If your brand offers something unique (or very bizarre) this blog may not apply to you. For everyone else, the chances are you don’t have advertising standout.

Almost every brand operates in an industry alongside competitors and alternative options for your customers. Assuming your company advertises, you’ll be targeting the same customers as your competitors and may well be offering a comparable product at a comparable price. So how do you achieve advertising standout, and get a better ROI than your competitors?

I’ll give you a clue, the answer is not to blend in.

Unless you’re John Lewis and it is Christmas, people aren’t waiting on the edge of their seats to find out what your next campaign will be. Your advertising is likely to appear alongside messages from competitors, messages from companies in unrelated industries and as an interruption to the content you’re advertising in. Your advertising needs to be conceived and developed with that in mind.

Whether your brand is conservative and well-mannered, or brash and bold, its advertising won’t do anything for you if people don’t notice it and pay attention to it.

A brand that does this well is Booking.com. As a travel booking website, they let you make exactly the same transport and accommodation arrangements as their competitors, and their website doesn’t offer any killer feature that puts it ahead of the game in terms of user experience. The challenge for their advertising is therefore to make them top-of-mind when people are thinking of which website to use.

You can see their ad here.

Their advertising does this admirably, standing out not just against their competitors, but against all other advertising it sits alongside. The tone of voice is perfect – humorous enough to get (and keep) your attention, but not so ‘wacky’ that it causes you to question their credibility. Their campaigns are based on genuine insights, such as the feeling on entering your hotel room for the first time and feeling you’ve made a great decision, or the possible life-path picking the right accommodation might open up for you. Finally (and most controversially), they used their name in a cheeky way as a substitute for an expletive, making it the second most complained about ad of all time yet was cleared by the ASA.

Was it ignored? Definitely not.

The lesson to take from this is that advertising standout just isn’t enough – all advertising tries to do that and you run the risk of being just one voice in a chorus of shouting. Your advertising needs to stick out. If your customer hears 5 radio ads surrounding yours, what are you going to do to make sure yours is the one they remember? If your advert sits amongst the editorial and images in press, how are you going to make sure you’re the content that sticks in their mind after they’ve turned a page (and another page)?

The single most important point to bear in mind, is that advertising exists to get people to change their behaviour. Nothing is easier for them than to continue to do what they’ve always done. Your advert needs to break them out of their habits – to tell them something they didn’t know and to get them to do business with you. The only way to get them to do this is to grab them and tell them your information, and you definitely can’t do it if you don’t stick out.

The Market Creative understands advertising standout and would love to help you make your brand stick out.

James Kay

Account Manager