Contents

Brand Advertising: The Ultimate Guide [+ Examples]

Updated:
July 8, 2024
14 minutes

Gone are the days when only showing off your product features and chasing immediate sales can get you by. 

Today's markets are more competitive than ever, so it's natural that consumers demand more – they want brands that connect with them on a deeper, emotional level. In fact, 61%  say they prefer brands that resonate with their personal values. 

That's where brand advertising steps in – a strategy that’s all about establishing a brand’s identity and values, building long-term relationships, and fostering loyalty.

In this guide, we'll explore what makes brand advertising successful. From foundational concepts to advanced strategies, you'll learn:

  • What brand advertising is 
  • Goals of brand advertising
  • Key elements of brand ad campaigns
  • Multi-channel approach 
  • Advanced brand advertising strategies
  • How to create a brand ad campaign
  • How to measure campaign success
  • Who should invest in brand advertising

What Is Brand Advertising? 

Brand advertising is a marketing strategy focused on creating a long-term emotional connection between a brand and its audience. 

brand advertising definition

Unlike direct response or performance advertising, which focus on driving immediate actions like clicks or purchases, brand advertising aims to leave a lasting impression. The goal is to boost brand awareness, loyalty, and trust.

Effective brand advertising relies on storytelling, emotional appeal, and consistency across various touchpoints. It’s about making your brand memorable and relatable, so that over time, consumers think of your brand first when they need a product or service in your category.

Direct response advertising, on the other hand, targets specific, measurable actions from the audience, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or clicking a link. Immediate metrics like click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI) gauge its success.

brand advertising vs direct response

Goals of Brand Advertising 

To Get Exposure 

Brand advertising significantly increases brand visibility, helping to reach a wider audience. With consistent advertising efforts, a brand can ensure it remains top-of-mind for consumers. 

More so, high exposure not only attracts new customers but leads to higher brand recall – increasing the brand's presence among existing customers. 

Example: Coca-Cola’s pervasive advertising on TV commercials, social media campaigns, out-of-home, product placement in movies and other channels makes it globally recognized and even synonymous with soda. 

To Be Influential

Effective brand advertising shapes consumer perceptions and influences their purchasing decisions. By consistently conveying the brand's values, personality, and benefits, advertising helps to establish a brand as an authority in its industry. 

Example: Apple's advertising emphasizes innovation and quality, positioning it as a leader in the tech industry and a status symbol. This influence drives consumer preference and loyalty over competitors.

To Engage Consumers More 

Brand advertising fosters engagement by creating opportunities for interaction between the brand and its audience. Through interactive campaigns, brands can drive consumers to take specific actions, participate in events, or engage in conversations. 

Example: Spotify's "Wrapped" campaign encourages users to share their personalized year-in-review playlists on social media. Each year, this engages existing users and attracts new users through the viral spread of user-generated content, significantly boosting brand engagement and visibility.

To Build Long-Term Brand Equity

Investing in brand advertising helps build long-term brand equity – the value derived from consumer perceptions and experiences with the brand. Strong brand equity leads to higher customer loyalty, the ability to charge premium prices, and resilience against market fluctuations. 

Example: Every time Apple launches a new product, hundreds of people queue in front of stores worldwide – a sign of strong brand loyalty. This perfectly illustrates how brand equity allows Apple to maintain customer preference regardless of price or competitors' offers.

brand advertising benefits

Key Elements of Effective Brand Ads 

Emotional Appeal 

First, it’s emotions. Brand ads that tap into joy, nostalgia, or empathy tend to be more memorable and impactful:

  • 71% of consumers recommend a brand based on emotional connection. 
  • Emotional marketing campaigns’ success rate is 31%.
  • Ad copy with purely emotional content is twice as successful compared to rational content.  

Source: Martech Series, Neuroscience Marketing, Nielsen

emotional appeal statistics

Storytelling 

Together with emotions, there has to come a compelling narrative. By telling a story, brands can engage viewers on a deeper level and feel relatable, which naturally creates a stronger connection. 

