Hone Your Message

Honing your message is one of the hardest things to accomplish.  We are all geared to reading over the blubber in newsprint, junk mail, etc.  It’s generally not that big of a deal – it’s only a few seconds or a minute or two of our wasted time.  But with outdoor advertising where the LOOKer is traveling by at some rate of speed that can injure a stationary person, we really must focus on not damaging our message.

So what is your message?  We can’t tell you that, but can help.  We start many times asking a business what they sell the most of.  I’m surprised many times by the long pause while they think about it – 75% can’t really say.  We really should be able to spit that out in a few seconds and in doing so tells me they really know what they are making money doing.  Obvious you think, but it’s really not as easily done as suggested.  If you are having trouble with this first step, spend some more time on your marketing plan which should bring to focus some of these items.

Once we’ve determined what topic or product needs to be messaged, the next trick is boiling down to the essence whereby we love the mantra “if you can say it in 2 words, don’t use 3, literally”.  Sometimes it’s an evolution, especially for those relatively new to billboard advertising.  We are so accustomed to being able to hold paper in our hands and reading and re-reading that we lose focus on what the most simple way to get the message across, and it does take effort and experimentation.  Not everyone thinks the same way.  (This vagary of imagery created by different levels of vocabulary and literacy, is why a great picture is worth a thousand words and puts the campaign in a success mode from the start.)

We’re now honing even further by increasing the available space to punch up the most key words and reducing the phones and addresses.  Arbitron has brought to light that people don’t take time away from their steering wheels to write stuff down and have a hard time remembering the detail.  With current technology and especially in smaller towns, phones, webs and addresses, just aren’t as required as the value of the branding, and repeating it over and over and over.

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