We asked Leo Burnett’s Norm Muse how he turned Marlboro from a woman’s cigarette into the world’s leading cigarette brand and he responded, “A great ad campaign.”
Great advertising is about the reader, not the advertiser. It tells a compelling story. It draws in the readers with real human emotion and makes them feel that your company understands them and can be trusted. And it does it immediately, with vivid words and pictures. And it works for any type of product or service, from baseball to bankers, from Las Vegas to lawyers.
Done well, advertising can be one of a law firm’s most potent weapons, distilling its entire complex message into a single image and a few words. The entire ad can be understood at a glance, and remembered all day or all year. It can make you famous, drive traffic to a website, or generate a call.
If it truly stands out, everyone skimming a particular publication will see it and immediately want to learn more about the advertising organization. And if it’s sufficiently differentiating and impactful, it can drive traffic, drive revenue, and create market leadership that lasts. That’s what it should do, not what it usually does. But that’s a failing of the advertisement, not the medium.
Does advertising work? Yes, but only when it’s great.
Not “good.” Not “very good.” But absolutely jump-off-the-page, grab-you-by-the-throat “GREAT.” Most advertising, law firm and otherwise, isn’t great. Most isn’t even “good.” — either because the agency (1) wasn’t good enough, or (2) couldn’t keep the marketing committee’s red pens from editing the effectiveness out of it. So, if you’re not ready to be great, save your money, don’t advertise, and spend your money on something that could work.
Look through our samples. There are dozens of examples of firms where we’ve advertised the firm into market dominance quickly, because with a great ad and well-read publication you can guarantee that people see your message. But only where firms are willing and able to let it do its job.
And today, “advertising” doesn’t have to mean “print ads in a glossy publication.” Advertising is just a tool, there are a wide range of media, new and old, in which to place it. It can be in print or a billboard, an animated online banner ad or pay-per-click link following a Google search. It can run on NYT.com or Facebook.
The right answer is – there is no single right answer. It all depends upon your strategy. Call us, we’ll help you figure it out.