Advertisers and advertising agencies believe that customers have needs and desires, which can be fulfilled through the purchase and use of products and services. Advertising works largely through appeal of emotions of envy, fear, anxiety, about one’s appearance and lack of status. It is widely assumed that advertising works if the AIDCA formulas are followed. The formula sums up the principles of advertising. The name of the formula is derived from the initial letters of the words: Attention, Interest, Desire, Conviction and Action.
The formula suggests that the attention and interests of the customers must be gained first before the process of stimulating desire, imparting conviction and urging action in advertisements can bring about a change in the buying behaviors.
Steps Involved in Advertisement Planning
The Attention part is the banner or headline that makes an impressive benefit promise. Interest builds information in an interesting way, usually meaning that this must relate closely to the way that the reader thinks about the issues concerned. If you seek a response you must move then to create Desire, which relates benefits to the reader so that they will want them. Finally you must prompt an Action, which may be to call a telephone number or to complete and send of a reply coupon. Advertising that does not prompt action is a wasted opportunity.
Offer a single impressive benefit, quickly and simply
Research proves that where responses are required, the best adverts are those, which offer an impressive, relevant benefit to the reader. This ‘promise’ should ideally contain the business brand name, take no longer to read than is normal for the media and be clearly the most striking part of the advert. This point cannot be stressed enough; you must keep it quick, simple and to the point.
Younger generations are extremely visually literate. They have been brought up on computer games, so they couldn’t deal with a lot of polished copy, even if they wanted to.” Think about the vocabulary and language you use; know your target audience: a simple test is to avoid any words or grammar that would not be found in the newspaper that the target group would read.
Your message must be quick and easy to absorb.
Use a clear layout, clear fonts and clear language. Do not distract the reader from the text by overlaying images or using fancy fonts. Use simple language, avoid complicated words, and keep enough space around the text to attract attention to it. Use simple traditional type styles: serif fonts are quicker to read than sans serif. Use ten, eleven or twelve point-size for the main text; smaller or larger are actually more difficult to read and therefore less likely to be read. Avoid cluttering the advert with fancy images, colors and backgrounds. Make it easy to read.
For the same reason avoids italics, shadows, light colors reversed out of dark, weird and wonderful colors. None of these improve readability, they all reduce it. Use simple black (or dark colored) text on a white (or light colored) background for maximum readability.
Involve the reader in your writing style
Refer to the reader as ‘you’ and use the second person (‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘yours’ etc) in the description of what your business does for the customer to get them visualizing their own personal involvement. Describe the service as it affects them in a way that they will easily relate to it.
Incorporate something new
People respond better and are more easily attracted initially to a concept that is new or original. If they’ve heard or seen it all before it will be no surprise that they take no notice at all. People must believe there’s something in it for them right from the start.
Develop a proposition that is special or unique
Why should people be interested if your proposition is no different to your competition? You must try to emphasize what makes your service special. Unless your code of practice prevents you from claiming superiority over your competitors, you should put as much emphasis as you can behind your USP (unique selling point), and either imply or state directly that you are the only company to offer these things.
Proposition or offer must be credible and believable
The Advertising Standards Authority or equivalent would prevent you from making overly extravagant claims anyway, but you should still attempt to make your offer seem perfectly credible. This is usually best accomplished by explaining ‘why’ and ‘how’ you are able to do the things you are offering, in support of your claims; you can also increase credibility by showing references or testimonial quotes from satisfied customers.
For example, if you claim particularly good customer service, this can be reinforced with an outline of your policy on seeking customer feedback and carrying out satisfaction surveys.
Advertising is often referred to as a ‘Black Art’ because it is mysterious, and is rarely a precise science. Things sometimes work, which you imagine, wouldn’t, and plenty of things you think should work, don’t. An advertisement campaign determines what the advertiser wants to say. It also determines how, when, where, and to whom the advertiser wants to say it.
The Planning process of Advertisements Campaigns include the following activities:
1. Situation Appraisal- before planning any activity, one requires relevant information regarding the situation. For planning an Ad campaign, we require information about the target market or consumer, the company or product and the competition. The three important research areas are:
- Consumer research and market research
- Product and company research
- Competitive research
2. Situation Analysis- (analyzing strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats) From all the information collected, campaigns planners find out the strengths of the product. These strengths could be in any area. The strength often leads to new opportunities to be explored. Weaknesses make the product vulnerable to threats from others.
3. Structural or Strategic Planning– Advertising is an art and a science. While the art comes from writing, designing and producing exciting advertisements, the science comes from scientific methods of research and strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process of making intelligent decisions. It starts with finding out what to do, deciding how to accomplish the objectives. It also decides whom to address (the target audience), how to distinguish the product, how much to spend (budgeting), and how long to run the campaign.
4. Creative Planning– it includes developing a theme, the creative strategy and finally deciding the creative tactics. The theme needs to be a strong concept to be able to hold all there different and diverse ads together. A powerful theme brings about ‘synergy’ to the campaign. A theme must always relate to and reflect the campaign objectives. Another step of creative planning is finding the creative strategy. The creative strategy outlines the impressions the campaign wants to create. Some common creative strategies are:
- Generic Strategy- this is used by market leaders who ignore the presence of competitors
- Pre-emptive claim strategy- here the brand is the first to pick up a particular feature. In the minds of the people, it becomes associated with that brand.
- Unique selling proposition (USP) strategy- here the campaign talks about some features, which is unique to that advertised brand and is not available in others.
- Brand image strategy: when there are no strong differentiating features among the competitors, then branding try and create images.
- Product Positioning- some times products or brands are positioned different from competing brands.
5. Media Planning- the ultimate goal of advertising is to reach the target audience with the advertising message. Thus, the major decisions in media planning, which needs to be taken, are:
- Which media to be used?
- Where to advertise (geographic region)?
- When to advertise (timing and scheduling)?
- How intense the exposure should be (frequency)?
Media planning is a ‘behind the scene’ part of advertising. It plays an integral role in merging the science of marketing with the art of advertising. A media planner has to find out about the availability of various media, the media rates, their reaches and also analyze their effectiveness.