Nike’s "Dream Crazy" campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick is a powerful example of storytelling in advertising. The campaign tells a compelling story of perseverance, sacrifice, and standing up for what you believe in. 

It won the Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category at Cannes, earned media worth $163 million, and added $6 billion to Nike’s brand value. 

nike dream crazy ad

Nike has been consistently aligning its brand with these powerful narratives and social issues, this way engaging the audience and positioning itself as a brand with strong values. 

Audience-Centric Approach 

Knowing your audience and tailoring your message to their needs and preferences is crucial – that goes for all you do in marketing. Effective brand ads are backed by thorough research into the target audience’s demographics, interests, and behaviors. 

Dove’s "Real Beauty" campaign targets one of the biggest insecurities in women – body image. The campaign promotes body positivity and self-acceptance, resonating strongly with women of all ages who are the primary target audience. 

In the first ten years of the campaign, Dove bars became the number one preferred soap brand in the US and sales increased from $2.5 billion to $4 billion. 

dove real beauty ad

Visuals

Strong visual elements can capture attention quickly and enhance brand recognition. In fact, visual content increases conversion rates by an average of 86%

Consistent use of colors, typography, and imagery that reflect the brand’s identity is key.

Old Spice’s "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign used bold and humorous visuals to create a memorable and engaging ad that captured widespread attention and revitalized the brand.

It won multiple awards, including Cannes Grand Prix, and was able to increase the impact on the bottom funnel, too – boosting sales by up to 60%

old spice smell like a man ad

Consistency

Maintaining consistency in messaging and visual identity across all advertising platforms makes it easy to recognize and trust the brand. This involves using the same logos, colors, taglines, and tone of voice in all communications. 

To ensure this, creating a brand book, establishing brand guidelines, and maintaining a consistent brand voice are essential.

McDonald’s achieves consistency with its golden arches, red and yellow color scheme, and the "I’m Lovin’ It" slogan, which are used across all its ad campaigns globally.

mcdonalds brand ad

Food for thought: Statistics show that while 85% of companies have brand guidelines, only 30% consistently align with them in their communications. Hence, potentially hindering their brand advertising efforts.

Multi-Channel Approach Is the Way to Go 

Once you have these brand ad elements in place, it’s time to ensure your brand message reaches your audience through multiple touchpoints. Inevitably, if the goal of a brand is to make the audience feel they see it everywhere, the brand has to go… everywhere. Well, almost. 

A consumer might first encounter your brand through a TV commercial, then see an ad on social media, hear a radio spot, and finally see user-generated content about your brand online. Each of these touchpoints reinforces your brand message and keeps it top-of-mind.

The numbers are significant, too: businesses using two or more channels for a campaign experienced 166% higher engagement rates

multi-channel approach engagement rates

Coca-Cola's "Open That Coca-Cola" campaign is a prime example of a successful multi-channel approach. Launched in 2021, the campaign aimed to express the indescribable experience of drinking a Coke. 

It was spread through TV commercials, online videos, radio ads, interactive out-of-home advertising, shopper activations, PR efforts, and digital and social media strategies.

Featuring a new track by Tyler, The Creator, the campaign invited fans to recreate a dance and share their own Coca-Cola experiences on social media, creating a unified brand presence across multiple channels.

Advanced Strategies for Brand Advertising 

Competitive Analysis

In brand advertising, understanding your competitors helps you position your brand more effectively in the market. The competitive analysis involves researching and analyzing your competitors' advertising tactics, strengths, and weaknesses.

  • Identify key competitors: Include both direct and indirect competitors who target your audience.
  • Analyze brand messaging: Study their brand messaging, visual identity, and engagement tactics. What brand values are they promoting?
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis: Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in their brand strategy. Capitalize on their weaknesses and emulate their strengths where applicable.
  • Use advanced tools: Tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and SpyFu can provide insights into competitors’ brand advertising efforts, including their ad placements and performance metrics.

