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One of the most diverse industries today is none other than digital marketing. It is exciting to watch digital marketing trends because this world experiences fast-paced changes. There has been a dramatic increase in digital marketing jobs for freelancers. The trend of hiring freelancers for digital marketing roles has experienced significant growth in the past few years. According to studies, more people are hiring freelancers for running their digital marketing campaigns. While some digital marketing trends of 2018 are here to stay, there are some important trends for freelancers that they should look forward to this year.

These five digital marketing trends for freelancers have been circulating the industry and will continue to advance and become more popular. So freelancers, keep an eye on these pointers:

1. Artificial intelligence at its best

A number of industries are making the most out of artificial intelligence by incorporating it in different areas of work. Digital marketing has been revolutionized by artificial intelligence. The digital marketing is being changed for good with artificial intelligence because of its ability to gather, analyze and apply data. As it is improving continuously and its capabilities are advancing, it is a given that it is bringing changes in digital strategies and freelancers need to keep up with the changes to succeed.

2. Personalization should be a priority

The audience is looking for more connection these days. Gone are the days when you could just focus on the possible sales and profit and ignore the importance of discovering the wants of the customer. However, modern-day digital marketing trends indicate that personalization is a priority. Customers are the ones you have to target and freelancers should keep this in mind to establish loyalty in their audience.

3. Ads specifically targeting the audience

As artificial intelligence is now being used in digital marketing, it can help in improving ads that are now developed for specifically targeting a certain audience. These ads are highly targeted and they can lead to converted customers, which can increase your sales and brand loyalty in the long run. Freelancers should make use of these ads as they can be created specifically for the profile of your target customers. This will help you in getting the right attention and exposure you need for your services.

4. Social media is a must

As billions of people are using social media every day, it is no surprise that experts recommend that freelancers use this tool for marketing their own services. While you can use various platforms, it is a good idea to identify the platform used by your potential customers and start engaging with them. This involves sharing content like videos.

5. Don’t forget about SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a vital tool for marketing your freelance business. It is essentially a way to optimize your digital presence on the internet. When your website is fully optimized, it becomes easier for search engines and their users to find you and avail your services.

Keeping up with these digital marketing trends will aid freelancers in expanding their services.

Author Bio:

Sidra has helped both well established and start-up digital marketing agency takes their ideas from sticky notes and whiteboards to fully develop robust manpower that serves vast specialized communities. Her expertise ranges from Tech Hiring to CXO level Blogging. Get in touch with her for more information.

What are some of the biggest changes in advertising in the last decade?

Advertising has changed drastically during the last few decades, from the printing press to pop-up ads, everything has changed. Apart from that, new techniques and methods have been introduced which raised the need for advertising. Advertising offers one of the best ways of communication: businesses can use advertising to promote their newly launched product or service in the market. Advertising is not for a particular group of people but rather for every demographic. It can be carried out using various advertising media that suits all the requirements of your business.

Advertising can be done using various methods and techniques which help to generate more outcome for a business. Now, the questions may arise: why must you take advertising so seriously? Why does it hold so much importance these days? Businesses have a large budget for advertising. It plays an important role in the growth and success of a business.

According to the marketing land report, the amount spent on advertising has increased rapidly: it has reached almost $207 billion till today. The industry represents that digital ad revenue in the US has reached $106 billion ,which is approximately 51.5 per cent of total ad sales. It is also predicted that the growth rate is going to increase by 30 per cent year over year.

Here’s a brief and condensed history of advertising changes during the last few decades.

Advertising during the 16th-20th century

Advertising media such as magazines and newspapers were introduced during the 16th century. First Weekly Gazettes was released in Venice, which gained popularity among the population. This advertising concept was soon adopted by other countries across Europe.

In 1650, commercial advertisements were carried out for mainly books and quack doctors. However, other industries began using advertising media as a means to promote their products and services.

The use of advertising gained increased momentum during the 18th century, which gave birth to the tradesmen’s adverts. La Presse was the first newspaper which was launched for paid advertising. This newspaper was introduced in June 1836 by Emile de Girardin, editor of the Paris newspaper. Soon his formula becomes very popular for advertising all over the world.

