Advertising is an exchange. Let’s not fool ourselves. People don’t line up to hear about products and services. People line up to get something of value. In advertising, we offer what they want most. We give them entertainment, aesthetics or a gift in exchange for their attention or consideration.
The best ads give the audience a gift. In a thirty-second commercial, we give the audience twenty-seconds of entertainment in exchange for ten-seconds of their attention. This is a common formula for effective commercials. But, can we get greater results by giving even greater value?
When brands contribute value to the human condition, they are beloved. The highest form of exchange happens when your brand experience actually makes the world a better place. Think about brands that make you smile. Visualize the brands that stand for your family, your values or the healthy lifestyle you want to live. These are the brands that earn emotional connections. These are the brands that dominate in market share and sales.
After all, brands are people too. Communication in business is just like it is with interpersonal relationships. People are never received well when they only talk about themselves and use people for a sale. Psychologists and marriage counselors have created an “emotional bank” analogy to understand this phenomenon of human exchanges. We can only make healthy withdrawals from people after we have made “emotional bank deposits.”
It’s truly better to give than it is to receive. Let’s start depositing into our customers for our advertising messages. Rather than first thinking about how we can extract value from our customers, let’s look for new ways to add value. It might sound counterintuitive, but it works. When we give real value to the customer first, they will promote us much better than we can promote ourselves.