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    Making the Difference: Brands, Ads and Marketing


    Advertising and marketing are old allies that go way, way back. In fact, there is plenty of evidence that billboards promoting certain products were used during the brutal gladiator fights of ancient Rome. The billboard itself is an advertisement-an important facet of marketing.

    Marketing is an umbrella term for making consumers aware of a product. The gladiators endorsement is a form of marketing.Today, famous athletes such as Kobe Bryant endorse everything from vitamin water to video games: an effective marketing ploy. Marketing covers everything from pricing to product placement to publicity.

    Folks today conflate advertising, marketing and branding. It is easy to assume that advertising and branding are two different forms of marketing, each being appropriate to separate products and services.

     

    « Marketing is about the overall commercializing of a product or service, advertising is about communicating a message to a target audience, and branding is about building a long-term relationship with the customer. »

    Charles Landriault, Drive Branding

    Branding is Bigger


    Branding is bigger than advertising. How so? How can a fairly new practice become more important than advertising- a practice that has been performed successfully for centuries? Well, branding asks the bigger questions. An advertiser or marketer will answer the practical questions such as “What can I buy?” Branding answers the more fundamental question “Why do I buy this?” Although this question can be answered in an advertisement it only does so if the ad communicates the essence of the brand. As Howard Schulz says in Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time: “Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”

    An advertisement can sell a product once, a brand can sell a product forever.

     

    Branding is Optimal


    Branding is immensely important in these times because consumers are faced with millions of advertisement for a million different products every year. Consumers ignore what they find unimportant, while branding marks something as important. From the most basic food items to lavish cruises around the world a consumer is faced with at least a dozen choices.

    For the consumer, branding is ultimately a form of identification. People, more than ever, have been able to define themselves and their values by the choices they make.

    Advertisements can remind a consumer of a product, a brand makes the product memorable.

     

    All Advertisements, no Brands


    Advertisements can be helpful in their own right, yet these days customers are feeling an ad overload. It can be difficult to have a memorial ad amongst the hundreds consumers see every week.Take simple, non-targeted banner ads for example. These ads are cheap and attempt to quickly temp the consumer into clicking onto the company site. Unfortunately, they only work if they are exceptionally enticing or are produced in droves.

    Why is it that only 0.004 percent of ads get clicks? Bruce Duckworth, a designer who has worked with everything from Coca-Cola to Metallica, quips in an interview with Debbie Millmann: “Branding is an experience, and advertising is a temptation” The banner ads  can only offer a gentle reminder, a nudge, to busy consumers: “The top reason people don't click banner advertisements is because they do not wish to be taken away from their current online activity”

    Television ads, magazine ads and other traditional forms of advertisements are becoming less and less effective, especially for new products and services. Yet even as those mediums seem to be on the decline plenty of companies with powerful brands behind them use a combination of both traditional ads and cutting-edge brand building to create thriving marketing campaigns. Some companies even have such enticing brands that they do not even rely on ads.

     

    Trader Joe’s-The Top of the Retail Trade


    Experts like the successful communication strategist of infamous ad agency RE:, Mark Gardiner, believes that marketing must move toward a heavier focus on branding. He writes about this revelation in his book “Build a Brand like Trader Joe's" in which he describes how the titular retail store became a thriving 8-billion dollar corporation with virtually non-existent advertising. How can this happen? The business makes a million dollars a day with an incredibly thin budget. It has expanded to 350 different stores.

    Supposedly the brand`s management a top secret, Gardiner goes undercover to get “behind the brand” and writes about his findings in his book and blog. The facts speak for themselves- a strong brand was built from the core outwards and the company offers its customers an experience instead of a temptation-just like our man Bruce Duckworth said!

     

    Brand +


    Trader Joe`s very minimal advertising budget goes toward short radio ads and simple flyers. When a strong brand is established, along with the signs and symbols that communicate so well with the consumers, even the shortest ad can become an exciting incentive.

    At Drive we believe that a strong brand enables advertisements to work. We believe that a good ad campaign may temporarily save a product or service, but a good branding campaign can positively transform a company for years to come.