Display ads came into existence

British newspapers gained huge popularity among industries during the 1850s and 1860s. During the 20th century, the father of modern advertising, Thomas J. Barratt, started an advertising campaign for advertising various company products.

This advertising campaign used various images, phrases and targeted slogans for advertising. One of the most famous slogans of a British newspaper in the 20th century was ‘Good morning. Have you used Pears’ soap?’.

Mellin’s Food was the first brand that used 25 airship flights to advertise its brand in 1902. Later, radio advertisement came into existence in 1922. During that time, businesses had to pay $100 for 10 mins advertisement on Radio.

Introduction of the latest technologies for advertising

The introduction of VCRs brought a drastic change in the advertising world. During 1975, businesses started using VCRs to record various shows. After that, computers and the internet came into existence, opening a new scope and opportunity for advertisers.

Later in 1994, email campaigns and banner ads were introduced allowing businesses to reach their targeted audience. YouTube and Facebook both became very popular during the early 2000s. Now, the two companies have become some of the most successful advertising media platforms for business with a huge audience base.

The revolution of display advertising

WebConnect agency introduced advertisement placing tools in 1995. This tool helped businesses to know who was more affected by their advertising. WebConnect’s proprietary tool provided the data of customers, which helped businesses to know who had visited their website and for what purpose. It also helps the advertiser to track impressions, click-through rates, ad views, to name just a few insight tools.

Online advertising becomes king

According to a statista survey, there are 3.65 billion internet users worldwide, the number of internet users increases with each passing day. The number of monthly active users on Facebook was 2.2 billion in 2019, that means almost half of the internet users are on Facebook worldwide. Therefore, to reach this audience online, it becomes mandatory for businesses to develop an online presence.

Businesses are offered multiple advertising platforms in order to easily reach their target audiences. They are opting for multiple advertising solutions for their business to reach the audience they desire. Businesses are taking the support of developers and marketers to help lead their sales to the next level of success. There are many hire developers and marketers online who can offer the best solution for their business, which not only helps them to reach a huge audience base online but will also help them to boost their business globally.

The debut of PPC Advertising

GoTo.com introduced PPC in 1998: a pay-for-placement concept that later evolved to pay-per-click advertising. Using these platform advertisers could easily bid on search queries that contain relevant keywords. Before the introduction of PPC, cost-per-thousand-impressions and cost-per-mille (CPM) was used for deciding the cost of advertisements.

Search engine advertising was introduced by Google in December 1999, however, it doesn’t come into existence until the AdWords system was introduced in October 2000. Using the AdWords system, advertisers can easily create text ads which can be placed on the Google search engine.

Social Media Advertising

20th century was dominated to display advertising and PPC search and during this time, social networks such as YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook gained huge popularity among the online population. Facebook ranks second in digital advertising after Google. Nowadays, Twitter has become one of the best sources for advertising real-time content, whereas LinkedIn has become valuable B2B network. All these social media platforms offer an excellent advertising platform for advertisers.

The advertising industry has dramatically changed during the last few years and there’s no sign of it coming to a stand-still.

Learn more about advertising: The confusing world of advertising

Author Bio

Manoj Rupareliya is the Online Marketing Expert and Blogger. He is an experienced writer with expertise in the field of technology, blockchain, crypto, AI, Digital Marketing and SEO. All the blogs he writes are aimed at providing credible help and insights for readers who want to stay updated all the time. Linkedin | Twitter

Here’s a really interesting slide show called Advertising:

Past, present and future.

It does what it says on the tin really. There are some great examples of classic ads and it gives a new perspective on how things have changed – and continue to change. Are the days of ‘traditional’ advertising really numbered?

The presentation, prepared by Invitro Innovation of Singapore, goes right back to the beginning of the advertising industry and shows just how far we’ve come. Will we ever see classic press ads again or has the entire advertising paradigm shifted? Is creativity still key or is it now just a numbers game? The internet and new media seem to have changed everything we used to believe in. It’s no longer enough to interrupt people as they watch TV or read a magazine. Instead we’re told we have to engage with people on a personal level and talk to them one to one. But, then again, didn’t we always do that? Although the printed word may have given way to the binary byte, are the principles of advertising any different now compared to thirty, forty, fifty years ago?

