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Communicating your brand through advertising in the digital age

What ads do you watch/see versus which ones do you tune out? Advertising is an important aspect of marketing. Ads generally are part of a careful strategic marketing plan and a way to communicate your brand and offerings by effectively demanding the desired viewer’s attention and focus.

These complex goals continue to be an interesting challenge in the era of smartphones and social media. Ads can be designed for television, print, billboards, direct mail, fliers, social media, radio, podcasts, events (in-person or virtual) and more. They can be digital, videos, type-centric and audio files. Your well- thought-out advertising mix is important. In today’s era of over 4 billion people online at any point, it is hard to develop any impactful campaign without including an internet presence.

Effective ads raise brand awareness, drive customers or donors to you, introduce products and services, expand existing sales and differentiate you from competitors. Additionally, a good ad campaign considers several elements based on desired reach and budget.

Whether you are working with an agency or on your own, make sure the campaign is designed with advertiser analytics capabilities to note what aspects succeeded for the money you spent.

The ad budget typically includes costs for research, design, development, format execution (such as audio, video or print), analytics, and actual media buys. Ad budgets should be upwards of 1% of a business’ total budget and in many cases, depending on the industry, more.

Reaching the audience

In terms of advertising reach, an important concept for those paying for ads of any type, demographics vary considerably and should be researched carefully before you buy. For example, LinkedIn is now in active use by 660 million professionals, skewing male and 35-50 years of age.  You probably would not use LinkedIn to reach a younger audience.

Social media video newcomer TikTok, or online games with product placement, would be expected to reach a younger market. For example, the new Warner Brothers basketball-focused “Space Jam” movie just incorporated a customized major campaign on internationally played King “Candy Crush” smartphone/computer games. Orange basketballs creatively replaced the regular orange candies well known in the game. YouTube influencers and Instagram ads are all about product placement and subtle advertising hidden between posts.

There’s even a psychology of color in advertising design reported to influence buyer spending habits. As noted in,  warm colors inspire passion (red), vitality (orange), youth and energy (pink) and happiness (yellow.) Cooler colors like green invoke serenity, calm and nature. Blue relays loyalty and truth in your communications. Purple conveys royal and sophisticated consumer offerings. Black signals drama and power while white signals cleanliness and purity. Brown is a color of trust.

Choose your campaign, logo and brand colors carefully, remembering that there are even some global differences in color perceptions. For example, research has shown that white represents death in China as opposed to purity in other parts of the world. Therefore it is always a good idea to test colors and perceptions with your intended markets and customers.

Younger target audiences may prefer some colors over others as do older market segments. Color gives a brand its personality and the right color should appeal to your defined audience in whichever format(s) you are working. Newer brands have the added challenge to review competitor colors and differentiate themselves.

Finally, your creative ad content needs to simply persuade and motivate a favorable action for your product or organization. With videos and smartphone messaging, the current ad trends offer very succinct and benefits-focused copy in order to gain prospects’ attention in a short window of opportunity. With the cost and visibility of overall branding and advertising, it pays to give attention to a variety of advertising issues well before you begin your marketing campaigns.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Strategic Marketing & Communications and can be reached at [email protected]