It’s a conversation I’ve had time and time again.

JR-M: Does that advertising campaign work?

Marketing manager: It’s a little hard to say.

JR-M: How do you mean?

Marketing manager: Well, the phone doesn’t ring, but at least we’re getting our name out there.

There they are, those nine terrible words: but at least we’re getting our name out there.

Conventional advertising wisdom holds that there are two kinds of advertisements: direct response advertisements – which are designed to stimulate immediate sales; and brand advertisements – which are designed to build brand equity, and indirectly stimulate sales.

Those advertisements that simply get your name out there belong in a category all of their own.

They are not direct response advertisements, because people rarely respond to them. And they are not brand advertisements, because they, typically, do nothing to increase brand equity – and, accordingly, have no measurable impact on sales.

If we accept that the objective of advertising is to increase sales (either directly or indirectly) then advertisements that manage only to get your name out there are simply bad advertisements!

And a marketing manager who uses those nine terrible words is making either an excuse for an unsuccessful advertising campaign, or an admission that the campaign was run without an objective in the first place – hardly the mark of a good manager!

The promotion of your company name in and of itself is not branding But isn’t branding about getting my name out there?

I was hoping you’d ask!

Certainly, branding does involve getting your name out there, but the promotion of your company name in and of itself is not branding.

What’s important is not your company (or product) name, but the meaning that’s attached to this name. After all, without meaning, a name is just a word – an empty vessel!

‘Branding’ is the science of adding meaning to this empty vessel. A successful brand is a word (and its associated mark) that communicates a product’s ‘unique selling proposition’ to its intended audience.

Whatever your marketing method, my arguement is that it’s the responsibility of a good manager to ensure that all critical business functions are measurable. After all, as the popular saying goes, If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

If you regard advertising as a critical business function, my advice is simple: either figure out a way to manage it effectively, or don’t do it at all.

In my opinion, money spent just getting your name out there would be better spent improving some other critical business function.