When you’re building a home, one of the materials you can choose from is bricks and mortar. These are durable and structurally sound, making your house resilient against squalls, blizzards, and high winds. In the marketing world, bricks and mortar is a metaphor for building a strong brand through concise points or stories and consistency in advertising.
This approach is geared around radio advertising, but the concept can – and should – be utilized regardless of the medium your business is using.
Mortar = Consistency
When building a house, you need mortar to hold the bricks together. The same holds true for advertising. Your mortar is common elements you need to include in every single ad to bind it all together into a campaign. Using the same consistent voice and consistent music bed (or jingle) plus a strategy message composed of strategically chosen words, will make your brand hard to forget.
In practice, your mortar statement is made up of the words that set your business apart from everyone else. It’s the reason why someone should do business with you instead of the competition. It’s your differentiating idea presented in a creative, memorable, and non-cliché manner.
A strategy-based message can be a few words to a few sentences. As long as it needs to be to get the point across, but not a word longer. When crafting this, stick with the KISS principle: Keep It Short and Simple. The simpler the better, and the simpler your message is, the easier it’ll be to remember.
Bricks = Dramatizing a Single Idea
If mortar is what holds your brand together, then the bricks are the building blocks of your story. A branding campaign should be simple. One idea (brick) per ad, otherwise listeners will get confused. This is why rattling off price and items in your ads isn’t the best idea, it’s hard for anyone to remember. Instead, pick one thing and dramatize it. A skilled radio copywriter can do this for you.
Choose your bricks wisely. It’s not always possible to talk about something unique to your business alone, however, your way of doing things will always be unique to you.
Taking it Beyond Radio
Once you’ve crafted your strategy-based message, and scheduled out your ads each dramatizing a single brick, you’ve laid the ground work for a successful radio campaign. But don’t stop there. You’ve done all this hard work for your business, and it would be a shame if you didn’t implement it in your other advertising outlets.
For example, you should also:
Change your billboards to use the shortest possible version of your new mortar statement.
Update the copy in your direct mailers to complement your new billboards.
Have your TV schedule mimic your radio schedule so you have the same bricks running at the same time.
Hint: You can use the same voice and music bed for your TV ads too. It’s all about being consistent.
Some Tips to Take Away
Find a voice you love, and stick with it. If you’d like to voice your own commercials, that’s okay. I even suggest to some of my clients that they voice their own ads – if they’re up to it, of course. You don’t have to have a “big radio guy voice” to have a memorable ad. In fact, ads that don’t follow the norm are more likely to stand out. If you’re not sure which way you’d like to go, just ask your radio rep. They’ll have advice on the topic.
Don’t use your full street address, or other confusing information. Like I alluded to above, people don’t recall things very well – especially when those things come at them while they’re busy driving, working, or doing laundry at home.
Utilize Your Resources. Lean on your radio rep and radio copywriter for any questions you may have. They work in radio, and they know how to write copy, choose voice talent, and select the right music to achieve maximum impact. Take advantage of their expertise instead of trying to do it all on your own.
More on Bricks and Mortar
This is just an introduction to the concept of bricks and mortar. Parts two and three will dive deeper into each of those for a more in-depth analysis, along with some real example audio from clients who excel at using bricks and mortar strategically, and more importantly, effectively.
Part of the BrandsFormation® System
Bricks and mortar is part of Chuck Mefford’s BrandsFormation System for good reason: it works. Going through his playbook for marketing success will bring you face-to-face with this metaphor. In fact, part of executing this system will require you to get intimately acquainted with bricks and mortar. Get a head start and download the first chapter of his book if you’d like to learn more.