Hijacked by Hipsters: The failure of advertising
There are two types of advertising (marketing communications). Telling people what you want them to know (about you) and telling people what you want them to do.
Telling people about you = brand advertising.
Telling people what you want them to do = action advertising.
Knowledge is one step removed from action.
Knowledge does not necessarily lead to (the right) action.
Knowledge that comes from personal experience is the deepest knowledge.
And, think about it, based on what you know intuitively about human beings; is it really a smart idea to talk about YOU, or about THEM?
Get people to act: buy your product and experience it. That way they get to know your product and trust that it will do what they have already experienced and they will become loyal to it for the purpose that they discovered personally.
Brand advertising works somewhat if you have deep pockets, can play a very long game and if you are wanting to communicate to audiences that are not your buyers. (I.e. corporates that virtue signal, or CEOs who ‘speak’ to their employees via advertising, or if companies want to lobby government.)
Brand advertising is an expensive form of PR; it works the same, but you can control it better and therefore it comes at a premium. It is RARELY (if ever) appropriate for a small business.
Brand advertising is what agencies want to do because it wins them awards and there is none of those ‘accountability’ metrics like sales to worry about.
The best advertising is advertising that has a call to action. Often it is a call to ‘buy’ something. Such ‘sales’ advertising can also take two forms: you can yell from the rooftops or you can get ALIGNMENT between what the customer wants (needs) and what you are asking them to do .
If the action that you want them to take will solve their problem/ satisfy their want; then it is a good call to action that associates YOUR offer with THEIR need and it becomes a virtuous circle.
There are many types of actions; you can ask people not only to buy something but to (a) tell a friend (b) recall a product (c) call you (d) use your product in a certain way and so forth. Initially at least it is most about buying your product because you don’t have many customers yet.
Yelling at customers to do something works much like yelling at kids works. Initially they will stop and listen, but pretty soon they will learn to ignore it and it becomes mere noise.