Is advertising enough to build a brand these days?
Intuitively this feels like a stupid question. Surely the answer is no, right? Today, brands are complex. Each interaction we have with the brand leaves an impression on us. Yes, their advertising is important, but our relationship with brands is a lot more two-way than before. If we're not happy, we can contact the brand. We can even contact the CEO if we please and we expect a response.
I remarked recently about Aer Lingus on why they would spend a load of cash on a TV ad to make us like them more, if their communication on their website gives us a different message.
But it would be wrong to completely dismiss advertising. When done well, it can do wonders.
I don't know how good Godfather's Pizza actually is compared to, say, 4-star pizza. But I have a higher perception of it. They feel like a higher quality outfit to me. I don't order in pizza much so my perception of Godfather's Pizza is based almost entirely on the brand image they have carefully crafted through their TV advertising. Their 'We know where you live' theme is very clever and their agency Bloom manage to be very creative even when constrained to 10-second stings like above.
And in fact, my perception may be inaccurate.
A friend of mine recently called the offices of both Godfather's and 4-star pizza - and found 4-star to be much better organised. She was surprised. We both were. She expected the opposite. She thought Godfather's would be the more professional place. Why? Because they look high quality. Their advertising has built their brand.
- Even in this age of conversation, advertising can still play a critical role in building perceptions of a brand.
- However, I suspect this depends on how much interaction you are expected to have with the brand. How many FMCG brand managers will you call in a year about their products?
- But regardless of what you can do with advertising, you can probably do so much more if you pro-actively manage the other brand touchpoints. The Godfather's Pizza website feels cheap compared to their TV advertising. Shame. They could learn from marketing's poster child - Innocent Drinks. They are pure FMCG yet they bring their brand into their packaging, their tone of voice, their website, their 'Banana' customer phoneline, their 'Fruit Towers' offices, their blog, their grass vans and their email marketing.