Innovative Campaigns 

Innovative brand advertising captures attention and differentiates your brand. 

  • Encourage creative brainstorming: Assemble diverse teams to generate unique brand campaign ideas. Foster a culture of creativity.
  • Adopt cutting-edge technology: Use AR, VR, and interactive content to create immersive brand experiences. For example, L’Oreal’s “Virtual Makeup” campaign uses AR to offer users a virtual try-on experience. The app uses advanced facial recognition technology to ensure the makeup is accurately applied to their facial features so users can experiment with various products and shades before making a purchase.
loreal virtual makeup

Nike's "Reactland" campaign promoted the new Nike Epic React running shoes by highlighting their lightweight and responsive cushioning. 

Participants entered a virtual world via a VR game, running on a treadmill with their movements mirrored in a VR environment. This immersive experience allowed them to experience the benefits of the shoes in a fun and engaging way.

nike reactland
  • Pilot new concepts: Test innovative brand ideas on a small scale to gauge audience response before full implementation.
  • Learn from success stories: Burger King’s “Whopper Detour” used geofencing to draw customers from McDonald's. Customers who downloaded the Burger King app and went near a McDonald's received a coupon for a 1-cent Whopper. This clever use of technology drove 1.5 million app downloads and became the #1 downloaded app in the App Store

Ad Intelligence Tools 

Ad intelligence tools are essential for gaining insights into your brand advertising performance and competitors’ strategies.

  • Select the right tools: Tools like Adbeat, WhatRunsWhere, and Pathmatics offer detailed insights into brand ad placements and performance.
  • Track brand strategies: Monitor where and how competitors are placing their brand ads, and the creative strategies they are using.
  • Optimize brand campaigns: Use insights to refine your brand ad creatives, placements, and targeting strategies for better performance.

Predictive Analytics 

Predictive analytics uses historical data and machine learning to forecast future trends and consumer behavior. This can give you a strategic advantage in brand advertising efforts. 

  • Aggregate historical data: Collect data from past brand campaigns, including consumer behavior and performance metrics.
  • Use predictive tools: Use tools like Google Analytics, IBM Watson, and SAS to identify patterns and trends in your brand data.
  • Forecast and plan: Develop predictive models to anticipate future brand market trends and consumer behaviors.
  • Implement insights: Apply these predictions to refine your brand advertising strategies, from targeting to messaging.

Real-Time Data 

Real-time data allows for immediate adjustments to your brand advertising campaigns – so you can enhance their effectiveness and responsiveness continuously. It’s crucial for building a strong, long-term brand and deeply engaging your audience. 

  • Implement real-time tracking: Use tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, and real-time dashboards provided by ad platforms to monitor brand ad performance.
  • Monitor brand metrics: Track KPIs such as brand engagement, brand sentiment, and share of voice in real time to identify trends and patterns that inform long-term brand development. 
  • Adjust in real time: Make data-driven adjustments to your brand campaigns based on real-time data, such as tweaking ad copy or adjusting targeting.
  • Conduct A/B testing: Use A/B tests to compare different versions of your brand ads and optimize based on immediate feedback. The insights gained will help refine your brand messaging and strategy for sustained brand growth.

How to Create a Successful Brand Ad Campaign 

Creating a successful brand ad campaign involves strategic planning, creative ideation, and meticulous execution. 

1. Define Your Brand Objectives

Start with clear goals. What do you want to achieve with your campaign? An example could be increasing brand awareness.

How will you know if that happened? Set measurable targets, like doubling brand mentions on social media or a 30% increase in brand sentiment within a year. 

2. Understand Your Audience 

Go beyond basic demographics. Understand your audience’s aspirations, values, and cultural context. What do they care about deeply?

You can use focus groups, ethnographic studies, and social listening tools to gather deep insights. Then, go even further with detailed personas that encapsulate your audience’s lifestyle, aspirations, and cultural influences.

