Top five rules of brand advertising

Ready For Bitter? Ad campaign for Campari UK by Spinach Branding

The world may have changed since the pioneer of modern advertising, David Ogilvy, wrote his seminal book ‘Ogilvy on Advertising’. Yet, despite the rise of social media and an altogether more complex web of communications, many of his rules still apply today. Here are our top five rules of brand advertising:

1.     Knowledge is key
Do your homework. Become intimate with the brand and the industry in which it operates. There simply are no shortcuts. The more knowledge you have, the better chance of creating an effective campaign. At Spinach, we begin all projects by getting to know the industry we are about to work with. Be it finance, beauty, hospitality, construction – our team in the London agency will research the industry, gather as much information as possible and get to know it intimately. We will then run extensive workshops with the client, and more often than not employ a third party to do more specific research. Never underestimate the power of knowledge.

Campari UK advertising campaign by Spinach

2.     Position the brand effectively
Consider where the brand will work best and who is going to respond to it. Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of advertising. It isn’t always obvious either – sometimes a brand may be targeted at a certain audience, but to get their attention it needs to be positioned at a different level. This increasingly extends to the choice of Influencers brought on-board to promote the brand. A relatively new concept in brand positioning, we often see companies work with Influencers who do not necessarily share the same brand values. The game may have altered, but Ogilvy’s classic rules still apply. Work only with those who share your values. Don’t get greedy.

Spinach created the Unilode brand

3.     The brand identity must reflect the brand positioning
An advert is essentially selling the image of a brand, and how it looks, talks and feels needs to reflect the overall brand positioning. It is the public-facing image, so everything must work in harmony from the typeface, to the image, the illustration, and the model or celebrity featured. Every little detail counts. To add to the complexity, today’s message must be understood globally, not be culturally exclusive or offensive. At Spinach we work with companies around the world and we try to choose visuals and a language which will resonate on an international level. Recently we were tasked to create a new brand for an international aviation firm. The logo appears in airport runways, and so the brand name we came up with, Unilode, works effectively on a global scale.

Knight Frank's advertising by Spinach

4.     Message wisely
Messaging is an extremely subtle art form. Short sharp text or long factual copy, it all depends on the brand and the positioning of the ad. At Spinach, we have our internal brand copywriters, as well as specialist writers who we employ for certain clients. A recent campaign for the property consultants Knight Frank saw the brand messaging take pole position. We felt the customer needed to be placed at the centre of the ad, so our ‘Move/Found’ campaign introduced the human factor to an otherwise cold industry. Currently, we are working with Campari UK on the brand advertising campaign ‘Ready For Bitter?’. This iconic Italian brand famously worked with avant-garde artists, including the futurists, for copy and typeface that could be swiftly read and digested on moving objects when ads began to appear on the buses and trains. Now, campaigns are created in multiple forms and the length, size, and so the words and the design, need to adapt to the style of ad.

Campari UK advertising campaign by Spinach

5.     Big ideas sell
The world may have evolved greatly since ad man Ogilvy’s heyday, but one essence remains the same: a big idea almost always works. This is the hardest part of brand advertising as there are no rules here – it is down to the creative capabilities of the agency. Everyone can design a simple ad, yet coming up with one that will stand the test of time, one that becomes an icon in itself, is an entirely different proposition. Composing a big idea is an artistic process anchored in deep knowledge and background information. It really is down to the skills and creative powers of the ad agency.

To quote Ogilvy himself, ask yourself five questions:
“Did it make me gasp when I first saw it?
Do I wish I had thought of this myself?
Is it unique?
Does it fit the strategy to perfection?
Could it be used for 30 years?”

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Campari Instagram Adverts by Spinach
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