Both the Studio 22 office and my home are in a small rural town in the hills of Central Maryland. Aside from our news channels, you’d never guess that we’re only an hour north of DC, and an hour west of Baltimore. Things move at a slower pace here – and that’s just how we like it.
One recent day while running errands, I passed a sign near the road. It was a small, hand written one on a stick that read: DOG FOUND. It had an arrow on it, pointing down a side road to a single house.
All the way back to the office, I smiled, reveling in the powerful simplicity of the communication. As a “professional communicator” my first reaction was: YEAH, AND? So often, we (and our clients) feel the need to include ever more details in advertisements or marketing pieces, fearing that the audience will lose interest or fail to get the facts. In reality, too many details can muddle the point and stifle the call to action. (You’ve heard us creative-types talk about needing more white space? This is really what we mean.)
So after I got over my initial reaction of wanting more details, I realized there were several reasons why this simple sign was an effective piece of advertising:
- It identified the target audience: 1 dog = 1 owner. The sign-maker knew that they didn’t have to provide more details about the found dog. The owner missing his dog would know where to go.
- Well-crafted visuals: The dog finders knew that people would be passing by this sign at 30 mph – not enough time to read and absorb more than a few words. They used their allotted space (8.5 x 11″) as effectively as possible with bold, black, capital letters.
- Strong call to action: The call to action on this piece was actually a symbol – the arrow pointing down the side road. (Side note: Symbols are powerful communication tools! Think hieroglyphics, road signs and…LOGOS.) The creator saved valuable real estate on the sign by using a single mark that says: THIS WAY, LONELY DOG OWNER. YOU CAN CLAIM YOUR PUP AT THE ONLY HOUSE ON THIS ROAD.
Next time you’re crafting a new communications piece for your brand, try applying the DOG FOUND tactic. It’s not necessary to give all of the information, all at once. The idea is to engage your target audience so that they want to seek out more details from you and learn about your brand. Be strategic as you begin building a relationship with them.