Caution: Nerdy, math geeky marketing ahead.
Previously, I’ve presented the formula for advertising ineffectiveness and suggested that advertising as a marketing tool by itself was virtually useless. That does not make advertising a lost cause because there are multipliers that can increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. In turn, you can begin to see a return on your advertising investment.
In this post: Branding.
As we proceed through these riffs of advertising effectiveness & marketing multipliers, please be aware that this is my theory (based on experience). To my knowledge there has been no research on how the marketing multipliers mathematically influence return on advertising investment. All figures I use in these examples are arbitrary.
Branding your small business is so powerful because it creates a shortcut for your customers. If you have a strong brand, just the mention of your name evokes a reaction from those who hear it. It means people understand who you are, what you stand for, and they have an opinion or an emotion about it.
Because branding is a shortcut for your customers, it takes the strain off of advertising to do the heavy lifting. You don’t have to waste advertising time explaining who you are.
Brand strength and advertising have an inverse relationship. The greater you feel the need to advertise your business, the weaker your brand. For more on how the components of a strong brand fit together, see: The Four Spot Marketing Model.
I believe that branding as a marketing multiplier has a factor of 2 in our advertising effectiveness equation. It can double the effectiveness of any marketing activity you do. So here’s how our equation now looks:
Significantly better, but still horrible. It means that 99.5% of all your advertising is still wasted. Don’t worry it will get better before it’s all over.
How did I arrive at this number? Subjectively, of course. However, in researching the value of company brands I found that sometimes the brand alone can be a company’s most valuable asset. In addition, I gained some insight from this Harvard Business Review Article: Linking Advertising and Brand Value (paid article).
It has been my experience that most small businesses lead with advertising in their marketing mix. The best practice would be to follow with advertising after you have your marketing multipliers in place.
With branding in place, it’s time to move on to the next marketing multiplier: the customer experience.