Building Brand Awareness In The “Product Education” Phase

Growing start-ups in need of awareness still need to educate prospects through their advertising strategy…

Often times ads are created that are either funny OR product focused and informative. Two posts ago I questioned Slack’s strategy behind this piece of work:


The piece above speaks to the net value of the Slack’s product, but it does so in such a broad manner that, if you are not already familiar with the product and how it works, the spot does little to inform as to how the product is different from other products that claim to provide streamlined communications. Although Slack has achieved product market fit, it is under three years old and has not reached maximum scale. It strikes me as odd to that the company has created this type of ad as opposed to continuing to focus on specific benefits of the product in a very concise manner–and though I am all for an “above the line” approach where the goal is awareness, I think there are more effective ways to achieve this. Rather than taking creative inspiration from external factors that have nothing to do with the product (fake animals) it makes sense to look at the product itself and find inspiration from core features. Just because you are focused on core product, does not mean that you cannot be clever, funny or imaginative.

Slack competitor HipChat uses the approach that I reference above:

While their ad is just as entertaining as Slack’s, if not more so, it manages to highlight the functional reasons to use the product. It clearly shows what the product does and how it does it in a real like context. For growing companies looking for growth and adoption it is essential to keep communications as close to the product as possible as this is still the “education phase”.

Large commodity products may need to create “cult of brand” through advertising that merely tells a story loosely related to the product itself, but more often these days it is critical to get people using your product and let the surprise and delight within the product itself do the storytelling (unless your product is rubbish, then you are screwed no matter what).

Profile photo of Adam Broitman

Named Brand Innovator’s 40 under 40, iMedia’s Internet Marketing Leader to Watch and having founded Circ.us, and award winning creative agency, Broitman is one of the most sought after minds in modern marketing. Having recently left his post as VP Global Digital Marketing at MasterCard, Broitman relocated to the SF Bay area where he is Managing Partner of MEC Global. He has also advised various startups on product marketing growth. Startups include moment marketing platform, Kiip and cause related digital coupon company, GoodShop.

At MasterCard Broitman led a team responsible for overseeing social, mobile, search, content and other channels across MasterCard’s various regions around the world. Broitman oversaw the launch of award winning campaign Priceless Surprises as well as partnerships with the Rugby World Cup and dance music giant SFX.

Prior to joining MasterCard Broitman founded and successfully sold creative agency Circ.us, a firm specialized in creative, tech-driven communications. Clients included Red Bull, American Express, Ford, Cisco and many others.

Broitman started his career as a media planner at Digital and made his way to Morpheus Media where he was the second employee. While at Morpheus Broitman helped the company with key wins such as LVMH and A&E.

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