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Advertising campaigns and how they can negatively affect your business

Advertising campaigns are very important when it comes to making potential customers remember your company. Obviously, you want something that they will remember forever, or at least for some time. It might not be a secret either that you want people to have a positive attitude towards your company, and not a negative one. Advertising campaigns can make or break your company, and therefore it is very important to make sure you give your potential customers a positive feeling. Unfortunately, sometimes there are some unexpected problems that will negatively affect the feeling about your company. How can you prevent them?

Many advertising campaigns nowadays involve interaction. You want your user to interact with your company. Not only will this cause your user to remember your company more vividly, you will also get insight in what your user actually wants and needs. When hanging a poster somewhere, sure, people will see your company – but are they interested? Is it clear what the poster is about and what product you’re offering? You can hang posters all you want, but if your font is black and your background is navy, people will not be able to read it that fast, and therefore will not remember your company. People will refer to the poster as “the one with black letters on a navy blue background”, and I am not sure if you want your company to be associated with designers who do not know how to create a simple, clear poster.

Coca Cola and their free stickers

So. Interaction. Great way to get to know your user, because if you don’t get any input from them, chances are, your interactive product is not as interesting as you thought it would be. Let me give you an example of how not to execute an advertising campaign:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas, and that means: presents! We all know about Coca Cola and their Santa, their way of advertising. Now today, I was browsing VKontakte which is a Russian equivalent of Facebook, and just like Facebook, VKontakte has stickers too. Fun! I browsed these stickers today and found new ones, from Coca Cola. I downloaded them as they were free, and received a message from “Coca Cola Russia”, asking me if I would like to get some more stickers. As I only got five, I said yes. There was only one thing I needed to do in order to get those stickers: I had to take a picture of myself holding a Coca Cola bottle or can, with the logo visible.

No problem, I would say. I bought a can of cola (very smart! The stickers were free, but I had to buy something first, actually making these stickers not free) and took a picture with it. This picture, to be more precise:

A nice can of Cherry Coca Cola, as you can see.

Living in a society with apps that can even recognize objects by simply taking a picture of it , you would say that this was pretty clear. The brand was easily visible. However, this can did not get recognized by the Coca Cola Santa. I sent another picture, which didn’t get recognized either. I got very frustrated, it looks kind of weird to take twenty-something pictures with a can of Coca Cola outside, I can tell you that, so I just wanted to get it over with.

After sending another five pictures, which all did not get recognized, I got kind of tired of it. I figured I might have had to use a Coca Cola bottle, where the logo would be more visible. When I got home I found an empty bottle, took a picture with it, and sent it again. This didn’t get recognized either.

See my face? That’s frustration.

I got quite frustrated at the moment and very tired of it. I was about to say “nevermind” and take my loss, but I was so frustrated at that point I decided to send all the pictures I had taken. I sent over 20 pictures, all at the same time. A few minutes later I got one last message from Coca Cola Santa. I quote: “Oh, so many pictures, I didn’t have the time to look at them. Here’s your stickers anyway, enjoy!”. Really? All it took was send twenty-something pictures just to get what I wanted? In the end, this whole happening got me more frustrated than happy about the stickers, and this did not affect my attitude towards Coca Cola in a positive way.

Negative associations

That’s how easy it is to influence someone’s opinion about a company! If only their filter was a bit more flexible, I would not have had these problems at all, and would easily have got those stickers. However, it was too hard to send a simple photo, and taking them off Google was impossible too, since the filter did recognize those images.
Another, more physical example: Jehovah’s witnesses who want to spread the word of God. By the simple fact that they ring my doorbell about every other month, they make me want to never join them at all! They are annoying, everyone knows it, people even joke about it, and yet they keep ringing your doorbell asking if you want to convert to Christianity, or whatever. I don’t even know what they want to accomplish since I’ve never given them the chance to talk to me about it, because I am not interested!

When people are joking about you in a negative way, chances are you’re not doing it right.

And the same thing happens to good causes who need you to donate money. Might be only once, but they might want you to subscribe to their donating list too so you can donate every month. They ring your doorbell, they call you, they approach you on the streets. Annoying! Because of this, I don’t even want to donate anymore! Besides, those people have to get paid too, so I don’t think my donation is actually used for poor little kids in Africa who need water, or for whales that get killed for their meat. Or something.

The main thing? Feedback!

So, that’s enough negativity for the day. How can we make sure your advertising campaign has a big(ger) change of being successful? Simple: make sure your thing works! Test it, allow people to leave some feedback and give them the option to write something too (a simple one to five star rating won’t work; you will never find out why people like your product, or why they despise it). Sure, most people won’t fill it in, but there are people who do leave very interesting feedback if you just give them the chance. Especially when they are frustrated, they will. Nothing frustrates you more than being ignored by a company, and not being able to leave feedback equals being ignored.

Second main thing? Free stuff!

Give people something for free, but make sure it does not take a lot of effort: let them taste your food, hand out free stickers or samples. This way, you’ll get interaction – you need humans to hand out your products, so your user will automatically interact with those humans and therefore associate your company with social, hopefully nice, people. Of course, this counts too: if the people handing out your stuff are not nice and are busier with their phone than they are with your user, your user will get a negative feeling about your company and will therefore be less likely to become a customer.

So, to summarize:

That’s just about how easy it is. I am not a professional, nor have I read any books about it, but this is my personal experience, and as I am a normal, ordinary person, chances are I am also one of the people you want to attract. Just make things easy, and make sure they are not only easy for you, but also for your user, and your advertising campaign will be successful.

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