Advertising professionals, when they embark on developing an ad whether for digital, print, television or radio, follow the development of a creative platform. Essentially, this is a comprehensive statement that explains the entire scope of why the ad is being created, to whom it is being directed, and other details essential to success. However, the creative platform can be boiled down to four questions:
- Demonstrate What;
- To Whom;
- In order to accomplish what; and then
The “how” is the creative execution of the “idea,” which is contained in assembling answers to the first three questions. A simple “statement” or “platform” might be: “Demonstrate our design expertise to consumers in order to accomplish more requests for proposals.” You can enhance this platform with additional details (i.e., “Demonstrate our design expertise in Asian design, including Japanese interior style minimalist, in order to accomplish an additional four proposals per month”). The more detail, the more precise, the better the platform’s ROI will be able to be determined.
In his book, “How to Make Your Advertising Make Money,” the great John Caples delivered an important “secret” that has stood the test of time. He said that the headline is important to success. Another great – David Ogilvy – had his writers write hundreds of headlines before settling on the right one and tell them, “Half the money your clients invest is in the headline.” Instinctively, he knew what Caples knew: The headline – besides the graphic – is the single most influential part of an ad that will determine if the reader continues or not. Doubt that? Think about all the e-mails you receive: What, besides the sender, determines if you will read it? The subject line! Which is nothing more than a headline, isn’t it? If you can come up with a good headline, chances are you can have a good ad.
Keep in mind these four circles. In any advertisement, there will be an overall audience you “aim at.” This is the target market. Regardless of its size, only a portion of it will see your ad. Of those, only a portion of those will read your ad, and only a portion will inquire. But the point is, your ad “influences” those who see it and read it, but do not inquire. You will never know the true ROI of any ad you do. If you only judge by the inquiries, you will miss the effectiveness of the ad (i.e., some people do not “act” on the advertisement until later).
Finally, remember selling by demonstration is the BEST way to advertise. Your work – what you create as designers and architects, as showroom managers or builders – is the demonstration of your work to other people who might need your talent.