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July 15, 2022

Best Places to Advertise in 2022 – 2023

David Brashears

Best places to advertise in 2022 - 2023

Five Places to Invest Your Brand Advertising that Loyalists Value

It’s the time of year when many companies are reviewing their marketing and advertising for the past 12 months and working to put together their next strategic plan for their brands.  It’s an intimidating time to be developing new brand tactics, and things that used to work just don’t seem to be penetrating the same.  It doesn’t help that every industry SaaS, media representative, consultancy, and agency is burying you in emails, calls, and pings assuring you that they’ve developed the next big thing that is going to set your brand apart.

So, I’m not going to tell you that we have all the answers.  Or even that the advice I’m giving will work for every brand out there.  Creative Energy as an agency is not really for every brand out there!  However, if you’re genuinely interested in building a brand with some heart and soul that engages and empowers a devoted community of brand loyalists, then this advice could be really valuable as you plan your advertising budget for the next year. We’ve seen so many great companies bring together a pre-built advertising budget that checks all the standard boxes and asks us to build out the campaign assets.  We can certainly do that—and have—but there are some things we consider high-value that don’t always get the consideration we think they should.  Our case study on brand loyalist beliefs and behavior shares a lot of the reasoning behind why we might make some different suggestions than other agencies with a much more upscale postal code.

So, here are the five best places to advertise from an agency obsessed with leveraging your passionate brand loyalists to grow.

Number 5: PR and Communications

The old adage that all publicity is good publicity is as dead as the dinosaurs. You’ve got to be willing to take a much more active and transparent role in cultivating a clear human picture of your brand.  In a great article published in Forbes, Melanie Martin of The Coup Public Relations explained that the classic idea of using PR to present the “good” that your company is doing is no longer important, or even relevant. 

Modern consumers are not consumers at all—they are stakeholders.  They don’t see themselves as disengaged purchasers of products or services anymore.  Your brand loyalists are investors in a cultural perspective that your brand represents, and your corporate communications and press releases need to align your brand with a well-developed social ideology.

PR and Corporate Communications is a great place to provide a more holistic perspective on your company’s culture and brand initiatives for potential brand loyalists.

Modern media outlets—whether consumer or trade-facing—are great places to hone and sharpen your brand storytelling.  They have been given a mandate from their audiences that content cannot be featured and benefits copy straight out of the sales deck.  The content they value must be much more compelling than in decades past.  When you are crafting PR stories to pitch to outlets, you need to listen to the feedback you’re getting and take that critical data back to the brand position to clarify and focus on how you talk about your brand.  It’s a great way to reality-check what you think you know about your target audience, and what you think they value about your brand.

Number 4: Social Media

This should not be a surprise to anyone in 2022.  If you’re not investing in building, engaging, and leveraging your brand’s community using social media, then you better start immediately.  Just like with PR and communications, your brand loyalists have no interest in being passive consumers of your social media content either.  Remember, they are engaged stakeholders in your brand narrative.  If something doesn’t align with the brand position or cultural values you’ve presented, they will be happy to let you know in a very public way.

In 2021 and 2022, social media itself has undergone several major evolutions that have opened up some great new opportunities for brands to directly interact with their loyalists.  We just published an article from our Social Media Specialist, Leslie Barboza, that offers valuable insights on selling directly to consumers using new social media tools.

Social media used to be a cocktail party where you could gather attention just by being clever and/or entertaining with your content.  The goal was just to amuse enough people in order to pepper some information from your selling propositions and hope you could direct them into one of your funnels.

In 2022, however, the conversation can go deep—and quickly.  Your social media team needs to be dialed in to your brand humanity, and be able to deliver real answers to some hard questions if you want to build real brand value.

Your advertising investment here needs to be in great brand content that reflects the voice and tone of your brand on a consistent basis.  As more social platforms turn to short-form video as the expected media, that means new storytelling tactics that have to be efficient.