 

Advertising: Past, Present and Future from Invitro Innovation

Writing radio commercials can make a refreshing change to the copywriter’s routine. With no pictures to help you get your message across you have to think in a slightly different way but the creative opportunities this opens up can make the job really fun.

Here are our top 10 tips for writing radio commercials that work.

PRE-PRODUCTION

1. Get the basics right

Some things never change. Just as for a print ad there are some basics that you need to get right at the blank sheet of paper stage. First you need to figure out what your USP is. Choose a single benefit and really hone in on it without letting anything else get in the way of that proposition. Then you need to clarify who your target audience is Even more than with a print ad, it helps to literally visualise your target audience and imagine how they might react to hearing your commercial. And you also need to be clear as to what you want them to do at the end. What is your call to action? Call? Visit a website? Or just buy the damn product!?

2. Make it interesting

You’d think this goes without saying. But then you listen to the ads on the radio and your eyes roll in disbelief at the drivel that gets produced. Getting attention on the radio is even harder than with an ad in a magazine because the listener really doesn’t want you to be there. You’re intruding into the programme they want to listen to. Just shouting your key message ain’t gonna work, it’ll just piss people off. Try and reward the listener with something: humour, surprise or simply something interesting to hear.

3. Try ‘top & tailing’radio commercials

One classic approach to writing radio commercials is the ‘top & tail’ structure. Start with some scenario with one, two or more actors conveying the benefit of your product in a dramatic way. Then have an additional voice say the call to action. And finish by returning to the little playlet with some kind of punchline. I say ‘classic approach’ which, of course, could drift very easily into ‘hackneyed approach’ but if you make your scenario sufficiently believable (or, at the other extreme, totally absurd and tongue in cheek) then this way is a good way to go.

4. Get your timings right

Radio commercial slots come in a variety of lengths. Typically you ‘ll be looking at 30 seconds but it all depends how flexible the radio station is and how deep the client’s pockets are. As the writer it’s your responsibility to make sure what you write fits the time slot precisely. So read it out loud with a stopwatch. Get others to help you (when you read your own words you’ll tend to go too fast because you already know what’s coming next!) If there are disclaimers at the end (the legal stuff that some products have to state) then you may have to cut back your own copy to accommodate them. A professional voiceover artist will be able to read them much quicker than the average person but they still use up precious seconds.

5. Be strict with yourself

With only thirty seconds to play with (and less if there’s that pesky disclaimer to squeeze in) you’ve got to make every word count. Be brutally strict and strike out any words that don’t absolutely definitely have to be there. And, in general, don’t try to say too much: you’ve got one key benefit to express so just concentrate on that and don’t get side tracked by anything else . Above all, remember that you have the luxury of sound effects. Using these creatively means you can dramatically cut down on the number of words you use sound to paint a picture in people’s heads.

PRODUCTION

6. Choose your voiceover artist with care

First of all, don’t even think of doing the voice recording yourself. There are professional voiceover people for a reason: they sound good! A good one can also add a lot to your script by wringing out a little bit more emotion or by pulling off a gag with perfect comic timing. But not all voiceover guys/girls are the same. You need to study their résumés carefully to see what they specialise in. And, of course, you need to get some samples of what they’ve done before to make sure they are going to match your needs.

7. Make friends with the sound engineerradio commercials production

The guy behind the knobs in the sound studio has seen (and heard) it all. Use his/her experience, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. At the very least you need to brief him/her very thoroughly at the beginning of your recording session to make sure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet. S/he’ll have access to thousands of ready-made sound effects so don’t be shy about asking for any crazy sound. Chances are there’s an MP3 of it somewhere.

8. Don’t settle for the first take

By the time you get to the studio you will have been living with your script for many weeks as it crawled along the client approvals process. It’s very tempting to think that the first run through is exactly what you want – it’s what you’ve been hearing in your head all this time. But be critical. Better still, take someone else with you who isn’t as closely involved in the project so they can cast a colder eye over it (yeah, I’m not going to do that gag again). Remember also that you’ve hired this voiceover artist for a full session and they will expect to receive feedback and go over the script a few times. (For some reason a lot of VOAs are right prima donnas but don’t let yourself be intimidated by them. They’re probably sat in their home studio in their pyjamas laughing at how absurdly easy it is to make a hundred quid. So push them till you get exactly what you want.)

