With a modern, media-driven society combined with multiple formats for mass communication, the influence of advertising is remarkably strong today. Brand names and the reverberations of successful advertising campaigns are a part of the collective awareness of every age, gender, and socio-economic group. Is there a way around this problem, or are the effects of product advertising and market branding inevitable in today’s world? One way to answer this question is to examine the purpose of advertising and the relevancy of in-depth consumer analysis.
The Basics of Product Advertising
Brightly colored magazine ads, incessant television commercials, brand name placement in movies, even advertisements on public buses — there is no question that product advertising is everywhere. What exactly is an ad? According to a study done at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, advertising is a promotional strategy designed to encourage purchase, and ideally re-purchase, through brand loyalty. Ads are meant to create an awareness of a product. They are also intended to “condition the mind of a potential consumer” to eventually decide to buy the marketed product. Successful advertising essentially enhances consumer response.
There are four basic elements of an advertisement:
- A medium of communication, such as a radio show or a blockbuster movie.
- Content — an image in the newspaper or a television commercial that depicts the desired message.
- A sponsor; someone wants to send the message, about their product, service, or ideals.
- The exchange of money. An ad costs money; the financial resources behind a successful advertising campaign, or even a handful of posters tacked onto telephone poles, are part of the existent ad.
There is a Purpose of Advertising
What is the purpose of all this effort for advertising? Why do business entities invest time, effort, and money into marketing and promotion? To survive. The purpose of a company is to make profits — enough to cover production costs, labor, taxes, and even advertising. If a business invested resources into producing a product or service, how would they know anyone would buy the fruits of their labor, or even know about them? They wouldn’t. This is the purpose of advertising; to connect consumers with businesses.
Successful Campaigns Are Founded Upon Consumer Analysis
When a company invests in advertising, they are entitled to a certain degree of security that profits will be made (assuming their product is relevant). Why is this? Do businesses just know from past experience, or from talking to competitors? No, it is because an effort is made to evaluate how consumers make purchases. A business may spend a huge amount of money on ads. Research is necessary to offer some guarantee that advertising money is well spent. This is called consumer analysis.
This research provides valuable information for companies to use for their advertising campaigns. It takes into account all aspects of society, from gender to social and psychological trends, to help create targeted ads. A company that does consumer analysis for other companies evaluates the purchase decision process. This includes evaluating how consumers become aware, what resources they use to learn about products, how do they asses value, what factors are important for actually making a purchase, and what are the feelings after purchase, satisfaction or anxiety?
How to Avoid the Influence of Advertising
Advertising is essential for businesses to not only thrive, but to exist. While a certain amount of online ads and television commercials are tolerable, saturation of media can become intolerable. Is it possible to avoid the influence of advertising? To circumvent the effects of ads, from subliminal suggestion to overbearing commercials, it is important to understand what the companies are trying to do.
Advertising is a form of communication, and a valuable one for people trying to satisfy a need. When a mind is in control of the information that it processes, rather than being heavily influenced by external messaging, the power of advertising is limited to conveying necessary information. Knowing that ads are created with the intention of conditioning the mind is important. This knowledge can prevent individuals from becoming overpowered or overwhelmed by ad content.
Instead of simply being aware of a product, be aware of the message. Analyze what the advertisement is trying to get across, instead of merely being analyzed. If advertising campaigns are part of life, learn to accept them for what they are, and let them go.