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In Advertising, Consistency Pays Off

In Advertising, Consistency Pays Off

By Steve McKee | BusinessWeek

The same thing is true with products and services we see advertised day after day. The more visible a brand is, the more opportunities it earns to build trust with its customers and prospects.

Consider some of today’s most successful products and services. Without each of us personally spending a great deal of time and effort researching, testing and comparing competitive alternatives, we don’t really know whether Nike (NKE) makes a better shoe, Michelin (MICP.PA) manufactures a better tire, or Verizon(VZ) has created a better network. Instead, we entrust at least some of our judgment to the momentum these brands appear to have in the marketplace.

In some respects it doesn’t even matter what their ads say; the simple fact that each of these brands is actively and consistently “in the game” speaks volumes—especially in challenging economic times—and generates genuine momentum for their brands.

The Wisdom of Crowds

In his book, The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki makes the case that “together all of us know more than any one of us does.” He says, “Markets are made up of diverse people with different levels of information and intelligence, and yet when you put all those people together and they start buying and selling, they come up with generally intelligent decisions.”

In the world of advertising, consistency is like a scorecard on the wisdom of crowds. People know that advertising is expensive, so the more a company advertises, the more successful it must be. And the more successful it is, the more it means that other people are choosing it. Which means that it may be a good idea for you and I to choose it as well.

Your brand can benefit from this power of positive momentum. Through your initial advertising efforts, people will learn that that you exist. With repeated exposure, they’ll learn that you’re stable. With even more repeated exposure, they’ll assume you’re successful—after all, based on your ability to sustain a long-term advertising program, you’d have to be.

The specific content of your ads is, of course, of vital importance as well—Beschloss and Goodwin wouldn’t last long if they were misleading, annoying, or ignorant. But what’s true of your career, of sports, and of life in general is also true of advertising: never underestimate the power of simply showing up.

Steve McKee is president of McKee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising, a firm that specializes in helping stalled companies rekindle growth. He is the author of the new book, When Growth Stalls.

©2009 Yellowbrix, Inc.