The Billboard Effect In Basic Branding
Whether on your daily commute, in a taxi headed to the airport, or on a summer road trip, you’ve seen plenty of billboard advertisements. You may be thinking of your favorites right now. Yet, even if you are on that leisurely road trip, how long do you have to view those billboards while traveling by? Seconds? A fraction of a second? Less? If you are a commuter, you may have already learned how to tune them out as you whiz by at seventy miles per hour. How likely are you to read several lines of content in order to get the message the billboard is attempting to send you? Not likely at all. Putting aside the obvious danger, we lead busy lives. We are inundated with information daily. Why would any of us sacrifice our tight schedule and precious mental focus to take in just one more uninvited marketing message?
Now isn’t the message the whole point? Of course! Why else would a company spend $5,000 to $300,000 on a billboard than to send a clear message to you, their market. They are expecting a good return on that investment. If you don’t get the message they are trying to send to you, they have not succeeded. Worse, they may have lost the opportunity of your business.
Now, how does that apply to you? If you are researching how best to brand your start-up or, perhaps, update your existing brand, you must grasp the importance of capturing the attention of your market and engage them in the fraction of a second it would take to drive by a billboard at seventy miles per hour. If your brand fails to do that, you may lose the opportunity of your market’s business. What a loss that would be! Like the wordy billboard you ignored this morning on your commute, an unclear and/or unattractive brand can easily get passed by.
I learned this lesson again myself recently. I had been passing by this little Mexican restaurant for years believing it to be a dive. Why would I think such a thing? The brand. The lack of a professional logo, the look of the sign, and the appearance of the building sent the message to me that it was not worth my time and attention. I figured it was on the same level as an average Americanized taco chain. One day, one of my Mexican friends suggested we go there. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘I may as well go and enjoy the company.’ It was fantastic! Real Mexican cuisine. I had been missing that real homemade Mexican flavor since moving from Chicago. I couldn’t have been more excited. Just think, if their brand had engaged me, I would have been feasting at their restaurant for the preceding seven years.
I’m guessing if you are reading this article you are investigating the value of a quality brand. I’m sure it is also safe to assume you have a product or service that is truly worth gold. You have the chance to communicate the value of your business to your market in a glance – a fraction of a second or less. If a picture is worth a thousand words, paint an accurate picture of who you are and why your business is worth real attention.