Following Some of Advertising’s Finer Lines

As discussed in this previously posted article, “there are careful lines that must be walked to maintain your brand’s integrity,” when planning and executing advertising efforts. Some are very bold, and easy to stay on the right side of (this is often what makes it so egregious when they’re crossed). Some are very fine, or all tangled up. These take a trained eye to properly re-spool and weave into your communication strategy.

Discounted Pricing Strategy

Let’s begin by discussing a line drawn with more of a medium stroke. Advertising your price points. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a marketer lists an item at, say, $199.99. However, it’s never actually sold for more than $150. This is the cheapest way to bring “value” to your product or service. Why not set your price at $150, and prove why that’s a fair and respectable price-point? Rather than attempting to prove that some amount off is an irresistible deal. Sell your product, or your service, before your price.

This kind of discount strategy can become quickly ineffective. Especially among more educated, luxury-focused markets. And, it can be a fairly limiting strategy. Good luck if you ever need to raise the price of that product.

By employing a more transparent pricing strategy, customers often accept price increases with less resistance (if and when they become necessary). This is because consumers already believe you aren’t ripping them off. They trust you and your product. Whereas, if you’ve always marketed your product at a discount, you’ve inflated the value of your own product. Creating a challenge that can be almost impossible to overcome.

This is not to say you should never offer discounts, employ coupons, or host a sale. It means that these efforts must be thought out and executed with precision; ensure that they are driving effective sales (that result in loyalty).

Diversity & Inclusion

This line is pretty thick. And, you’d have to be pretty thick to ignore it. Seriously, it’s 2020. There is no hiding the fact that if you make a miss here, you’re canceled. Done for! Nobody has time for brands that believe it to be their responsibility to decide who is, and who is not accepted; allowed; or able. If you’re on the market, you’re on the market for everyone—how do people still see this as a bad thing? I’m not entirely sure.

Diversity and inclusion efforts can only bring you a larger audience. And, just generally allow you to present yourself and your business as being from this century.

The fine line here is that these efforts must be genuine. If you’re forcing it, the line’s already been crossed. Allow these to be natural efforts that you and your team actually care about, and be involved for reasons a good bit deeper than just profit.

Ensure your creative (actually, all) teams embrace diversity and inclusion. Inspire them to seek it out, and understand its value. Get minority creators and talent involved in your network, not just in your productions. Openly request, and respect, their opinions and suggestions.

Overdramatizing Details & Situations (Lying)

While some luxury markets are based almost entirely on the inflated sense of worth particular consumers feel for particular brands and products, try to avoid laying it on too thick. This can actually decrease any value the very consumers you are hoping to attract place on your brand. And, it’s just bad business.

Some brands and products exist solely to solve problems that they’ve created. It’s usually not as blatantly sinister as someone going around slashing tires, and selling their victims new ones. But how can you expect to generate brand loyalty for a product or service that solves a problem that doesn’t really exist? Or that doesn’t even fully solve a problem, or fulfill some need.

You can’t. These ‘snake oil’ tactics are as old as time, but unfortunately, people still fall victim to this day. If the justification for your messaging is that “consumers should know better,” —rethink your whole brand, and the motivations behind it. If it’s not illegal, it’s unethical.

Think & Plan

It is important to invest both time and budget into all aspects of the communication strategies for your brand. Whether this be through consulting with professionals, contracting a freelancer, or even hiring a full-time employee: do not over look this aspect of your business. It can be easy to ignore these, and many other fine lines in the realm of marketing and advertising. Even if it is not intentional, oversight here can be extremely detrimental to your brand and business as a whole.

What are some other aspects of our industry that take honed-in skills to navigate? Are there any examples of brands you can think of that either effectively, or ineffectively, trod around these lines? I am looking forward to reading your comments below!

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