IS YOUR AD KILLING YOUR BRAND?
by Karon Thackston © 2002
It's funny to me how companies spend thousands of dollars to develop a brand
only to wreck it when they create their advertising campaigns. They pour
over colors, fonts, logo designs, Web site creation, USPs, and target
audience analyses. But then, when it's time to bring their message to
the public, it all falls apart.
Case in point: a local technical college in my town has recently begun to
run a television campaign. This institution previously had an image of
providing cutting-edge training on technically based vocations. They have
spent the last several years touting how high-tech their facilities are, and
how leading edge their curriculums are. That's why I can't image what
happened during the production of this ad.
The background music is slow and rather classical. The pictures are of
smiling students carrying books, and of one of the oldest buildings on the
campus. The copy did do its job. The copy mentioned how the workplace was
changing and becoming more advanced day-by-day. It talked about how even the
simplest of jobs now require at least some technological "know-how." But the
clash between the copy and the imagery was painfully obvious.
What would I have done differently? I would have chosen each element with
the express purpose of supporting the brand. The music would have been more
upbeat and modern. The images would have been of students working at
computers, or in engineering labs. The closing shot would not have been one
of the oldest, stodgiest building on campus, but of the new stucco and glass
building they added 2 years ago.
The end result *could* have been an ad that completely portrayed the
innovative and advanced curriculums offered by this technology-based school.
The copy, the visuals, and the music all working in harmony would bring
about a much larger response, and would also reinforce the brand this
institution has worked so hard to create.
When you create advertising pieces for your company, look for the branding
aspects of each, individual element. As you work through the process, ask
yourself these questions:
o What identity am I attempting to portray?
o Do the graphics reinforce that identity?
o Does the music support my brand?
o Is the copy descriptive of aspects related to the brand?
o Do the colors fall in line with how I want to be viewed?
o Is the medium itself appropriate to my brand?
When the final product (whether it be a piece for TV, radio, the Web, or
print) is completed, show it to several people who are unfamiliar with your
organization. Ask them to describe the "essence" of your business based on
this one piece. If your combination is put together right, they'll be able
to do just that.
When you pay close attention to each element you'll have a powerful end
result. When everything works in concert, you will have a much more
beneficial campaign that works to contribute to your branding efforts rather
than destroy them.
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