Corpcentre's Blog

December 23, 2009

Web 2.0: The Evolution of Advertising

Filed under: advertising,small business,social networking,world economy — corpcentre @ 8:10 pm
Everyone is aware of the power of communication. And, perhaps one of the most influential modes of communication is none other than advertising. Similar to many other trends of the modern world, advertising has undergone considerable change in order to maintain its position of influence vis-à-vis modern society.
 
Advertising, by definition, is a sub-section of public relations (PR). PR has its origins in the early 20th century. Edward Bernays is generally credited with coining the term and concept of PR. He viewed it as an applied social science to manage and manipulate the thinking and behaviour of the public.
 
Early television advertising concentrated on promoting products by bombarding the consumer. Fill the screen and fill the mind. However, the evolution of modern communication has given way to new methods of influencing the public. It would seem that mega-budgets of advertising creating “in your face” ads may not always be the most effective.
 
The Internet dominates our lives like no other media before it. Instant communications are a way of life. In fact, much of our communication today takes place via the Internet. Therefore, logic would dictate (applying the wisdom of Mr. Bernays) that dominating the Internet is the best way to manipulate public thinking.
 
Advertisers today have learned that their products and services must appear prominently on Internet sites. In this way, we will come to accept, almost naturally, that a certain product or service is part of our daily lives. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter serve as powerful advertising venues. In order to achieve a position of influence, advertisers have to bring their merchandise to the people and make it part of their everyday psyche. Rather than just glamour and glitter, advertising must speak to us on our modern terms so that we, in turn, can continue the chain of communication. As Bernays wrote in his book Propaganda (1928), manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is “the true ruling power of our country.”
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December 21, 2009

Beam Me Up, Captain Quirk

Advertising is a world of its own. Without a doubt, it has tremendous influence on our daily lives. Certainly, the more effective ads remain in our minds for seemingly an eternity. How many of us can remember jingles or advertisement characters from decades ago? Today, though, there appears to be a metamorphosis in advertising and a change in direction entirely.
 
Do an Internet search for the term “quirky advertising” and discover an entirely new realm. Gone are memorable characters selling products or scenes that evoke a warm, fuzzy feeling. Advertising, today, is moving in the direction of strange and weird. The norm in advertising today is quirky. Rather than extol the virtues of a product, advertisers are attempting to create strange beings, scenes, and concepts that have virtually nothing to do with the product. Rather, they hope that the consumer will easily remember the quirky advertising and associate that with the product. Of course, many a television program today is equally quirky and weird. Shouldn’t the advertising complement that?
 
No, it shouldn’t! Advertising, primarily on television, has become merely additional entertainment, rather than a medium for promoting sales. Entertainment for the sake of itself is perfectly legitimate but the jury is still out on whether or not these quirky ads have managed to attract consumers. Will a weird ad encourage you to purchase a product or simply tune in for the next installment of the advertisement?
 
With all the competition to produce odd and different types of advertising, it seems that connecting with the consumer – the primary goal – has been ignored. Perhaps, after the dust has settled and some of the strange creatures that inhabit the advertisements have been retired, consumerism will again be the driving force behind advertising.

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October 13, 2009

Common Mistakes of a Start Up

Most of us dream of becoming an overnight success. We have thought of the greatest business idea that will lead us to riches. It may happen. Then again, it may require good, old-fashioned hard work and dedication to make that first million. No doubt, though, that self employed entrepreneurs have that desire and drive to give it a try. By avoiding some common startup mistakes, the chances of success increase greatly.
 
It is vital to set yourself apart from others. You have to convince customers that your business is the right choice. What is your specialty that will entice business to come your way? Being the same as others in the trade won’t cut it. Also, copying someone else’s idea because they were successful at it won’t bring you long term success.

You have to sell your service or product to the public. Don’t expect a colourful flyer or flashy website to do the work. Similarly, your credentials are important for your credibility. But the bottom line is demonstrating what you can do with those credentials.
 
Did you start out with a business plan? Use this document to chart your business and don’t be afraid to alter the plan as necessary. Many new businesses realize in the first few months that change is essential. Although you probably want to see your business in print, don’t sink money into advertising until you’ve worked out the initial kinks and have settled on the long term version of your business.
 
Be sure to advertise your business where it counts. Get out and sell your service or product to the appropriate crowd. Also, don’t let hecklers or criticism deter you. Setbacks happen. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Marketing must be ongoing. Don’t stop after a few tries. You want the public to identify you with your business. Continue the marketing and be persistent and convincing!  Motivate yourself and you’ll succeed in motivating others. 
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October 12, 2009

Advertising Advice for Small Businesses

Undoubtedly, you will invest a good deal of time spreading the word about your new business. However, business requires a degree of volume. Therefore, advertising is a necessity. There are a variety of ways to advertise your new business, beyond merely speaking to people.
 
Even in this age of the Internet, many people still open the Yellow Pages when looking for a business. Of course, remember that the more visible your ad, the better your chance of being seen.
 
Newspaper ads are not just the realm of the major players. Your business will begin its path from a local market and local newspapers are the economical and effective way to attract a customer base. Don’t forget to have an advertisement prepared professionally. An amateur look could harm your professional image.
 
A new business should avoid costly telemarketing. On the other hand, direct mail may serve you well as you can choose exactly which geographic audience you are seeking.
 
Do you have a supply of eye-catching business cards? Each card is a miniature advertisement. Give them out freely to whomever you meet. Also, you may want to enlarge your card and prepare a sign to stick to your car. Remember, it is hard to say that you can advertise too much.
 
Of course, budgets do factor into advertising. The size of your advertising budget will determine how much you can allow yourself.
 
Be sure to get around to trade shows. Networking at shows and conventions is a very effective way to make contacts and get known “in the business.”
 
If you can afford it, local cable television advertising and radio spots may work for you. Similarly, sponsorship of local events in your community will earn you positive recognition.
 
Be creative and continually seek new and creative ways to advertise your business. It doesn’t always require a large budget to market your business. Do what’s best suited for your budget and be persistent.

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