Corporate identity advertising: mostly biased platitudes?

Beating your corporate identity drumI read a trade article yesterday about a company that was beginning, in their words, “a branding campaign” by sponsoring a supplement in a major newspaper.

It sounded a lot like a campaign type we used to call “Corporate identity advertising”. As an agency rep, we encouraged clients to do corporate identity campaigns. It was good for them and for the agency – we got to place these ads in Fortune, Forbes and Business Week, so we got agency recognition as well as pretty large commissions.

Today, I say every ad a client places is part of a branding campaign.

Also included in that campaign are the multiple touch point exposures prospects, customers, investors, distributors/retailers, employees and suppliers have with the brand. In fact, I’d call “doing business” the brand campaign.

Now I know the prestigious ad campaign written about yesterday is designed to convey the noble motives and activities of the company. It’s designed to warm your heart and have good feelings about the company.

All well and good.

But usually these types of ads are pretty self-serving. Quite often they are launched to correct a “misinterpretation “ of the company’s recent activity that was perceived to be detrimental to the corporate image. I’d say a majority of these types of ads are just not creditable. They fly in the face of reality.

My take is – right the wrong. Then, if it’s newsworthy, make sure the press knows about and let their reporters and editors do an impartial report.

Well, I may sound a little sanctimonious, but I believe actions speak louder that corporate image advertising.

Martin Jelsema

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