Were big fans of Proof in Advertising here. It’s sort of the whole reason we do what we do. We believe good digital marketing proves its value over time, and you’re able to see what works and what doesn’t as it happens. When something isn’t working, it’s clear and we change it. At least, that’s what we’ve done for our clients to this point.
But let’s take a step back and consider what makes advertising good. How do you create powerful ads? Is it all about the art and visuals? What about the concept? And what do you say?
What if I told you that the key ingredient to good advertising was simple? What if it could be distilled down to a simple phrase that works in nearly every situation, offering direction and guidance for even the most complex sales?
I can. Just read the title of this article.
What does that mean, though? How is advertising proof? Proof of what? Everyone knows ads are fake. Advertisers have a vested interest in making a sale, so everything they say is a lie, right?
Not exactly. In fact, the very act of advertising has a lot of benefits for brands, regardless of the message.
Proof of Concept
Here’s a hypothetical. You have a new product or service, with a fancy new website all set to promote it. The simple act of advertising offers third party validation that this new product or service is legitimate. It reinforces your right to be in business and provides the social proof to other people necessary for buy-in.
Think about it. How many times do you trust just one source before you make a purchase? And how many times is that one source so biased that they literally live or die on whether or not you give them money? Sounds pretty outlandish, doesn’t it?
The ad channel doesn’t care if a person buys or not. That’s what makes it such a valuable impartial knowledge source. Build awareness for new concepts by advertising and they’re immediately recognizable. Then, fine tune your messaging and placement to get the most from your campaign.
Proof of Credibility
Even if you’re not new to the market, advertising can set you apart in a crowded field. Local vendors in the same space, like home repair or restaurants, for example, can use advertising to appear more legitimate.
Strong advertising can help people believe you’re bigger than you really are, which gives them confidence that you’re the right selection. It also leads to differentiation among products that are otherwise identical.
For example, lifestyle brands show off how they fit into their audience’s daily routine through key advertising and marketing strategy decisions. By aligning themselves with the right media outlets and using the right messaging and quality of content, they foster an ideal image of themselves. You might be surprised at how many people both acknowledge and appreciate this.
In short, it works by building believability with a core niche, which proves credibility to the target. And that’s just what you get from showing up. We haven’t even touched on how the content of your message makes a difference.
Proof of Quality
Simply advertising can only go so far. Yes, you get a bit of a bump from the tacit endorsement of your chosen media. After that, the quality of your advertising can go a long way to establishing the quality of your business in general.
There’s a long, often celebrated history of poorly produced local ads. These can achieve the first two points in this article, simply getting in front of an audience to make yourself stand out from competitors who haven’t. If you’re trying to set yourself apart from another competitor who does advertise, you need to show off how much superior of a choice you are. One way to do that is through high-quality advertising.
Professional video. Well written copy. Perfectly shot images. Worthwhile mailers and giveaways. All enhance your perceived value in the eyes of your customers. If you put some thought and resources into the things that show off who you are, it’s a subliminal message that you’re worth their money. People appreciate the effort and will reward you with business. That’s even before you tell them what you are.
Proof of Results
Now we can get to the messaging, where what you say defines your brand. It’s the proof that what you do can have the effect you want it to. Or else, why would anyone do business with you? However, good advertising language is much more nuanced than you may want it to be.
There’s a phrase common to copywriters and creative directors around the world. Show, don’t tell. Instead of listing features and benefits, demonstrate your value through a mix of past results and expected outcomes. Show you mean business, don’t tell people what to think of you. Show proof of results and let people draw their own conclusions. That’s how to make advertising language that’s effective.
This also works for softer, more emotional results. Show that your brand fits into a targeted lifestyle. Demonstrate the emotional attachment customers have to your products. Prove your value by highlighting the results of the purchase, whatever they are.
The Proof Goes Beyond The Pudding
Before we get back to the “all advertisers lie” comment, let’s just take a look at all the credibility brands implicitly receive from advertising. A campaign can legitimize a brand, especially when using larger, more expensive media. Advertising also reflects the quality of the brand being advertised and can help align with niche audiences. If that’s all true, though, then why don’t more companies play this game?
Well, they do. All the time. There’s an entire branch of advertising dedicated to it. Yet no amount of advertising can overcome an inauthentic experience.
Your ads might push you in one direction, and if you fail to live up to those expectations from customers you risk the wrath of unsatisfied patrons. Word spreads. Brands are cheapened. Business falls off because you’re a known liar who’s already fooled many people once. And we know what they say about those fooled twice.
Proof of advertising’s effectiveness gave us our name. The fact that simply beginning an ad campaign offers credibility and strengthens your brand is enough evidence of that. Just make sure that whatever you build your ads from, it should reflect your experience accurately.