9. Use sound imaginatively

It’s very tempting to over-do the sound effects. But step back and ask yourself: “Is that duck quacking really necessary?”. Probably not. Make sure your script is working in harmony with the sound so that each is supporting the other rather than duplicating each other.

10. Make your call to action stand out

The whole purpose of your commercial is to get listeners to do something – usually call a number. If they don’t catch it the whole thing’s been a waste of time. So don’t just stick it at the end. Don’t say it too quickly. If you can, feature it more than once so there’s a bit of “find a pencil” time. Better still, make it a really memorable number that doesn’t need writing down to remember (for a little while at least). It costs a bit more but could multiply your response rate fantastically. “0800 800 800” kind of thing. Alternatively you could make the number into a jingle. Putting a bit of music behind it and giving it a sing-song rhythm will also massively increase recall.

All advertisers understand the importance of making a connection with their audience. Without a connection, consumers will not respond to the advertisement, rendering it ineffective, no matter what the message is. In our advertisement-saturated society, it is becoming more and more difficult to catch the attention of consumers. In order to combat the growing apathy in the marketplace, some advertisers have resorted to what’s known as “extreme advertising”.
If you’ve seen Virgin Mobile’s newest slate of television commercials, you probably have taste of extreme advertising. Mirroring a run of Sprite ads from the middle of the last decade, these advertisements are a play on “brainwashing”: flashing suggestive images and commands onto the screen, intermingled with the Virgin Mobile logo and images of their CEO. These ads are intended to be amusing, but also to stick the brand name in the consumer’s head, therefore both winking at advertisements as a form of brainwashing but also effectively using the techniques to convince viewers to purchase their phone plans.
Comparatively, Virgin’s campaign is fairly tame. With far more creative, innovative and shocking ads in the market today, it’s clear that some advertisers will go to any length in order to engage with the consumer as well as ensure their advertisement sticks with the observer long after it leaves their view.
 
Bike-Powered Billboard

In an effort to both intrigue and engage with passersby, BC Hydro in Vancouver, British Columbia, set up a holiday-themed billboard, complete with a light-up Rudolf the Red-nose Reindeer. The twist, however, is that the reindeer’s light are powered by a bicycle at the base of the billboard. In order to get Rudolf to light up, someone has to ride the bicycle and power the generator, which hundreds of volunteers did. This whole scheme was to encourage residents to invest in alternative power sources, and whether or not it was successful, we don’t know. But we do know that setting up a campaign that literally relies on consumers for power, is extremely risky.
 
“I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In That!”
We’ve all heard the phrase, and even used it, on occasion, to keep our mothers from squeezing us into hideous holiday sweaters. But when Superette, the Australian fashion outlet, decided they needed a new advertising campaign, they found a humorous, if morbid way, to turn the phrase in their favor. Featuring a man hanging out of an elevator, blood dripping down his body into a pool on the floor, where his pug waits patiently, and the tag: “Be Caught Dead in It,” this advertisement is both shocking and humorous. The message is that unlike other stores, you’ll love your Superette clothes, even if you are caught dead in them.
 
Giant Dragon Skull

The riskiest and most creative extreme advertising provides very little reference back to their brand. These act like a puzzle, to get consumer interested, and make them fully engage with the advertisement in order to figure out the purpose of the ad. One of the most creative marketing stunts in recent years was for the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The props department was enlisted to create a giant dragon skull, like the ones featured in the show, and then, in the dead of night, to leave it on one of England’s most popular beaches. For more than week, beach goers were amazed and intrigued by the skull, until the network finally took responsibility. The sheer scale of the project and the absence of any HBO or Game of Thrones logo is what makes this advertisement both extreme and effective.
 