For example, "Sarah, the 30-year-old eco-conscious shopper," who values sustainability, shops locally, and is vocal about sustainability-related issues on Instagram and X. 

3. Craft a Compelling Narrative

Your brand message should be clear, compelling, and consistent. It should reflect your brand’s core values and vision, and evoke emotional response. 

Clearly articulate what sets your brand apart in a way that resonates on an emotional level. For example, “Our shoes are part of your journey – designed to inspire and empower you every day.”

Then, create a narrative around it. Instead of showing off features, show relatable experiences of relatable characters and their emotions. It can be brave moments, childhood experiences, first steps, and more. 

4. Choose Impactful Channels

Select platforms that amplify your narrative and reach your audience effectively. Focus on channels where you can create a significant impact.

Use tools like Brandwatch and Socialbakers to understand where your audience engages deeply. 

Remember, an omnichannel approach will make sure your brand campaign is seen and memorized even more. For example, use Instagram for visual storytelling, YouTube for in-depth video content, and Twitter for real-time engagement.

5. Create Groundbreaking Content

Your content should be innovative, memorable, and capable of creating a buzz. Focus on high-quality, engaging content that tells your brand’s story.

Collaborate with top-tier creatives, directors, and influencers to produce high-impact content. You’ll want to mix videos, interactive experiences, and even live events to create a multifaceted campaign.

Refer back to the key elements of brand ad campaigns to make sure they’re included. 

6. Set a Budget and Timeline

Allocate a budget that allows for creative experimentation and high-quality production. Establish a timeline that includes phases for ideation, testing, and full-scale rollout.

Remember, building and nurturing a strong brand through advertising is a long-term investment that can take years or even decades. 

Ensure your budget allows for high production values so you don’t need to rethink and make something “less” or “cheaper” down the line. 

When planning a timeline, include ideation, pilot testing, and full campaign launch phases. Recognize that developing a successful brand campaign is part of a larger, continuous effort to grow and sustain your brand's presence in the market.

7. Launch, Monitor, and Optimize in Real-Time 

Execute your campaign across chosen channels, monitor its performance closely, and be ready to make adjustments in real time. 

Make data-driven adjustments to enhance impact, such as tweaking messages or reallocating budget to higher-performing channels. The adjustments you make now will optimize current campaigns and lay the groundwork for future efforts.

8. Evaluate, Reflect, and Iterate

After the campaign, evaluate its success comprehensively. Reflect on key learnings and apply them to future campaigns.

Look at qualitative and quantitative data to assess impact. Identify what drove success and what didn’t to refine future campaigns. 

As we learned, brand advertising focuses on long-term value, so the results might not show immediately. You’ll need to be patient. 

steps for creating a successful brand ad campaign

How to Measure the Success of Brand Advertising

Brand Awareness

  • Reach: The total number of people who have seen your ad. Tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can track this metric.
  • Impressions: The number of times your ad is displayed. High impressions indicate good visibility.
  • Brand recall: Surveys and brand tracking studies can measure how well your audience remembers your brand after seeing your ads.

Engagement

  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who clicked on your ad after seeing it. This metric helps assess the effectiveness of your ad’s call-to-action.
  • Social media engagement: Likes, shares, comments, and other interactions on social media platforms. Tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social provide detailed engagement analytics.

Brand Perception

  • Sentiment analysis: Measures the tone of conversations about your brand on social media and other platforms. Tools like Brandwatch and Mention can help analyze brand sentiment.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): A survey metric that gauges customer loyalty by asking how likely they are to recommend your brand to others.

Conversion Metrics

  • Conversion rate: The percentage of users who take a desired action after clicking on your ad, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.
  • Return on investment (ROI): Measures the profitability of your advertising campaigns by comparing the revenue generated to the cost of the campaign.

Long-term Metrics

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The total revenue a business can expect from a single customer account over time.
  • Brand loyalty: Repeat purchase rates and customer retention rates. Tools like Salesforce and HubSpot can track these.

