A couple of weeks ago a new gallery asked me what I would suggest they do to build their brand quickly. When I asked "who do you most want to be perceived like (competitor) and what do you want to be perceived as," the owner told me of a major gallery he hoped to model. He said that he hoped that in 10 or 20 years he would be considered as important. Of course I asked, "Do you have 20 years?" His answer was, "no, we have three years to make it or break it."
"What if I showed you a strategy to build your brand and prestige quickly and overcome the 20 years?" He was all ears.
I started out saying that nothing can overcome time and heritage, however branding is a gradual process which not only requires repetition and a powerful message (ad design, copy, headline, artwork). But I can help you leap several years forward with this strategy. Advertise frequently, advertise bigger than your targeted competitor, and advertise deeply (more places) but only if you can afford to dominate in each publication to get noticed.
I believe author, marketing expert and dear friend Roy Williams will tell you that the small sends a small message, big sends a big message, giant sends a giant message. People who want to be perceived as giants need to APPEAR as giants. Of course this is not always possible and many have to start small, build business gradually and build from there.
The first important principle of any advertising is FREQUENCY. Be there often. I would rather have 6 issues in a row of 1/2 pages than 1 or two full pages. Frequency builds brand.
Secondly, size sends a message. Not to diminish the smaller advertisers, but its a fact. An advertiser with a bigger ad presence seems like a bigger company. A half page advertiser looks more important that a quarter page advertiser (unless you blow it with poor design). A full page advertiser looks more important than a half page advertiser.
Pay close attention to the companies you know as big brands or those you perceive as "owning" a brand position. One advertiser I know of is perceived as the leader in the illustration category. It’s not unusual to see 4 or 6 pages in every issue from this advertiser. How can anyone appear bigger? It is not easy.
So, what did I recommend to the gallery owner to build his brand as big, important and speed the process? I recommended a 20 page spread of ads. You cannot NOT get noticed. Everyone will immediately be impressed, even the hard to impress people. You will stand out above all others and you will have a perception of being bold, of having a deep financial war chest, of being confident, and of being big. As long as the content of the ads support the message of quality. So, I recommend 20 pages every issue for a year, and if possible for two years. By the end of the second year, as long as the content and the product (quality of artwork offered) and follow through (customer service, personnel) match the projected quality, this gallery will own a top 10 position within 2 years. By following the normal course of action, which is a single page per issue, it would take 10 years or longer to build a solid presence and yet the perception of big would never occur to the same extent.
So, if being perceived as bigger and better is important, fake it till you make it. It works.