Blurring Reality and Fiction
Everyone has heard of The Blair Witch Project. It was one of the first found-footage horror movies, which spawned a whole line of found-footage films, including the wildly popular Paranormal Activity. The Blair Witch Project, however, unlike the moves it inspired, was made by three film students, with almost no budget. In order to get people to watch their movie, they launched a massive and ingenious marketing campaign, one that not only built up their movie, but also built up the legend of the Blair Witch.
The film students posted authentic “Missing” posters for the three actors, and created a website to promote the story of the Witch. Even though it was completely fabricated, thousands of people believed the hype, and when the movie finally premiered, the tension and fear was compounded by many viewers’ belief that what they were seeing was real.
The extreme advertising of The Blair Witch Project is one of the best examples of extreme, cross-platform promotion, not only because it was incorporated several different types of media, and was pulled off by a group of students with almost no resources, but also because it was such a massive success. What other campaign can say they created an urban legend and got thousands of people to believe it, just to bring people to the theater?

All advertisers understand the importance of making a connection with their audience. Without a connection, consumers will not respond to the advertisement, rendering it ineffective, no matter what the message is. In our advertisement-saturated society, it is becoming more and more difficult to catch the attention of consumers. In order to combat the growing apathy in the marketplace, some advertisers have resorted to what’s known as “extreme advertising”.

If you’ve seen Virgin Mobile’s newest slate of television commercials, you probably have taste of extreme advertising.

Mirroring a run of Sprite ads from the middle of the last decade, these advertisements are a play on “brainwashing”: flashing suggestive images and commands onto the screen, intermingled with the Virgin Mobile logo and images of their CEO. These ads are intended to be amusing, but also to stick the brand name in the consumer’s head, therefore both winking at advertisements as a form of brainwashing but also effectively using the techniques to convince viewers to purchase their phone plans.

Comparatively, Virgin’s campaign is fairly tame. With far more creative, innovative and shocking ads in the market today, it’s clear that some advertisers will go to any length in order to engage with the consumer as well as ensure their advertisement sticks with the observer long after it leaves their view.

Bike-Powered BillboardBike-Powered Billboard

In an effort to both intrigue and engage with passersby, BC Hydro in Vancouver, British Columbia, set up a holiday-themed billboard, complete with a light-up Rudolf the Red-nose Reindeer. The twist, however, is that the reindeer’s light are powered by a bicycle at the base of the billboard. In order to get Rudolf to light up, someone has to ride the bicycle and power the generator, which hundreds of volunteers did. This whole scheme was to encourage residents to invest in alternative power sources, and whether or not it was successful, we don’t know. But we do know that setting up a campaign that literally relies on consumers for power, is extremely risky.

“I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In That!”I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead In That

We’ve all heard the phrase, and even used it, on occasion, to keep our mothers from squeezing us into hideous holiday sweaters. But when Superette, the Australian fashion outlet, decided they needed a new advertising campaign, they found a humorous, if morbid way, to turn the phrase in their favor. Featuring a man hanging out of an elevator, blood dripping down his body into a pool on the floor, where his pug waits patiently, and the tag: “Be Caught Dead in It,” this advertisement is both shocking and humorous. The message is that unlike other stores, you’ll love your Superette clothes, even if you are caught dead in them.

Giant Dragon Skull

The riskiest and most creative extreme advertising provides very little reference back to their brand. These act like a puzzle, to get consumer interested, and make them fully engage with the advertisement in order to figure out the purpose of the ad. One of the most creative marketing stunts in recent years was for the third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The props department was enlisted to create a giant dragon skull, like the ones featuredDragon Skull in the show, and then, in the dead of night, to leave it on one of England’s most popular beaches. For more than week, beach goers were amazed and intrigued by the skull, until the network finally took responsibility. The sheer scale of the project and the absence of any HBO or Game of Thrones logo is what makes this advertisement both extreme and effective.

Blurring Reality and Fiction

Everyone has heard of The Blair Witch Project. It was one of the first found-footage horror movies, which spawned a whole line of found-footage films, including the wildly popular Paranormal Activity. The Blair Witch Project, however, unlike the moves it inspired, was made by three film students, with almost no budget. In order to get people to watch their movie, they launched a massive and ingenious marketing campaign, one that not only built up their movie, but also built up the legend of the Blair Witch.

The film students posted authentic “Missing” posters for the three actors, and created a website to promote the story of the Witc Reality and Fictionh. Even though it was completely fabricated, thousands of people believed the hype, and when the movie finally premiered, the tension and fear was compounded by many viewers’ belief that what they were seeing was real.

