Thursday, September 12, 2013

Advertising and the Art of War: Part 1

Guest blog from Kelly Joffe of Cliff Ross - Advertising - Web Design. Originally appears at cliffross.com/blog

The General is knowledge, courage, strictness, and trustworthiness.

As we begin this series of Advertising and the Art of War, it is important to note the purpose. The advertising and marketing world is a battle field. Brands across the world are competing for the attention of consumers. Only the strong survive. How you position yourself, plan your attack, and approach this Advertising war will determine if you stand out from the competition and gain the attention of your customers.

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said that the most important traits of the General are knowledge, courage, strictness, and trustworthiness. You are a business owner, your brand is the general, and there is an army of consumers out there looking to be guided in the right direction. In all your advertising and marketing efforts, your brand must display the same characteristics as Tzu’s general. Here is how:

Knowledge: In all aspects of marketing and advertising, your brand must know-all. A good brand knows how their customers feel, what they want, and what they need. You must do your research and find out what makes your customers tick. You must use your knowledge about your product to guide consumers in your direction. A nutritionist, for example, will appeal to mothers by sharing factual information about healthy choices for their kids. This will make a mother (the consumer) feel as if the nutritionist really understands what she needs for her family.

Courage: your brand must be willing to take certain risks, and have the courage to fight for what you believe in. If you are a nutritionist selling a healthy life style, you have to stand up for what you believe in. It might be risky to criticize fast food restaurants, but you believe it’s hurting people. By having certain morals and beliefs – and sticking by them no matter what – consumers will respect you. Have the courage to take advertising and marketing risks, to step outside of “what’s normal.” You have an opportunity to lead the way – so take it. What is the opposite of courage? Fear. Do not fear your opponents (the competition),  but know that if you stay true to your brand standards – you will come out on top.

Strictness: Stay firm with your beliefs and be consistent with your advertising approach. Your brand represents your business or product that you wholeheartedly support – do not let there ever be any doubt about that. If you make a decision to start some marketing efforts via social media – stick with it and be consistent. Write a blog every week, consistently interact with your customers, send a monthly newsletter – be strict with your advertising schedule and people will have no choice but to notice. Your consistent and disciplined message will strongly position your brand in their mind.


Trustworthiness: You always want people to trust your brand and the products you sell. Always be honest and sell the facts. People are more likely to purchase products or services from a brand they trust. These days, advertising and marketing is not all about the hard sell. You have to share information that people can relate to – reach your customers on a personal level. This humanizes your brand and makes people trust you.

Guest blog from Kelly Joffe of Cliff Ross - Advertising - Web Design. Originally appears at cliffross.com/blog

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