In the 1970s, people encountered an average of 500 ads per day. Today, consumers can fast-forward through commercials and install ad blockers on their browsers to avoid the millions of businesses that want to see them something. Even still, consumers may see as many as 5,000 advertisements each day.
Advertisers can bombard their target markets on their phones, tablets, and computers as well as on television, billboards, bus benches and more. They sneak them into social media content with a casual hashtag like #sponsored or #ad. But despite the creativity and sneakiness employed by advertisers, people still hate advertising.
As it turns out, increasing the number of ads didn’t win businesses any favors. Instead, there is infinitely more noise, which decreases the value of advertising for everyone. What we need isn’t more ads, we need better and more diversified ads.
Why Diversifying Your Ad Strategy is the Way Forward
The battle between new media and old media is now being replaced by arguments about the merits of paid vs. organic, Facebook vs. Instagram, and of course whether or not you should use hashtags.
Wherever you land on the issues, what’s most important is that you diversify your advertising strategy to include the most relevant channels to your business. However, that doesn’t mean spreading your advertising thin and copy-pasting your campaign across platforms. Instead, you need a set of foundational assets that you can both rely on and commit to equally.
Diversification means more than finally signing up for Twitter — though that’s a good idea, too. Outages at Facebook, Instagram, and Snap can leave you facing lost revenue. Diversification means investing in those advertising streams that don’t generate immediate gratification in the form of likes or views — like choosing to grow a blog, run a newsletter, or start a podcast. The most important thing to keep in mind is making sure your message is consistent across the board — and that’s where your PR team comes into the picture.
You Need to Integrate Your PR and Marketing
In the past, your advertising and public relations teams were two distinct groups working towards the same goal of profitability for the company. Advertisers focused on the product and drawing attention to it through paid media. The PR team fostered a positive public image for the whole company through earned media. However, if you want to succeed in today’s world, those two teams need to do more than work towards a shared goal. They need to work together.
In today’s increasingly online landscape, public perception is incredibly important, and your company’s values are increasingly on display for the entire world. These values are part of a trend often referred to as conscious capitalism, and conscious consumers want more accountability from businesses.
Your PR and advertising/marketing teams need to cooperate to break down the silos surrounding them and ensure that your brand values come across in all of your interactions. Your ability to do this depends on your leadership, especially if you’re starting from scratch. After all, small workplace changes can happen via email, but if you want to truly remove the silos that exist between departments, then you need to start with communication. Communicating the process change directly with the departments and gathering their input not only allows you to communicate your vision, but also create ownership of the project for all stakeholders.
Each team can utilize the other’s data to better inform their own programs and improve the measurement of each campaign. You might be surprised at the number of simple ways your teams can work together. Even something as basic as optimizing press releases for SEO can make a real change in the way the public experiences your brand, therefore breaking down people’s negative perceptions of PR releases and advertising so that they don’t feel like they’re being tricked into liking or disliking a product, a brand, etc.
Learn the Secret to Advertising to People Who Hate Ads
When you combine your PR and advertising teams, you’ll begin to understand how many opportunities you have to diversify your channels and advertise in new ways, even to people who hate ads. The trick is to advertise in a natural way and find a way to create value for the consumer.
GE’s Hot Sauce ad is the perfect example of practicing brand storytelling and advertising in a way that adds value to its target market. No one would associate hot sauce with General Electric, but slapping a GE label on a bottle of (then trendy) hot sauce created a huge amount of buzz and gave GE the opportunity to tell a story to an audience that might not otherwise listen to traditional advertising. When it comes down to it, when you’re willing to take the leap, you’ll find that you can build your brand by providing better customer experiences and just doing something different and marketing yourself in a memorable way.
Customers have changed dramatically, and there’s a huge number of businesses vying for their attention. If you don’t want to waste money on ads that generate zero engagement — or worse, hurt your brand — then you need to start thinking differently. By putting your heads together and telling a story that speaks to the customer’s values, you will find that overcoming the stigma of marketing isn’t as daunting as you once thought.