The extreme advertising of The Blair Witch Project is one of the best examples of extreme, cross-platform promotion, not only because it was incorporated several different types of media, and was pulled off by a group of students with almost no resources, but also because it was such a massive success. What other campaign can say they created an urban legend and got thousands of people to believe it, just to bring people to the theater?

Seen as a non-traditional method of advertising, ambient media gets attention and it is extremely versatile.

The term “Ambient Media” became commonly used in the advertising industry around 1999 when it was first coined. It is used as a support to other marketing activities by a business and is usually something which will either be extremely subtle or something that will catch your eye immediately.

Here you can find 5 really cool ambient media executions

Due to the progress of technology, ambient media is much, much easier to manage than it would have been if the concept was born ten years earlier. From huge projections onto a building to the writing on your shopping trolley, ambient media advertising is all around us. Here are examples of five of the coolest ambient media designs we have come across…

Rest Stop Tunnel

tunnel

This has to be one of the most unique and enterprising adverts we have ever seen. For a restaurant to pick this idea up and pull it off is simply sublime. The fact that it has you driving straight into the mouth of a person at an all-you-can-eat restaurant is divine. This would certainly catch the eye while the play on words makes this advert both intelligent and funny.

If you are looking for an example of bold ambient media, then this is the example for you!

Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide InsuranceThis would have been a bit of a struggle to tidy up when the advertising was finished! This ingenious ambient media idea creates not only an extremely stand-out image, but helps sell the business in one fell swoop. Now, anybody who passes by this building either in air or on foot would immediately notice the slight accident that the building has had – and the insurance company that is there to pick up the pieces.

Extremely intelligent – the van was a nice touch, too.

This is truly intelligent marketing.

Watch Advertising

Ambient media does not have to be as ambitious and bold as those above. It can be more accented and nuanced like this. It immediately creates two things – a chance to see what the watch would maybe look like on your wrist and an imprinted memory of the watch company providing them!

What a great idea, not only would you slip it on without thinking but it would instantly catch your attention when you do.

Alcro Paintsalcro paints

This is a cracker of a photo. It would catch anybody’s attention with the paint spilling above and beyond the photo itself. This creates an instantly attractive and enticing photo, which would make anybody would stop and have a look. It would have you questioning who was involved in the fight, instantly getting you involved in the picture’s history. Above all it gets across the vibrancy of the company’s coloured paints.

Crunchy Nut

Kellogg’s have always been known for their wacky advertising campaigns, especially with Crunchy Nut, one of their flagship cereals. The ambient Crunchy Nut admedia used for Crunchy Nut last year was a real work of art associating the crunch of autumn leaves with its product. Sure to raise a smile it at once gets across the product’s key feature and reinforces the product name in people’s minds.

This type of amusing advertising always opens up people’s minds, moods and importantly for the business, their wallets. It also gets people talking, often generating press coverage which gives the product even more – free – publicity. It’s a truly interesting and abstract way to catch people’s attention.

At the outset of any business, at some point, there is probably a conversation about how the founders want that business to appear to the public. The result of that conversation becomes the ideal brand image for that company.

Because what is a brand, after all? It is how a company appears to the public. Not necessarily how it actually is, but how they want to appear.

For example, Apple Computers has built a cult following off of the idea that their products are “cool.” Their brand is the “cool” technology brand, making all those associated with it, also “cool.” But as we’ve seen inrecent years, Apple is just as flawed and “uncool” as every other tech company in the world.

Perception is not the same as reality

But reality doesn’t matter as much as perception does when it comes to companies. And because every company builds a public image automatically – just through advertisements and interactions with customers – it makes sense to take control of your image and translate that into the creation of a recognizable, likeable, brand.

Branding is important because it gives customers an image, a mental and emotional response with which they associate a company. What should customers think and feel when they hear a company’s name? Building that kind of connection, beyond simply need and wish fulfillment, is what makes a company valuable to a particular target market.

