3 Basic Guidelines for Advertising the Right Way


There are many ways to advertise your self/company/service/product some of which work well and some of which don’t.

What measure though should you use of ‘success’? Is cash in the bank more important than sentiment and brand loyalty?

The cash vs reputation argument is as old as the hills. Ever since man discovered you could sell more apples if you forced your slave girls to sell them at the market half naked, sex has been used as a lure to bring dollars, gold, silver and pretty shells into people’s bank accounts.

(Our bank no longer allows us to deposit pretty shells, which is a shame because they are a form of currency my children find an abundance of laying around on the beach.)

The question is, though, are reputation and moral values important, or is getting rich at any cost more desirable?

The Super Bowl last night had its share of the usual assortment of commercials, advertising everything from domain names to beer.

Some were funny, some moving, some just kind of gross – but all were designed with one ultimate aim: to present the name of a company and make that name memorable.

It is no secret that GoDaddy, the Web host and Domain name registrar, have discovered the concept of using sex to sell and they constantly attempt to push the boundaries of decency in an attempt to make their name memorable by connecting it with sexual imagery.

It certainly seems to be working for them. They sponsor a Nascar driver and can afford multiple ads in the Super Bowl commercial breaks. Those things don’t come cheap, so they must be bringing in the cash.

You’re Selling Something, Too

This is a question we all face though. In one way or another almost all of us are trying to sell something.

Whether what we’re ‘selling’ is the idea that people should visit our blogs, or whether it’s a product or service we are offering or even if it’s something as subtle as selling ourselves to our bosses as being worthy of promotion, we’re pretty much all selling something .

HOW you sell is as important as WHAT you sell.

In my opinion, reputation is far more valuable than cash – and I know some people will disagree with that.

There are many people who are willing to make an inferior product and over-exaggerate its qualities to gain a quick buck at the expense of their customers but equally there are those of us who believe that honesty and integrity are worth more in the long-run than any mountain of gold.

Dodge Ram produced a commercial yesterday which was almost diametrically opposite in its values proposition to the GoDaddy ad and I thought it was SO good, I wrote to Ram immediately and told them, “I’m in. You’ve sold me the idea of your brand. From watching that one commercial I want to be connected to your brand.”

I told them that because I’m always quick to say when I dislike advertising (*cough* *GoDaddy* *cough*) and I wanted them to know that their commercial had the desired effect on me.

Three Guidelines

I am not in the market for a new vehicle, but just that one commercial made me feel I wanted to go out and buy what they are offering. Its effect on me was that powerful.

So I looked at their commercial and found three things that they did right which can be used as guidelines to replicate the commercial’s success:

  1. They laid out a set of values I could identify with. Those values are ones I’d be proud for people to associate with me, so it made me want to own one of their products so people would link me with those values by association.
  2. They spoke to the wistful remember-the-old-days part of me. I can proudly and happily talk about how I responded positively emotionally and mentally with the commercial because there was nothing sleazy, it was good, wholesome, family-friendly stuff.
  3. They were subtle but not too subtle about associating their brand with the sentiments and values they were laying out. Out of a two minute commercial, only the last 13 seconds or so identify the brand – but that’s enough. It’s not too little, it stays on screen long enough to understand and remember the brand but there’s also silence during those 13 seconds. Nothing needs to be added it’s all been said, they simply leave it up to the viewer to work over those positive values in their mind while looking at the Dodge Ram logo.

It’s genius, it truly is.

So remember, as you’re marketing yourself or your product that what you say, what you do, how you act, how you look and how you connect with people is all a part of the sales package.

When someone is buying into your ‘brand’ what are they buying into? Something they can be proud to be associated with or something that’s cheap and sleazy and outwardly attractive but embarrassing to admit you’re connected to?

About PeterP

I am a blogger, author, stay at home dad, speaker, web hosting trainer and geek (I was so excited to get an iPad that I actually made up a song and dance about it). I am English by birth, but currently live in California with my wife and our three children. I ran a web hosting business for nine years and found that many, if not most of my clients had never learned how to use any of the functions associated with hosting so I wrote a book to try and teach just those skills. I must admit to having fallen in love with WordPress (possibly a little TOO much) and I honestly find it hard to understand why anyone would use anything different to build a site! WordPress is wonderful! My passion is to help others achieve their goals with their websites/blogs. I believe that, with a little help, anyone can have an awesome site.

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