KISS Advertising

A common marketing flaw is the failure to understand the difference and relationship between branding and advertising. While both are key elements of marketing, and are delivered with the express purpose of increasing revenue, they do so in different ways, and each has the potential to make the other more or less effective.

A brand is a set of expectations, memories and stories, which account for a decision to choose one product over another.

Critically, it is not the image you project, it is the recollection your audience feeds back.

The familiarity or mental availability of any brand drives consideration, which in turn drives every other subsequent positive measure. Familiarity is achieved by the consistent and prominent use of distinctive brand assets: written, visual and audio brand cues which build memory structures through saliency and distinctiveness. These include the brand name, colours, logos, fonts, shapes, straplines, music, characters, etc.

It is the combination of mental and physical availability that determines the growth of any brand. Increasing both of these will grow both market penetration and loyalty, in what Professor Byron Sharp refers to as “the law of double jeopardy”.

Smaller share brands have fewer sales because they have fewer customers (the first jeopardy: penetration), who are slightly less loyal (the second jeopardy: frequency). Successful branding grows mental availability, which grows market penetration, which grows the brand. Simple.

Advertising supports branding through relevant messaging to your audience(s).

In today’s fragmented media channels, it’s important to develop consistent and distinctive brand messaging, to help create the memory structures that will place your brand front of mind at the critical decision time.

Advertising that has the power to engage emotionally on behalf of a brand has been proven to be much more effective than communication which follows a rational, persuasion strategy. We tend to make emotional choices, then post-rationalise our reasoning afterwards. How a brand makes us feel is consequently very important, from the tone of advertising messaging to the simplicity of UX on a brand’s website.

Brand storytelling is a key part of advertising as it is these narratives that help create the strongest memory structures. If the story can be enhanced into a positive physical brand experience then better still, because we are more likely to remember something we personally experience versus just being told. Successful advertising is distinctive and engages the audience emotionally. Combine this with distinctive branding and your brand will become memorable and grow. Simple.


KISS is the creative agency that clarifies the complex.