For a tangible example, look at the dollar. In its truest form, it is just green ink on paper. In and of itself, it does not have value. The branding of this piece of paper, the value it is given by perception is what makes it a vitally important part of the economy. This is not an extreme example, it is an example of the most effective branding campaign in the world: paper money. Especially now that, at least in the United States, money is no longer backed with precious metal, it really is a piece of paper, printed with ink. But in its essence, it is legal tender. It has all the hallmarks of branding: testimonial (from the treasurer and the President), a user’s guide, and even an emotional connection (“In God We Trust”).

Branding is important because branding creates value. Without a brand, products are just nameless, faceless products, and consumers have no desire to buy something that doesn’t provide a public image.

How do companies brand?

In order to brand their products or services, companies take a long look at what their target market needs and how their product fulfills those needs. For example, look at Swiffer. Sure, the commercials talk about all of the great features of the product but what is the overarching theme of Swiffer’s dusters and sweepers? That they save time. And why do they save time? Because the company cares about your desire to have more time to relax and be with your family. They create a clear connection between the consumer’s desire to spend less time cleaning and their product’s ability to fulfill that desire. The Swiffer brand, whether they truly do or not, appears to care about your desires, about your personal well-being, and your family time. This is all subliminal; it is embedded into their advertising, which in turn, embeds it in your subconscious.

It sounds like paranoia, but Marketing 101 will teach you that the most effective branding is subliminal, it is creating connections between positive feelings in the consumer and a specific company. Making this connection effectively is why companies invest so much money in their branding efforts. The creation of a positive brand image is essential to building a loyal customer base.

What’s the difference between a branded product and an unbranded one?

A branded product has loads of information. Consumers can tell what it is and what company is selling it just by looking at the advertisement and the packaging. Branded products show their immediate value, by combining the necessary information with an emotional response. Remember, emotional responses are what lead consumers to buy products, not necessarily the specifics of the products themselves.

An unbranded product will evoke no emotions and, while it may have information on an advertisement, it will make no connection with the mind or heart of the viewer.

The simplest way to explain the difference between a branded and an unbranded product is to say that branded products sell. Unbranded products do not. In the end, this is why branding and creating value is so vitally important for companies that want to see success.

Flash mobs, interactive billboards, neighbours’ days and a whole new world of online experiences through social networks. Brand activation is hot. Whether you’re Nike or Mercedes, no big brand avoid the battle for the hearts of consumers who hold loyally onto their chosen favourite brand. We’re talking about brand activation here. And it’s something we’re going to be talking about more and more in the future.

Brand activation is defined as the seamless integration of all available communication means in a creative platform to activate consumers. Activation means encouraging: (1) Interest (2) Use (3) Loyalty

From advertising to activation

Power to the people. According to Paul G. Alberts of Brand Base that’s the phrase that best sums up the change that’s taken place in marketing over the last 30 years. People have more choice than ever. They can not only buy products anywhere but compare different ones in minute detail. This requires a more intelligent way of communicating by companies. While traditional advertising may, in many cases, be enough to defend a market position it is no longer sufficient on its own to build growth. And that, after all, is the goal of marketing.

The successful marketer is now advertising less and activating more. The resources are there, the clients are there, the opportunities are there, the possibilities are there. And the good news is: more than 80% of today’s marketers are stuck in their ways and unwilling to change so there are plenty of openings for those with the balls to rise to the challenge.

Why brand activation?

With strong brand activation you can win new customers to your brand, tie them into the brand and create brand ambassadors who’ll spread the message further. Brand activations puts the focus on the very core of marketing: stimulating the buying process. There have been several recent developments which explain why this focus in now so important and why advertisers choose brand activation over traditional campaigns. Above all, it addresses the most important issues in marketing:

Information selection: People filter the communications they’re confronted with. Most are simply ignored.

  • Relevance: Information is communicated at the time the message is most relevant to the shopper. In Holland, because most marketing messages re completely irrelevant to most people, Dutch people say that they are more annoyed by advertising than by senseless violence.
  • Experiences: personal experience is a convincing method of proof. Other peoples’ experience too. Enabling a positive experience with a brand is the most powerful tool to activate people.
  • Bring your brand to life
    Brand activation is based on the core principle of marketing: sales lift you to a higher level. But how exactly do you ‘activate’ your brand?

