Advertising: The benefits of being bold
Advertising: That single word is the reason for the success and failure of so many businesses. However, it also can be hard to measure or judge its success.
Taking a leap with a big advertising budget can certainly be risky, but the upside of building your company on its own success is truly immeasurable. These days, there seem to be so many media outlets and so many different ways to reach your customers and potential customers. And although it seems that some of these new medias are really effective, having so many available choices can make it harder to manage advertising dollars – or at least, it is for us.
We are fortunate at Anthony’s Pizza: We love to take risks and walk right up to the edge. And because of those qualities, we have taken some heat over the years for our risky slogans. We like to be progressive. Our yearly budget is just a drop in the bucket compared with those of big corporate chains. I like to think that my own marketing background tends to give better insight to our advertising firm (even though they would probably say I drive them crazy).
Part of our culture here at Anthony’s is to pay constant attention to trends and our competitors. Everyone can bring something to the table. I am willing to say that we have been surprised by a few trends – but for the most part, we have seen a lot of things coming and been able to act accordingly.
Advertising for a brand (as opposed to for a single store) is certainly an immense undertaking. You must define who you are, who you want to reach and what you want to say – which may not be as simple as it sounds. We operate in a competitive market. We compete against the big corporate chains, local shops and startups – all vying for similar consumers. At the same time, we compete against Chipotle, Panera and other quick casual restaurants. It’s a crowded ocean we’re swimming in.
Fortunately, our tradition of being bold and cutting-edge has helped us build upon our brand’s solid foundation. Much of what we have learned over the years is valuable to both businesses big and small. Because we are in a segment that provides unique challenges to our franchise systems budget, we have learned valuable lessons that have really helped solidify our brand in the pizza segment.
And yes, the world has changed – rapidly, and with a lot of help from technological advances like Internet radio, which was invented partly to keep commercials out. However, marketers can and should see Internet radio as a beautiful thing.
You can now highly segment listeners beyond just moms driving to a soccer game. You can now target according to how many kids they have, and/or whether or not they work out. Specificity and analytics are the name of the game. This stuff is here to stay and it works. Whether your business is big or small, everyone should embrace it.
Technology is certainly changing the delivery, but your message and content should adjust as well. Your company should be prepared to be fast and nimble. The pace of advertising and the ability to react, compare or mock competitors can only create opportunity. Case in point: Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta cannot compete against giant corporate advertising campaigns.
We can, however, use them to our advantage. For example, back when Domino’s decided to change their recipe and admit their pizza wasn’t very good, we took advantage of that timeliness and put up billboards all over Denver saying “We never changed our recipe because our pizza never sucked.”
It was funny, and it resonated with consumers – but honestly, we were a little nervous; throwing darts at Domino’s was not something to take lightly. But our relationship with and belief in our advertising firm paid off: Our campaign was clever and timely, and it put us on the map nationally regarding our advertising.
That’s an easy segue into the importance of hiring the right advertising firm and other consultants. Our advertising firm is Cultivator, our website developer is Nichez. Some firms can do it all, but I prefer to have them separate. I also like local people. They tend to have a better sense of what’s happening here in town. I am also a big believer in building a team who can see your business differently and push you in directions you previously thought you would never go. There are truly many pieces to effective and successful advertising such as branding, website, social media and public relations.
And of course, you need someone to place the ads. It is a highly complicated team effort – and one that needs to have set goals. I don’t just mean revenue goals, as those can be very hard to recognize over the short term. Instead, start with simple goals based on simple questions: Who do you want to reach, and what do you want to say? What would be the best outcome of your advertising? A great advertising firm can help you answer those questions.
What’s next? Jump in! Stand out and build your brand.