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The world is becoming more and more inundated with advertising and media, and as a result, people are becoming increasingly numb to the impact of these campaigns. Companies are discovering that in order to get the attention of the public, they have to speak more loudly and frequently than ever before.

If you are a small or medium-sized business, this creates a dilemma: the more difficult it is to reach a consumer, the more difficult it becomes to keep up with the larger corporations who have the resources needed to compete at this level. It forces these smaller operations to find creative ways in order to get attention to their own products or services; by reaching out to consumers on a more personal level rather than trying to compete on the big stage of media advertising.

On the other hand, this situation creates a problem for larger businesses as well. As people are subjected to high amounts of commercialism, they are becoming increasingly cynical toward traditional advertising. Small communities often resist accepting big-name stores inside their borders and having your image on a thousand billboards certainly will get you more recognition but it won’t give you credibility or respect. If image is a concern at all for your organization, this problem becomes worse and finding acceptance in the community then becomes a concern.

This challenge compels us to seek out the less measurable benefits of advertising campaigns. Large organizations often have a team on hand to work with community sports teams, schools, and other organizations to give back to the community. This work can’t be measured in terms of clicks-per-visitor like an online campaign, but it has a concrete benefit that improves the reputation of that company in the community and cuts through the cynicism leveled at large-scale advertising.

Both small and large organizations can benefit from this sort of focus and medium-sized businesses can’t afford to overlook these forms of positive advertising—literally; they provide a unique opportunity to separate yourself from your competitors. Having photos of the little-league teams you benefit from in your store-front can help customers feel good about returning to your business again and will sway a decision to your benefit as they decide between your establishment and a competitor. In comparison, having a high result in a Google search might give you more new customers, but it won’t necessarily give you the respect required for customer loyalty—which is just about as difficult to grasp as their attention these days.

Advertising provided by our company through the Adopt a Highway Program is a superbly unique example of positive advertising. It combines the benefits of high visibility with the positive association of being a contributor to the community. Many of our smaller clients prefer to clean the sections of the highway by off-ramps that lead to their establishment. If someone is looking for a place to eat or an oil change, having your logo near your business does indeed provide a tangible benefit, but it also has the less measurable—but substantially powerful—the value of a positive message: “This organization cares about this neighborhood.” That message is enough to put the odds in your favor.

This works well to the benefit of larger organizations as well, some of who own multiple signs on a single stretch of highway. People might not like seeing ads on their website or billboards on their horizon, but few would complain about signage that indicates that a company is doing well here.

In a cynical and competitive world, visibility and respectability provide a remarkable benefit that cannot always be measured.

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