revolutionary device that makes our lives better.
What’s The Value
To justify the costs of communicating your brand effectively, building awareness about what makes you different (to avoid differentiation on price – aka race to the bottom), you might look at the specific demographics of your ideal customer. What occupation are they in? What are their interests? How can you create content that would align with their interests?
In addition, you should also have an idea of the value in gaining your ideal lifetime customer, one who buys from you repeatedly, comes to you for service, refers customers willingly and leaves positive reviews about their experience.
If your dealership doesn’t have a social media strategy, or isn’t actively engaging online where others can see conversations taking place, then the only differentiator is price. There is a way out, and it’s about creating value in the form of content which gives customers an inside perspective on your business so they can determine if there’s synergy between your company and their values.
Here’s a list of sources where you might find profound content that creates brand associations with the type of experience one may expect. If you hire great people, you will find that they have just what you need to put out there for customers to connect with.
- Employees – What type of employee represents your brand? How do they communicate it in their day to day actions? What can you say about them on a blog that people ought to know about?
- Community – What do you support in the community? Why do you help? What do you want to see change? How does your product help contribute to the community?
- Causes – Do you support or contribute to a particular cause that helps people?
- History – What year was your company founded in? What’s the story behind the business, is it a family business?
- Customers – Who is your ideal customer, can you spotlight them on a blog with pictures and information that they would like shared?
- Awards – What types of awards have you earned? What awards are you trying to obtain?
- Purpose – Besides making money, what is your purpose or vision for your company?
- Vision – Can you explain what you love about your business, how it’s different, etc?
- Stories – What are some customer experiences that would shed some light on how you handle situations?
Those are just a few examples to draw from when coming up with content that will make an impact on others. It’s a way for people to build an identity of your brand because advertising doesn’t accomplish that.
For luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, valuation is up 7% from 2011 to $25.9B. The interesting correlation to automotive is that the “product is much more about the experience, than about the product.” They also place significant emphasis on how a brand speaks to their heritage and the history of family businesses. [source: Millward Brown]
Don’t Neglect The Value Of Building A Brand
When you advertise you get peoples attention for a few seconds, when you invest in your brand and create profound content you build relationships, trust and respect.