Learn by experience

  • Place your product in a relevant context, choose an experience that fits the core of the brand. Make sure that you are unique in that context.
  • Create a strong creative concept and make sure all communications work together to strengthen the association.
  • A brand activation platform is usually linked with an online presence. Interaction with the target audience is encouraged by email and through the Internet. Again, the aim is to let people experience your brand.
  • Personal experiences are persuasive. Also the experiences of others. Active knowledge of a product is the most powerful instrument way to activate people. You need to build in space for this on your website.

Deliver proof

A brand activation program provides the proof of the claims made in your marketing. It makes it all real and true. Think of Red Bull and extreme sports. Or, in Holland, Amstel and BallenBar or Unox and the Nieuwjaarsduik – they have become inextricably linked. It’s increasingly difficult to grab attention these days for a brand message. The new way is to prove it. This makes the message credible and distinctive.

Brand activation = Interaction

New media have revolutionised communication: making interaction simple. Almost everyone is online. Now you just have to encourage them to interact. So when a consumer comes to your site out of their own free will comes from free will it’s a great opportunity to offer them an experience that will influence the buying process.

No brand, big or small, can do without brand activation

In order to move the relationship from ‘awareness of’ to ‘attachment to’ your brand, you need to demonstrate a genuine interest in your customer. Here is an opportunity especially for SMEs because small and medium sized operations can exploit their much more personal touch compared to the huge multinationals. Instead of a primetime TV commercial you can generate effective leads by organizing or sponsoring a relevant event.

Marqt, the Dutch supermarket known for its sustainable products, is a good example of how a company without a huge mass media budget can build a much loved brand. Small and medium-sized organizations need to invest in personal contact with their customers. Events and social media are tailor made for this. Talk to them, organize an exclusive event and use social media to promote it without losing that all important personal touch. That’s something money can’t buy!

Remember: “Brand = name + reputation” – Barbara Baarsel

While branding seems like something only the big name companies need to worry about, branding is actually happening to your business whether or not you realize it.

As you advertise and interact with customers, you are creating an understanding of the message of your company. You are forming the perception of your company in the world. Because this is happening anyway, focusing on “branding” as a marketing and developmental directive is extremely important. You need to control your brand, instead of letting it control you. So as you begin building your brand, here are five facts to keep in mind.

1. Keep it consistent.

This goes for all public and internal interactions. Consistency builds trust with your client base, as well as with the public in general. When you have a proven, consistent track record, consumers will be more willing to spend their hard-earned money on your products or services. Customers hate to feel jerked around, so just don’t do it.

2. Make sure your advertising is professional.

When you have a choice between two different moving companies, and one has sparkling new vans with professionally designed logos, while the other has dirty trucks, full of fast-food wrappers and a peeling, hand-painted name on the side, which are you going to choose? Hopefully the first one, unless you want all of your valuables to be stolen. This same idea goes for all businesses. Professional advertising makes a professional business.

3. Perception is reality.

This isn’t just a new-age literary theory, it is a concept that extends into consumerism. As far as consumers are concerned, their perception of your company is their reality. If they see your poorly designed logo slapped onto the side of an unkempt van, what they perceive is that you are not serious about your business and, therefore, they will not be serious about spending their money with you either. You could be the most professional businessman in the world but if your public perception does not reflect that, it doesn’t matter how professional you are.

4. Consumers are more “brand-savvy” than ever before.

This means that consumers today can easily detect when they are being deceived by a company, or even when they are being “sold” something. And today’s consumer hates to be sold anything (surprising, but true). As soon as they feel that a product or service is being pushed on them, they will turn away. Your brand can counteract this by being a brand that builds personal relationships with its customers, instead of treating them like walking dollar signs.

5. The most effective brands focus on their consumers, not on their products.

Ultimately, your business intends to sell something, but in order to do that, your brand has to make consumer want to buy what you offer. Great brands do this by focusing on the needs of their target market and making sure their brand addresses those needs directly. Branding your business, at the bottom line, means creating a public image for your company. The most effective brands are those that appear professional, while still allowing room for a personal interaction with every individual client. Keeping these ideas in mind while you begin the branding process will ensure a more successful public face for your business.