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21st Century Advertising: Part II

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Last week, we talked about great design and how important it is to maximize the positive impact your company's visuals possess. This week, we get into some of the more complicated aspects of modern advertising.

First, you should probably scrap the word advertising. People don't like ads, and ads are short for advertising. And while it's still okay to be an advertising agency (maybe Mad Men has something to do with that) you'll see plenty of other businesses projecting themselves as either a marketing agency or a branding agency.

Why does this matter, you ask?

It simply reflects what is happening with advertising itself. With newspapers dying, TV commercials being skipped so easily, and banner ads languishing unclicked, it's clear that consumers have shifted their media behaviors to the point that businesses need to shift with them or get left behind.

This means finding creative ways to get your business message in front of the customer. Native advertising or sponsored content have become increasingly common. Heck, if consumers plan to skip the advertising built around the content (whether it's print, TV, or web), then the easiest solution is to inject your business into the content itself. This can be in the form of product placement, title sponsorship, or any number of other self-authored creative endeavors undertaken by the business.

And while we realize that not every local business has the time, money, or desire to engage in creative side projects, it does have a return on investment.

Businesses have long understood that sponsoring something simple, organic, and benevolent (like a charity 5K walk/run, for example) is a great business behavior. Your business gets in front of lots of people in a positive manner, and it does so in a very integrated manner. It's not exactly a commercial. It's not an ad in the traditionally annoying way. Instead, it's something the consumer will allow into his/her world, and it may even make your business into a greater idea worthy of community support.

And once you start to tap into things that really matter, you're beginning to touch your audience in a real and meaningful way. This is important.