From print media to digital marketing, your brand’s ads can be distributed to many channels. But, how to create advertisements that help you form a connection with your audience?
In marketing, it is important to create content that resonates with a brand’s target audience, but also is in line with the brand’s vision, mission and branding strategy. Ads that are created on a whim and without a plan, rarely help improve brand awareness and sell a product.
So how can you promote your product or service and reach the intended audience with your ad campaigns? Here are some tips.
Always start with a market research
When we say ‘do market research’, we mean find out all there is to know about your advertisement channels, trends, competitors, target audience and their demographic specifications, as well as what your brand has in common with their values.
Here are some questions you can start answering:
- Who is your ideal customer? The demographic, habits, interests, social platforms they use and purchase power are key information that will mold your ad campaign.
- What do they believe in? The values that resonate with them will help you build trust in the audience. Standing up for a cause that is relevant to them will bring your brand closer to their personal beliefs and help humanize it.
- Where do they spend their time, and which marketing channels do they mostly use? There is a drastic difference between a demographic that reads magazines and another that spends time on TikTok.
- What and where do your competitors advertise? Use the ads of your competitors to research what kind of effect they had, and perhaps if they should have used different channels. This data can improve your own plans.
- What is trendy right now? Research the popular styles, trends and causes at the moment, but don’t use them at the cost of disrespecting your own brand and values.
- In what way can you promote your values? Create ads that don’t simply sell a product, but also promote your beliefs and story.
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Learn your competition’s pain points and strengths
It happens so often to see ‘Number 1 bank in the US’, ‘Customers know what is best’, ‘Most reliable service in the region’, etc. But the thing is, no one believes you are truly number one unless you support that claim with facts or show what makes you better than the rest.
The best thing to do is to know what customers dislike about competition, and how you can make them believe that you can fill the gap they left open.
Here is a practical example: McDonald’s is widely known for advertising portions much, much bigger than what customers actually eat at their fast-food restaurants. At the same time, it is a public secret that the usage of additives in their meat helps them store food for longer periods of time, but also means that it’s not nearly as natural as it should be.
Here is how Burger King responded to these claims: by roasting McDonald’s in their ads and at the same time promoting the size of their portions and the natural origin of the ingredients they use.
Of course, a corporation as big as Burger King can afford to flame their competitors, but for a small business or an up-and-running startup, a move like this can be deemed not classy. Still, you don’t have to explicitly word your advertisement or refer directly to a certain competitor. Just use what users are most disconcerting about, and offer them a better experience through your service or product.
Research the best-performing recent ads
Some of the things that perpetually change in advertising are the aesthetics and design of ads, the language used in media, and the attention span of viewers.
So, instead of saying ‘produce trendy ads’, I will advise you to research what worked best in the past year or so. Through the evolution of advertising, many things have changed and new opportunities arose. What worked in the 50s doesn’t work today. Some of the best ads ever produced were inventive, courageous and broke the mold of what was expected. Yet, they managed to set trends in their prime.
So, the questions your research should answer are:
- What advertisement design style fits me and is noticed by audiences?
- How long does my ad need to be in order for viewers to get to the point?
- Which phrases and wording work best for my target audience?
- Where did the best ads get noticed? What are my ideal marketing platforms?
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Be creative with your visuals and copy
The most memorable ads are usually the ones that had unique copywriting, striking visuals or simply a very experimental approach that somehow worked.
For example, look at this Volkswagen ad that promotes a new parking system, without ever featuring the car in the visuals. The copy simply states ‘Precision Parking’. The visuals, at the same time, show the risk of imprecise parking immediately.
Sometimes, even with simple visuals, good copywriting and a hint of moment marketing can do the trick.
Here’s what Norwegian Airlines did when the news broke that Brad Pitt is splitting from Angelina Jolie. What a way to promote your flights to LA!
Of course, these ads were probably conceived and approved by a team of high-end professionals, and not every company can rely on such good logistics and human resources. But, if you have enough time to plan your next ad campaign, try to brainstorm how you can be creative and color out of the lines.
Use humor and try to evoke emotions
The ads that are best remembered and most relatable, are the ones that play our heartstrings or make us smile.
Sure, your corporate strategy matters and you want to be taken seriously. But people won’t feel joyful or touched by hearing the number of customers you’ve served in the past year. Instead, try to show how your business makes people feel better or helps solve their problems.
Here is an example of a heartwarming ad that I remember frame by frame. Rarely an ad by a bank is animated, cute and emotional. At the same time, how many other bank ads do you remember? Erste Bank knew that people respond to emotion and good storytelling, so they played that card and won.
Or, perhaps, humor can be your go-to strategy.
Audiences are receiving so much information through the media. We see thousands of ads daily, so one way to be memorable is to be funny. Instead of rambling on about how great your business is, why not make people laugh?
Know your values and stand up for them
One thing that also makes people relate to brands is sharing the same values with them. If tradition and reliability are something that your ideal buyer appreciates, your ads should show that. If causes such as Black Lives Matter or sustainability are important for your company and ingrained in your work, that is a good way to start approaching younger audiences.
But, make sure that you are not just jumping the hype train to get some sympathies. Pepsi didn’t save the world by hiring Kendall Jenner to offer a Black police officer a can of cola. Nor did these 25 corporations that blasted Pride ads help the LGBT+ community by funding anti-LGBT+ organizations.
The values you show in your ads should resonate with the viewers, but even more importantly, they should resonate with your own company and the people that work in it.
Styles, trends and media channels change all the time. The best way to create advertisements that resonate with your audience is to know the audience itself. When you pinpoint what matters to them and how your ads can reach them, you will be able to produce marketing assets that will impress and be remembered.