What’s the one thing you can do to improve your advertising ? If you’re in TV, try this simple test: turn down the volume and watch your commercial. Then ask yourself the following question: did I see my brand’s benefit ? Was it visualized ? Even better, was the visualization persuasive ? Or even provocative ?
This points to one of the simplest, easiest things you can do to immediately improve your advertising–visualize your benefit. A sample viewing of advertising on any given day or week will almost always show that much of it’s guilty of not dramatically and persuasively visualizing the brands strategic benefit. Of course, this assumes you’ve done your homework and have defined a clear and meaningful benefit for your product or service.
Here’s a great example from Geico. I’ve always liked the idea of the Geico Gecko, but don’t think they’ve ever used it as effectively as they could. What’s the benefit and where is it ?
In working with your agency, here are a few things to watch out for:
The Problem— The advertising is all about the “problem.” The ad focuses exclusively on the problem to the exclusion of the brand benefit. Why? Let’s be honest; it’s often funny and entertaining to show people unable to do or be something that your brand’s benefit will address. The problem is, creatives often get so carried away with the “problem” joke that the advertising focuses almost exclusively on the problem, and not where it should–the benefit your product or service provides to consumers.
The Words — Benefit communication relies on audio. The ad does talk about the product or service benefit but never actually gets around to visualizing it. It may be true that words can change the world, but in advertising, it’s even more true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise. Research proves it.
Of course, benefit visualization isn’t the only thing that leads to effective advertising. But it is a key factor in advertising success. It’s much easier to remember something if you see it. Even better, seeing and hearing it simultaneously– “audio/visual sync,” is the best of all.
Agencies will come up with all kinds of reasons why the benefit doesn’t need to be visualized–most of which are false objections. “It will ruin the execution.” “It’s in the audio.” “It’s inherent in the advertising idea.” “You can’t visualize emotions.” etc. Don’t fall for it. As a client you have the right to be demanding and this is one thing you should be demanding about.
So, turn down the volume and improve your advertising — by showing your benefit in visuals that are memorable and convincing.