I hate advertising. I really do. I hate the minutiae of fonts, images and colors for something that is so fleeting.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand and value the need to sufficiently tell my story and to properly invite guests to visit for one reason or another (that we create through advertising).
I love building and executing against a brand on a consistent basis.
I think advertising can get to be a spiraling vortex. I have some money. I should advertise. I have a media plan. I should come up with a great “thing” to advertise. Often, this thought process can lead us to want to advertise the things we may do well that are perhaps not the best for advertising because as much as they may be accurate and true, customers find the claims hard TI believe when seen in ads – the loosest slots, the best service, the friendliest employees.
I think these are the things we have to “operationalize”. We need to make them part of what we ARE, rather than what we say. And by “we”, I mean all businesses.
Think of Ritz-Carlton. Everyone knows they are the gold standard of customer service. I can’t remember the last time I say a Ritz-Carlton ad touting their great service. Come to think of it, I can’t remember ever seeing one.
I’ve been in the casino business for a long time now. I’ve seen casino after casino advertise their loosest slots with the standard teeny tiny disclaimer. I’ve sat behind two-way mirrors watching focus groups for far more hours than I can count and I can’t ever remember a customer being convinced by one of those ads.
Let’s not forget those friendly employees. We love to photograph them giving you the biggest smile and welcome ever seen, but all it takes is one visit through your doors, face to face with someone short-staffed or short on nerves to throw that ad spend out the window.
So, what do we do? How about delivering on the promise of service, friendliness, taste, excitement or whatever you’re trying to advertise? Do it day in and day out. THAT’S what customers remember. That will be the nuance they will see in your ads. That will be what becomes memorable. That’s how advertising becomes more important than the color and font.
Hmm…maybe I do like advertising after all. Maybe, it’s the messages that get to me.