Read more: We’ve covered the categories of brand metrics in detail in our Brand Metrics Guide

Who Should Invest in Brand Advertising? 

Short answer – everyone. And it gets even more important over time. 

As a company scales, the brand goes far beyond visual identity – it’s about building and maintaining a strong reputation in the market. Brand advertising helps achieve this, evolving your brand from basic recognition to becoming a trusted name in consumers’ eyes. 

The more valuable the company, the more valuable the brand as an asset. This creates a synergy where growing brand value directly impacts the overall market value. 

Let’s look at some specific sectors and reasons why they should put brand advertising as their strategic priority: 

Small Businesses

Brand advertising can be a game-changer for small businesses trying to establish a presence in the market and differentiate them from competitors. 

For example, Verve Coffee Roasters, a coffee roaster in Santa Cruz, California, used brand advertising to highlight its direct relationships and support for coffee farmers.

By showcasing these values through social media and local events, Verve stood out against larger chains and built a loyal customer base – becoming a go-to for Silicon Valley tech giants. 

Enterprises

Even though a company is “established” already, constantly reinforcing market position is crucial – especially if competitors are heavily investing in brand advertising and you don’t want to be left behind.

Think how McDonald’s and Burger King, two fast food giants, are always competing with each other through clever, engaging brand advertising campaigns. They maintain a playful, entertaining rivalry, keeping their brands top-of-mind for consumers.

burger kind secret whopper ad

Niche Markets

Brand advertising benefits businesses operating in niche markets by helping them connect with a specific, targeted audience. 

For instance, a company specializing in vegan skincare products can use brand advertising to highlight its commitment to cruelty-free and eco-friendly practices, resonating deeply with its target audience.

Non-Profits

Non-profit organizations use brand advertising to raise awareness, attract donations, and engage supporters. Effective brand advertising can communicate the organization’s mission and values, fostering a connection with potential volunteers. 

One of the most viewed video ads across YouTube is Love Has No Labels by Diversity & Inclusion. Using an X-ray screen setup, the ad initially depicts people as skeletal figures engaging in various acts of affection, showing that true love transcends societal labels.

E-Commerce

In the highly competitive online marketplace, e-commerce businesses must implement and leverage the differences between two approaches – performance marketing and brand advertising.

While performance marketing targets specific customer segments with personalized offers, generating quick sales and measurable ROI, brand advertising helps these businesses create a distinctive online presence, attract and retain customers, and build long-term loyalty. 

Zalando, a leading online fashion retailer, has effectively leveraged this dual approach. They use performance marketing to run personalized ads and offers, while their brand advertising campaigns promote inclusivity and diversity, featuring models of various sizes, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

By aligning their brand with values of inclusivity and authenticity, Zalando attracts a wider audience and builds a loyal customer base that feels represented and valued.

zalando diversity brand ad

Brand Advertising with Eskimi  

At Eskimi, we're here to drive impactful brand advertising campaigns that resonate with your audience and elevate your brand presence. 

Here’s how we can help:

1. Creative solutions: First, we sit down with you to understand your goals. Then, we help bring your vision to life with custom rich media that grabs attention and engages your audience.

2. Multi-channel approach: We run your campaign across multiple channels and formats so your message is seen, captures attention, and is remembered – enhancing visibility and reinforcing your brand’s presence. 

3. Optimization and real-time adjustments: We continuously monitor and optimize your campaign, making real-time tweaks to keep things running effectively. Our data-driven approach ensures your campaign delivers the best possible results.

4. Measuring impact with brand lift studies: For campaigns with a budget over $10K, we take it further with brand lift studies post-campaign. These studies show how well your campaign improved brand awareness and perception. 

Eskimi helps you do more than launch a campaign – we help you build a lasting brand impact. Ready to take the first step?

Philip is the CMO of Eskimi. When he’s not busy growing the Eskimi brand, he spends his time with family and playing ping pong.
Philip is the CMO of Eskimi. When he’s not busy growing the Eskimi brand, he spends his time with family and playing ping pong.
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