In its simplest form, advertising is making any brand, product or service visible to the consumers. What is the medium through which any brand reaches their potential consumers? To make the brand visible to the consumers, companies mostly use mass media such as print media, TV, radio, billboards or sometimes individual medium such as personal messages through email or other means.
Advertising of a brand is a dedicated effort which takes considerable time for any campaign to be effective. In our everyday lives, if a brand, product is visible to us through some medium, if we hear good reviews about the brand we tend to go for it. But it takes time for any brand, product or service to be known to a large group of individuals, to have big sales volume for huge profits. Advertising is aimed at letting the potential customers know about the brand, product and how it is better than the competitors’’ brand.
To make the advertising campaign most effective, corporations incorporate certain features, elements to work towards their goals. Most corporations devise a written advertising plan which includes the goals and the ways to measure results from the plan. The advertising plan may not always be a formal document unless it has to be presented to others; it should clearly define and address goals, budget, audience and what is expected from the advertising program.
An advertising plan along with an advertising strategy is what small corporations and their advertising agencies employ to develop, monitor and measure the effectiveness of a campaign. The advertising strategy chalks out the method in which advertising meets the objectives of the campaign, whereas the advertising plan formulates media tactics, creative tactics, budget, time frame and other elements of the strategy. The advertising strategy for a campaign has the broad overview and direction to move towards the goals of the campaign. For example, for some campaign the strategy recommendation may be aggressive brand building through high level of exposure, and position it as a high quality brand.
The next is to put advertising strategy in to practice which is done with an advertising plan. For example, to build awareness the plan may have a series of advertisements in newspapers, radio, TV for a certain period of time; but for brand position it may require a creative approach which could be suggestive of high quality to keep up with the lifestyle of the potential users.
Budget is a key element for advertising which decides the medium for advertising. To begin with advertising budget should be moderate; over-investing in advertising may not be prudent unless the returns are known. It is always better to invest a small amount in few types of advertising, to know which medium brings in additional business and customers. Advertising takes time to build, so it should be planned in such a way that it does not take up operating expenses.
Another key element of an advertising plan is media. The plan chalks out the various media, and the period of promotion of the campaign on each media. The details pertaining to the target audience, number of advertisements and the cost are all taken care in the advertising plan. The media element of an advertising plan is detailed to the extent, that it takes care size of press advertisements and running time of radio commercials. It also takes care of the frequency of the advertisements to appear and the duration of the entire campaign. Creative proposal is an important element of an advertising plan, which describes the important messages and techniques that each advertisement should carry to attract attention.
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