For more insights and opinions, visit Steve Bland's
on the advertising business and life.
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35 years into the ad business, here's what I know:
- I'm lucky to be living in the best time and place in human history.
- Advertising in its purest form connects buyers with sellers, and vice versa.
- Propaganda is as old as human speech — portraying a point-of-view and/or a solicitation.
- Good advertising, characteristically, is relatable and/or appealing. And, there's no substitute for good taste.
- Effective advertising helps seduce an audience toward an opinion or action, and helps drive business growth.
- Influencing or changing behavior is hard (but can be bought), influencing or changing attitude is really hard.
- If you enter the shopper mindset . . . it can be reduced down to handling and acting on an immediate need or identifying value or even
fulfilling a desire for status (or all of the above). Think Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs".
- Your target audience has never been more distracted in human history. Google launched around 1997. The ONLY medium that is largely unchanged
is outdoor (or "out of home"). In LA, how many freeway miles can you really drive without seeing billboards for plaintiff or personal injury lawyers?!
- Like 99% of business our there, the connected world of the internet (e.g. google search and social media) have transformed advertising by migrating significant advertiser client resources from "get attention" of and "build appeal" with a mass audience (or, what is now termed delivering "impressions") to soliciting a smaller, fragmented audience by tracking individual internet searching and connected media usage (viewing and listening) behaviors.
- It's been said before (by people like TBWA's Rob Schwartz) — the most "important real estate" is a share or a piece of a person's mind.
- Agree with the "Ad Contrarian", the legendary Bob Hoffman said something to the effect, "Advertising is really the only way to BUY fame."
- The idea of brand can go beyond convenience, selection and value — to the emotional, impulsive (Amazon is expert at tapping into this).
- Most important rule in business — never run out of money.
- We live in an imbalanced world where malcontents have a huge, instant voice and platform(s).
This is both an age of "personal but public outrage", "distraction", and of "surveillance".
- The business world has always been defined both by making order out of chaos and building trust.
- As in life, there's no place for greed and hubris in business. And, lying and laziness cannot be tolerated.
- We should aim to keep client success and satisfaction high by keeping the excesses in the name of "creativity" in check.
- I started and cultivated my career in the right place at the right time. I had the privilege of working at Advertising Age's
Agency of the Decade beginning in 1988 and learned from at the foot of the master impresario himself: Jay Chiat.