Last updateTue, 22 May 2018 10pm

Advertising: Brand vs. Direct Response


In this corner we have “Brand Advertising” - in the opposite corner stands “Direct Response Advertising” - Who wins the battle?

First, lets define our two combatants. Brand Advertising is that which builds name recognition for a brand, but makes no specific offer.  In the jewelry biz, we’re most familiar with this type of advertising in campaigns such as:  Hearts On Fire Diamonds, Pandora Jewelry, Rolex, etc.  This type of advertising is usually very “glitzy” with four color ads, the logo displayed prominently, a picture and nothing else.

Let me ask you a question.  If I were to ask you the name of a soft drink, what would you say?  I’ll bet you’d say Coke.  If I asked you the name of a washing machine company, you’d probably say Maytag.  This is an example of Branded Advertising.

Now let me ask another question. Which brand do you use?  I named Coke as the first brand that came to my mind, but I only drink Pepsi products.  I also recently bought some power tools and when I went to make the purchase, I looked at the popular name brand tools such as Black & Decker, but ended up buying something else because they offered me a FREE measuring device plus FREE bits, plus a FREE tool bag.  So did “Brand” play a part in my buying decision?  I purchased another lesser known brand because of the value added offers.

This brings up our second method which is Direct Response Advertising.  Direct response advertising is the type which makes an offer, gives a FREE sample or trial and anything else that requires a direct response or inquiry by the customer.

Often in my marketing/advertising, I offer FREE GIFTS with purchase.  These gifts may be a premium such as a pair of earrings, ladies handbag, scented candles, candy, etc.  Direct response often invokes such things as deadlines, limited time offers and things of this nature.

So which side of the equation is right? Both are right and both are wrong.  I like to track the response of my advertising, so naturally I lean a bit more toward the direct response side.  However, we should never overlook the power of keeping “Our Name” out in front of the public.  For the majority of the time, I prefer to brand “My Store” and let that be the brand.  Of course, probably like you, we sell many of the popular jewelry brands of our day, but I still prefer my name to be the one that is remembered rather than a vendor’s brand.

So which is better? I recommend you use a bit of both.  If you are doing image/brand type advertising, why not infuse it with a special offer or a free gift for coming in during a certain time limit?  If you are using coupons (a favorite of direct response marketers) or other DR advertising, why not infuse it with a bit of jewelry imagery?

Above all, learn how to lay out good advertising that has a strong headline, a good offer and then follow it up with pictures if need be, but remember... “You” are your strongest brand!!!

Bill Warren is the owner of The Gold Mine Fine Jewelry & Gifts in Hudson, NC and a Registered Gemologist Appraiser.  He is also the founder of Warren Marketing Systems, a company that helps retail jewelers unlock hidden revenue in their store through proven marketing systems.  Bill enjoys teaching & speaking to jewelers as well as associations/groups.  Sign up for regular marketing tips & info at  www.warrenmarketing.blogspot.com.  For further info, contact Bill at 828-729-1020 or e-mail  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..