Direct Response VS Branding

One night stand …or…Dynamic, long lasting and loving relationship?

Which would you choose?

OK one night stand sounds like fun…but it’s a quick fix and does not really match up to the latter. At least I hope not.

Above is a simple analogy to get your attention, something your advertising should be doing…but what it should also do is reveal your company’s identity, character and beliefs. That is where the real attraction for your consumer lies, and consolidates a mutual, loyal and profitable relationship.

So what is the core point of this article? Answer: Advertising for SMEs and the advice and rules you are supposed to adhere to concerning Brand Building or Direct Response Advertising. This advice and doctrine usually comes from people not willing or dynamic enough to analyse and challenge ideals whom could be holding your business back from achieving its true potential. The advice and the ideal as it stands is thus:

-SMEs should not build their brand image or position themselves; as these are long-term processes and do not guarantee results. For their smaller marketing budgets, they should concentrate on fast, easy and direct response advertising that diverts their customers to their business in the short-term.

Sounds great, basically they are saying:

‘Hello Small to Medium sized Enterprises…you cannot be a brand….you have to stick to what you are…which is a small, medium sized company. The Ferrari, platinum, diamond studded, sexy advertising is for the brand building mega-companies like Nike and Coca-Cola’.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer the Platinum option and Ferraris aren’t so bad either. But oh, I forgot, if you are an SME you better stick to soulless, cheap diamante and forgettable advertising.
But what are you to do? Surely you can’t compete with Coca-Cola and Nike just yet, and you can’t wait for years to build your brand, so you may as well just hang your head and cower to perfunctory direct response advertising.

Sorry wrong answer.

A dynamic and forward thinking advertising agency or supposed marketing ‘genius’ should be confident and informed enough to advise your business that you CAN build your brand identity TOGETHER with having a rapid response result from your customers in the short-term.
Firstly, the bonus with this effective option is that you are consistently building your brand, so along the line your future Direct Response work will engender familiarity and loyalty from your consumers as your brand grows and succeeds. Who knows you may be getting that Ferrari, sexy, diamond advertising work sooner than you think.
Secondly it should not be a ridiculously expensive option. A good agency should offer you the service for a competitive rate, a great agency should work with you for a innovative creative solution that fits your budget and successfully executes both functions: Direct Response Results and effective Brand Building.

Sounds great again, but where’s an example? Think EasyJet or Gossard Wonderbra. They had a momentous rapid response to their advertising and at the SAME time crafted a powerful brand identity and effective market position. EasyJet branded to the point where they almost ‘own’ the colour orange and ‘low cost’ associations. And the beauty of these examples, they were both executed on tight budgets.

Now for the bolder and dynamic of you, who are thinking of branding and positioning strategy.

Branding states your intentions, it bares all- but only shows the best bits. It means your business goals of competing in your market become transparent, which clearly shows your core customers and competitors your unfaltering commitment to your company and your beliefs in your product and service. It means you are in it, wholeheartedly, for the long haul. As a consumer I want to see that, I would trust and respect a company that is confident and proud of themselves rather than their cowardly, wimpy competitors. This is where the process of AIDCA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Conviction and Action) really comes alive and consumers really Act, and do so with conviction and a propensity to become lucrative and loyal customers in the long-term.

So now you are aiming high, but you’re not Virgin or IKEA just yet, but who says you want to be anyway. You may be happy in your own field and comfort zone. However what your company really wants is to be the best in your field and ultimately brandish the leading competitive edge you may feel you are lacking. But wait, now you do have that edge, in the form of a dynamic engine of innovation that will blast you out of your comfort zone and market position: Branding.

So now you are on the brand map, you really are a bit like Virgin, IKEA and EasyJet and many other great brands.

All of them were told ‘not’ to brand and expect short-term rapid response by that same old marketing record.

All chose to disregard him.

All got Rapid Results as well as powerful Brand Building success.

All companies were in fiercely competitive markets and could have stayed in their comfort zone.

All have powerful, unforgettable and effective identities and positions.

All companies are now mega brands.

They did it. They started somewhere. So can you. You can also brand successfully and get short-term direct results. Maybe not on their scale straight away but at least on a scale that is far higher and more profitable than the one you are ‘told’ to stay on.

Mono Ghose MA(Hons) – Mavericks Executive Account Director/Partner
[email protected]