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August 13, 2021

Standing Out In A Crowd: advertising advice from the UK’s best marketing minds

By: Peter Gregory

If you’re trying to find new ways to advertise your clothing brand, then there’s a lot you can learn from experts in the advertising industry! 

British advertising experts like Dave Trott, Sir John Hegarty and David Ogilvy have built careers out of making brands stand out! Fro those of us in the highly competitive fashion industry, their advice is invaluable. 

In this article, we’ll share very specific tips from 3 of the greatest British advertisers who have ever lived. These guys know more about advertising and marketing than most people learn in a lifetime, and their advice can help you stand out in a crowded market and grow your business into a global brand.

Dave Trott: Get Noticed First

Dave Trott is one of the best British advertisers alive today. With a career in advertising spanning 50 years and two continents, Trott knows more about advertising than almost anyone else alive today. 

When it comes to making your brand stand out, Dave Trott has some very clear, direct advice: get your brand noticed. Simply getting your brand noticed might sound flippant, but it should be every brand’s top priority. Nowadays, we’re all exposed to so much advertising that the odds of being forgotten are incredibly high. 

According to Trott, most of us are exposed to around two thousand advertising messages every day. Out of all of those advertisements, we only remember 4% of those ads positively. We remember 7% negatively. The remaining 89% of advertisements we’re exposed to are either ignored completely or forgotten (source). 

So how do we make sure our brand is in that top 4%? Dave Trott believes that Gestalt Theory has the answer. Gestalt Psychology is all about how humans are pattern-recognising creatures. For a clothing brand to get noticed, it needs to step outside of the normal pattern of expectations for clothing brands. Your brand has to feel completely different to anything else that has gone before it. 

Dave Trott gives a great explanation of how Gestalt works in this talk from 2016:

John Hegarty: Give Your Buyer An Exciting Idea

Sir John Hegarty is one of the UK’s most well-known Creative Directors. He has built iconic campaigns for global brands including Audi, Levi’s and Lynx. When it comes to delivering a brilliant idea for an ad campaign or a social media push, nobody does it better. 

Sir John’s approach to branding is simple: come up with an idea that excites people

“Always remember that all information goes in through the heart.” 

Sir John Hegarty, Hegarty on Advertising, 2011

In his book ‘Hegarty on Advertising’, Sir John spends a lot of time talking about irreverence, and how a brand that pokes fun at the status quo, or that doesn’t take itself too seriously, can really stand out and make a difference. This is something worth considering: what brand story can you tell your prospective customers that will put a smile on their face and make them think about your products in a different way?

David Ogilvy: If An Idea Works, Keep Running It!

Coming up with new marketing ideas can be very addictive, and you have to know when to stop! 

The more time you spend coming up with new slogans, ideas and visuals for your clothing brand, the more ideas you’ll naturally come up with. It’s tempting to swap one perfectly good marketing slogan for a new one — especially if you’re personally more excited about the new idea — but this isn’t always the best approach.

The late, great David Ogilvy is probably the best-known British-born advertising man in the world. In the nineteen fifties and sixties, Ogilvy’s agency was one of the biggest on New York’s Madison Avenue. It’s also one of the few agencies from that era that still exists today (see ogilvy.com/uk). Back when David Ogilvy was in charge, whenever a new member of staff came to work at the agency he would indoctrinate them with his ‘Magic Lantern’: a list of 11 rules that Ogilvy expected everyone in the agency to follow. Number 8 on that list was “If you are lucky enough to write a good advertisement, repeat it until it stops pulling.

Ogilvy’s point was that, when a great idea comes to you, and when you can see that idea delivering attention and sales, you owe it to your business to run that idea for as long as you possibly can. The more sales you can make from a single idea, the better your chances of growing the brand into a global enterprise.

You should never stop trying to think of new campaign ideas, even if you have a few go-to ideas that work really well. Wherever possible, try to come up with the most exciting and bold ideas you possibly can …then test them out in a quiet, controlled way. Thanks to social media and pay-per-click advertising, it’s now possible to test out hundreds of different slogans and ideas on a very small budget. The more you know about what your target audience responds to, the better your marketing ideas will become over time. 

Learn From The Best

For this article, we’ve focused on a small handful of marketing experts … but the UK is full of intelligent, talented creative marketing people! 

If you’re looking for some more great advice, one place to start is with industry magazines like Marketing Week (link here) and Adweek (link here). These trade publications stay up-to-date on every new and exciting development in the world of marketing. Another expert to keep an eye on is Rory Sutherland.

Above all else, don’t be afraid to experiment! In the ideas business, nobody knows what’s going to work until someone else has tried it. That’s ultimately what the creative industries are all about. We’re always keen to hear from our customers so feel free to run ideas past us!

Thanks for reading!

Pete

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