Number 3: New Video Strategies

Video has been the best way to tell a story for decades.  This is not new information.  However, the way video has become decentralized is something you need to consider in your advertising strategy.  A ton of people are now walking around with camera gear in their pockets that would have put Hollywood to shame 20 years ago.  Video is the best way to tell an entertaining story, and it’s only becoming easier for anyone to use.

What that also means is that there’s a lot of… let’s call it “less valuable” video content out there—you know, the white noise of video content.  Your video content team needs to be able to create a compelling set of short (20-second or less) brand videos that can work together to provide a bigger picture of who your company is and what you value.  The beauty of short-form video content is that it requires you to focus on one point at a time. 

Short-form videos are just the beginning, though.  If you build a brand ecosystem that really works, those short video interactions should trigger a desire for deeper engagement.  That can happen through branded video content that resides on your website and tells a much deeper, and more complete, story about your brand position.

Number 2: Your Website

It may seem odd to suggest your brand needs to include your website as an advertising line item.  After all, you might have completed a major update to the brand’s website within the past couple of years and feel like it’s doing a pretty good job.  What I’m suggesting is that your current website usage model may need some serious overhauling.  Is your site a static library of corporate values and virtues with a solid catalog of your products and services with specifications, features and benefits, and warranty information? 

Your website can, and should, do better in the modern economy.  Your website is your digital property.  It’s the place where your brand can be fully actualized without having to follow third-party platform terms of use.  Very few brands are taking full advantage of this opportunity.  They invest in inbound and outbound advertising spends, all focused on inspiring a core group of key commercial targets.  In most cases, the KPIs for these campaigns prioritize website visitation and dwell times as a core metric.

The problem is that when your advertising campaign works and you actually get people to visit your website, the layout and content you serve them are identical to 60 to 80% of your direct competitors.  That leaves your most valuable potential customers wondering why they should bother trying to learn anything else about your brand.

This is also why a lot of brands are now trying to convert quick purchasing decisions using social media and large internet retailers.  They’ve all but ceded that they don’t really have a unique perspective or experience to share with their customers.

Those companies truly invested in cult brand status need to rethink their website user experience at a much deeper level.

Number 1: Your Authority

And that brings us to the top place to invest your advertising dollars–your brand’s authority position.  Everything we’ve discussed up to this point has been a guided tour of this subject.  Does your brand really matter?  And if so, why?

Authority is not something that can usually be demanded.  It’s earned.  Your mission, vision, values, virtues, truth, promise, and position are all academic to a world full of jaded, disenfranchised, and critical customers.  They do not care about your bottom line, and they are all too happy to point out any hypocrisy or disingenuous behavior they might perceive from your brand. They expect your brand to be false, and they expect you to fail under examination.

That does not mean they want you to fail. If most modern consumers were completely honest, they’d admit that they still want to support and invest in brands they believe in.  They want their hard-earned dollars to not only bring the products and services they need but have a positive impact on the world at large. 

That’s where your authority comes in.  No, you don’t have to undertake every social issue out there.  However, your brand loyalists do want to believe you are focusing on the same important issues they value and are able to provide a positive impact.

How do you invest in authority?  It’s right in the word.  You author content from an established, sustainable, and compelling personality and perspective that is unique to your brand.  You own a position within your market that sets you apart from your competitors.  Articles, press releases, posts, videos, podcasts, events, and social activism—are just a few of the many ways you can invest in your brand becoming a forerunner within your marketplace.  People who are brand loyal will take what you create and propagate it further and deeper than you could ever do just through traditional advertising spend.

It’s also one of the most valuable ways to improve your brand’s findability as well.  Any AI-based platform where people seek information about things they are passionate about will prioritize current and relevant content on that subject.  Own the subjects that matter to your company and brand and invest. If your next advertising budget is doing a lot of the same things you’ve been doing for the past several years, it may be time to take a breath and think hard about whether or not you expect different results.  Creative Energy builds brand strategies that lead to authority for our clients.  It’s the greatest reason we have kept client relationships for decades, rather than months and years.  If you want to start valuing your potential brand loyalists and focusing your advertising to empower them, we’re ready to talk.