How to advertise - get started

In this section we will the start of the process of how to advertise. From the brand positioning, we will walk through the key elements of the advertising brief and how you then move on to the advertising idea.

How to advertise

So you have spent time developing your brand identity as part of the brand management process. Great. How are your target audience going to find out what your stands for? How are you going to find consumers and communicate to them the benefit of choosing your brand?

In most cases, businesses will look to advertising as the quickest way to make consumers aware of their brand. Advertising can be used to encourage consumers to connect. You can use advertising to encourage consumers to search online, to check out your website or to go in-store or to an online store.

But where does the process start when it comes to how to advertise?

Nighttime advertising billboards

How to advertise – Start with the positioning statement

In the section on brand management, we covered the process of segmentation, targeting and positioning. The positioning statement should be completed before you start the process of how to advertise to your consumers. Three key elements from the positioning statement form what is sometimes called the copy strategy triangle. These are :-

Consumer Insight

For the purpose of marketing, the consumer insight is a broadly based frustration or desire based on a deeper human truth, that the marketer’s product or service can meet in a way that will drive profitable growth. 

If you look at Lynx deodorant for example, the insight is that young men know that if they smell good, they have more chance of succeeding with the opposite sex. 

Whereas, a brand like Berocca, the insight is that tiredness can catch up with you anytime. So having quick access to an energy boost can help you make it through tough days and nights.


The benefit is what the brand promises to deliver for the consumer, It can be functional – this washing machine will spin at 1000 RPMs. It can also be emotional – this washing machine will give you cleaner clothes and make you feel more confident. 

Reason to Believe and Reason Why 

The Reason to Believe and Reason Why explain how and why your product or service can deliver the benefit you claim. They provide evidence that can validate your claim. There are many ways to articulate these but they depend on the industry you are in.

If you were a lawyer or accountant, it could be your qualifications, your years of experience and reviews or endorsements from past client. If you are a coffee shop though, it might be the sourcing of your beans, or the friendliness of your staff for example.

Crafting this positioning statement is where you start with how to advertise. These concepts would then feed into the brief you would write your advertising agency or creative partner to move to start creating advertising ideas. 

Writing brief

Writing a good advertising brief

The advertising brief is the key document that capture your business, brand and consumer needs. It’s an important document when it comes to how to advertise.

It’s also the document that’s most likely to stress out marketing teams and agencies. In an ideal world, it’s a succinct document that pulls together the key elements of the business objective, the positioning statement and the expected deliverables.

In reality, the temptation is usually to try and cram in as much information as possible to the brief. It takes a lot of discipline to only include the most relevant information on the brief. It’s called a ‘brief’ for a reason. 

Re-write and re-draft the brief

Our recommendation if you have the task of preparing the advertising brief, is to expect it to be re-written or re-drafted at least 3 times. You should probably re-draft it after your first attempt. You should share it again with someone else in your business and re-draft it with their comments. This might be your boss, a colleague or someone else, but it’s always worth getting a second opinion.

And finally, when your agency gets the brief, you should expect challenges and re-drafts back from them. The brief should be the single unifying document that everyone agrees with to deliver the advertising idea. It’s worth taking the time to make sure everyone is happy and clear on what is needed. 

Getting to the advertising idea 

From the brief, the next stage is the creation of the advertising idea. This is the articulation of the brand message in a way that is most likely to appeal to and entice consumers.

It is NOT the positioning statement stuck on the copy of the advertisement. We do see brands and businesses use messages that have clearly been crafted in ‘marketing speak’ or ‘agency speak’ and applied into advertising. In particular, talking about solutions or connections is a particular no-no. We include some tips on this in our article on being a better brand marketer.

The challenge with creating great advertising is to be relevant, impactful and unique. Easier said than done.

Relevant, impactful and unique advertising

Being relevant means you really have a good understanding of your target audience and their desired need. Impactful means you are able to express the idea in a way that convinces the consumer to carry out the action you want them to do. Do you want them to buy, to register, to visit your website for example? And uniqueness is a about finding a way of creating advertising that makes you stand out from your competitors. 

Advertising is one of the most fun but most challenging aspects of marketing. The positioning statement, the advertising brief and the advertising idea are the three things which will get you started on the process of how to advertise. 

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Three-brains and marketing communications

We have worked on many marketing communications projects and have good experience across all aspects of communications. We know how to connect these expertise areas back into driving your brand marketing and growing your sales. 

If you want to know more about how we can support your marketing communications to grow your business  through our coaching and consulting services, click the button below to send us a message.

Communication brief - blank template
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Downloadable Communication Brief template

To achieve clear and consistent marketing communications, the first step is pulling together a clear brief for everyone involved in creating your activity.

That includes key elements of your target audience understanding and brand identity as well as stating your business and project goals. 

Download our blank template with accompanying notes to get your started on the process of creating a great marketing communications brief. 

Download it here or from our resources section. 

Powerpoint and Keynote versions of this document available on request. 

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