Advertising for Small Business Pt2: Making Leads

Types of Lead Advertisements

As a lead does not mention a product, it can be difficult at times to utilise it in isolation. Used in conjunction with an offer (often in the same advertisement), the lead advertisement can be a powerful tool in business. Though there are many types of leads, all with their own uses, we’re going to focus on three.

Associative Leads

The most common, and sometimes most effective lead is the associative lead advertisement. The associative lead is an advertisement that mentions another brand, an object, place etc. They often utilise buzzwords, and can be seen by the audience hundreds of times before they have an impact.  The associative lead is simply an advertisement that associates your brand with something else’s brand. This can be another company, a place, a person, or anything that has some way of conjuring up an image in the mind of the audience. The best brands in the world utilise associative leads to engage with their audience, making them more susceptible to offers. As this type of lead has positive connotations, it is the most commonly used type of advertisement.

Dissociative Leads

Where an associative lead seeks to build a brand up by association, the dissociative lead tries to do the opposite. In context, the dissociative lead looks similar to an associative lead, but it is often used to set a product apart from the competition. Often, a dissociative lead will focus on a trait of a competitor and say “we’re not like this”. As the dissociative lead has negative connotations, it is more risky than an associative lead. The dissociative lead can often be powerful enough to be used in isolation with an advertising campaign.

Straight Leads

Where an associative lead and dissociative lead bare mention to other brands, the straight lead solely focuses on the advertised brand. The straight lead is an advertisement that states a claim for a particular brand, and then backs it up with evidence. Straight leads will have information about “9 out of 10 nutritionists” and “dentist’s recommendations”, but often do not mention a specific product. The straight lead is designed to present facts about a brand, generally without seeming like they are trying hard to sell anything. Due to the specific nature of making a good straight lead, they are generally only utilised by companies with the data to back it up.

How you can use Leads to advertise your business

While we have talked about what types of advertisements there are, we have not given mention to what they look like in a small business. Where a large company can use lots of billboards to get their point across, small businesses generally have to use scaled down options like posters. While the medium (television, billboards etc) generally does not matter, the content is what will bring customers in.

As a general rule of thumb, leads work best when there is competition in the market. The three leads exist depending on whether a competitor has already utilised a lead. If you can execute the counter initiative, it may give you a competitive advantage. An associative lead can counter a dissociative lead well, due to the positive connotations from association. A dissociative lead counters a straight lead well due to the differentiation for the brand from the facts presented in the straight lead. The straight lead does ell against the associative lead as the straight lead can take the emotion out of the audience’s buying power, so they choose based on fact.

Of course, find what works for you. This is by no means of an exhaustive list, but we hope it helps!

Written by David Jackson, Founder and CEO of FundX