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In Advertising, Consistency Pays Off

In Advertising, Consistency Pays Off

By Steve McKee | BusinessWeek

Your ability to sustain a long-term advertising program shows customers that you’re a successful, reliable brand

I recently purchased a new digital TV. Normally, Circuit City (CC) would have been on my list as one store in which to shop, but the struggles the company was facing (followed by its decision to declare bankruptcy) made me nervous.

I was sure I could somehow get my TV serviced under the manufacturer’s warranty if something were to go wrong, but I figured it would be more of a hassle if the retailer from whom I purchased the TV wasn’t there to back me up. So I went elsewhere.

This principle, which I call “the fear of warranty,” is one of the reasons why GM (GM) is doing everything it can to avoid the bankruptcy process. People tend to feel less comfortable doing business with companies they perceive are on the ropes.

But I submit that the principle holds true at the other end of the spectrum as well. Brands that are setting the world on fire make people feel more confident about (and perhaps even more intelligent for) doing business with them. And one very visible signal a brand can send about its momentum is how consistently it advertises.

Riding the Victory Train

You probably have at least a vague familiarity with the names Michael Beschloss and Doris Kearns Goodwin. They’re the Presidential historians who always seem to be called upon by the television networks to provide expert commentary during campaign seasons. They really seem to know their stuff.

Of course, you and I can’t say with certainty whether or not they are the most qualified historians to comment on Presidential elections. Oh, sure, they are intelligent, studied academics who provide interesting insights. But there are probably many other capable people who could do the same.

What makes us believe that Beschloss and Goodwin are the leading experts is the fact that they are visibly and consistently out there, presumably because they’ve been vetted by people who should know. The fact that we see them on TV all the time is, in and of itself, proof of their leading expertise. Simply put, their visibility leads to credibility.