The ABC’s of Branding: Advertising



Advertising is one of the oldest branding techniques marketers have been using since the before the 1700s. While there are many misconceptions around the purpose of advertising, it's really a chance to solidify the perception of your brand in the eye of your consumers. Yes, a perk of advertising can be an increase in revenue, but the main objective of advertising is to control your narrative. Essentially, advertising is the art of selling your brand - what makes your company special, and what makes your offering better than your competitors?

In order to break through the white-noise of advertising, focus on connecting with your customers on a personal level. Consumers are rarely persuaded by what your product does, but rather how it makes them feel. While there are different methods to appeal to customers, emotions are a strong determining factor in penetrating a customer's evoked set. (*The evoked set is the list of companies/brands a person can remember off the top of their head. For example, asking your friend to list as many fast food joints in Edmonton as they can, they say Wendy's, McDonalds, Burger King and A&W. These four would be the evoked set, as they forgot to mention other places like Arby's, Fatburger, Five Guys and more.)

Some Advertising Methods include (and are not definitely not limited to):

<img alt="billboard of girl running above American Apparel in downtown LA">
‍Photo by Scott Webb from Pexels

Awareness Advertising 

This method aims to introduce a new brand, or increase awareness around an existing brand. Awareness Advertising usually won't go into depth about product functions or features, but tends to be short, sweet, and sometimes funny. Often using tactics like Shock Advertising, the goal of this method is to be memorable and get people talking.

Lifestyle Advertising 

The goal of this method is to connect your product with a consumer lifestyle. Examples of targeted lifestyles may include parents, athletes, vegetarians/vegans, travelers and more. Often the key to this type of advertising is using a persona to display an Ideal prototype that customers aspire to mimic (also called aspirational marketing).

Quality Advertising 

By using statistics, science or research, this method builds up a brand through credibility. This may include using a recommendation from an industry leader or certified professional (kind of like a seal of approval).

Bandwagon Advertising 

The main intent of this method is to appeal to popular culture. With two ends of the spectrum, these ads may use testimonials from relatable or ideal customers to pressure similar customers to follow suit (think peer pressure). The other end of the spectrum uses Celebrity Cameos and endorsements to monopolize on dedicated fans, and leverage social influence.

Emotional Advertisin

Whether humour, tragedy, romance, or fear, this appeal seeks to evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Similar to Awareness Advertising, this method sets out to be memorable by associating strong emotional connections with a brand. Often to do this, these ads are quite graphic. Some types of products or services typically fall under certain appeals, most likely you've noticed the pattern too:

Some other frequently used Emotional Appeals: Adventure (Cars), Sensual (Victoria Secret), Rarity (Build-a-Bear, anything customizable).

The Most Popular Advertising Mediums include:


Newspapers, Magazines, Flyers


Transit, Billboards, Benches

Broadcast Media 

Radio, Television


Mail, Email, Telemarketing


Google Ads, Web Banners, Pop-Ups

Social Media 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Product Placemen

TV Shows, Movies, Music Videos

It's important to consider your medium and method to shape your message according to the demographic you intend to target. More important than choosing a method and medium is the harmony in which the two work together. Carefully finding the right combination and execution for your customers is the key to effective advertising.

Right Method + Right Medium = Right Message + Right Customer = Effective Advertising

Other Notable A-Words: AMBASSADOR

Shout out to Brand Ambassadors! These are the people at the front-lines of the company. They're trained to have in-depth knowledge of every product and service, while executing the right personality on behalf of the company. Often required to test company products themselves, they hold experiential knowledge and are able to connect with their customers as the ideal customer themselves. Brand Ambassadors are an important part in solidifying your brand culture and the lifestyle you want to communicate to your customers.


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