Small business advertising ideas can be hard to come by. On the one hand, you need to reach out to a local community and connect with them. But your budget might be tight and your time…even tighter. But luckily, there are ways that allow you to accomplish what you want, regardless of time and budget.

Today, let’s take a look at how one of the most well-known (and well-marketed) celebrities in the world, uses certain techniques to create winning advertising. Apply these strategies and your next ad campaign could be a real slam dunk.

Learn from The Best

1. Introducing LeBron James

LeBron James is considered one of the best basketball players in the world. Of course, part of his standing is due to physical exceptionalism, but the other half is due to marketing and PR.

LeBron’s body of commercial work shows just how effectively he uses certain techniques and certain types of advertising ideas to market himself.

With his partnership at Nike, (whose success at advertising we’ll get into later), he’s been able to put out advertisements that are well-crafted beyond stunning A/V Scripts and big budget production value. 

LeBron James Advertising Ideas

James uses the best creative advertising ideas to make himself superstar.

These techniques LeBron’s team uses can be applied to any small business advertising idea and work just as well.

LeBron was not the first to use clever marketing and branded content advertising ideas to reach beyond the NBA. That was of course, Michael Jordan.

LeBron James Advertising Ideas Jordan

Michael Jordan made marketing  simple

The simple idea to outline Michael Jordan, basketball in hand, is now iconic. After the first few months, this marketing idea was such a success that a product was not even needed. The brand eclipsed the product.

LeBron James Advertising Ideas More Jordan

Marketing Idea: Michael w/o product

Twenty years since the peak of his “Airness,” LeBron is following in Jordan's footsteps. Because James’ style of play is visually second to Jordan, he takes simple marketing ideas by going one step further.

Which goes to show, as long as you have a clear plan and voice in mind for your brand, it doesn’t matter who you are - certain methods can make your small business ideas turn into great ones.

Connect with Neighbors

2. Think locally

One of the ways that LeBron James has been able to drive himself into the hearts of so many is through his connection with his team’s home town.

Lebron James Advertising Court Shot

Lest there be any doubt who LeBron was marketed to

Check out his very first commercial as a Nike frontman.

He was born and raised right outside of Cleveland.

He's proud of where he comes from and some of his best advertisement ideas showcase that relationship.

If you're a small business, it may be even more important for you to use a similar approach. Local brands are made and broken by their community relationship, and their ad ideas should reflect that.

LeBron James Advertising Ideas Billboard Image

This local connection doesn't get much closer to home

Take a look at these LeBron commercials to try and mine some small business advertisement ideas aimed at creating a deeper bond with your local community.

Is there a funny angle to play with regarding a daily commute in your neighborhood?

Are there any community events your small business is part of?

Use those as a framing for a unique angle or perspective to present your brand. This can be a great way to make a small business advertisement that creates waves in the community.

Embrace Public Persona

3. Act globally

After LeBron left Cleveland to go to the Miami Heat, he created a spectacle out of his decision making process. Not only did the way in which he made this announcement garner criticism, but so did the decision itself.

His reputation and brand changed almost overnight. LeBron went from the beloved great to being labeled a "ring-chaser."

He was no longer the small-town boy making his hometown, high school dreams come true.

With that came this great advertisement idea that embraces the public pressure and criticism he faced. He posits the decision of whether he should embrace his new reputation and role within the public sphere.

It's important for companies and individuals to think about their brand awareness. Furthermore, they must think about what they mean to their core consumer base. On a larger scale, when creating small business ads, it is important to understand and craft ideas that will expand your local brand to a more global appeal.

What is your brand trademark?

Starbucks, Amazon, Ben and Jerry’s all have one thing in common. They all started out as small businesses.

LeBron James Ad Ideas Employer Image

This was a marketing idea long before he became who he is

Are you the whacky car dealership with too many waving inflatable tube guys? Is your company the premiere jobs creator in the area?

These are important aspects to consider when coming up with advertising ideas. It's critical to decide whether to embrace or push against that persona.

And, even then, find a unique and engaging angle on what that persona is.

This all begins at the concept and pitching stage.

Start by preparing a creative brief if you are looking to work with a team so that your idea is clear and concise. This is a must.

Using mood boards and storyboards can help illuminate what your campaign will be and what you hope to achieve.

Keeping track of these elements is much easier with a production management software like Studiobinder.

Use production calendars to manage tasks throughout the campaign.

Using video project management software makes it easy to organize and collaborate your small business advertising campaigns, from concept through distribution.

Storytelling and Relatability

4. Form a narrative

"Storytelling" has become a hot button word with small business advertising. This is true for any kind of marketing, really, and that's for good reason.

Narratives are excellent ways to rope in and engage consumers, like using the time-tested ethos, pathos, and logos technique of storytelling and rhetoric.

It's critically important to create a viewing experience designed to make people feel things, as done here:

The power of narrative helps build this advertisement to something more. Or, at least make us think there's something more there than there actually is. Using narratives and storytelling techniques as part of your small business advertising is a great way to stop consumers from scrolling past your spot on social media. It's also a great way to personify your brand into something more relatable and real.

Tell the company's origin story.

Show a daily life in the employees. Show how the product goes from design, to factory, to store floor, and then home to a consumer.

All of those advertisement ideas help consumers connect more with a business on a personal level by using some kind of narrative.

Humor in Advertising

5. Comedy is king

At this point I'm sure you've seen a number of commercials that have at least made you chuckle. Humor is a powerful tool in small business advertising because it can create powerful emotions with very little production value.

Look at this ad from LeBron's commercial series, "The LeBrons."

Using a fake family where he plays every character, LeBron uses humor as a metaphor for how he's known to play every role on the basketball court.

Obviously, the specifics won't apply to your small business advertising idea, but humor always will.

Oftentimes, the most memorable small business ads are the funniest ones. Humor requires a level of self-awareness and personality that consumers can relate to.

LeBron James Advertising Ideas Space Jam

Jordan had his share of humorous marketing ideas.

Plus, it makes people feel good to laugh. Give them thirty seconds of fun and they'll think a lot differently about your brand and your product.

Learn from Modern Sports Ads

6. The Story of Nike

One of the reasons for Nike’s global dominance isn't just their great stable of athletes like Michael Jordan or LeBron James. It is also their exceptional advertisement ideas, which they then take to their athletes.

While most sporting goods companies showcase the capabilities of their products, Nike plays toward the emotional, inspirational, and underdog themes with their own marketing ideas.

They want to be the brand you think of when you can't go any further. Nike has shown that people will buy the product if you make them feel strong enough to get the job done.

Additionally, if their favorite athletes are the ones telling them they can, that’s even better.

Consider this commercial from Jordan. While at this point he may splintered off into this own company, he still kept the same brand image and voice as he did while he was under Nike.

Maybe it’s Jordan’s fault that marketing ideas were as revolutionary as his game

He uses his authority, part of who he is as an iconic figure and brand, to motivate and inspire users from making up excuses.

Not necessarily a light and airy message of positivity, but something within his authoritative wheelhouse.

While most small business marketing ideas won't be able to fit the motivational mold (or the authoritative, stop making excuses mold), it always helps to be uplifting. Positivity is generally considered a safe, welcomed angle and most consumers want to associate themselves with enlightening brands.

Use advertising ideas as a way to promote (or even inspire) positivity within your community. Lift up underdogs, promote those without a voice, motivate the masses and you, too, may get the same commitment that Nike's consumer base has to it.

While these methods are great ways to make moving and powerful small business advertisements, they have to fit the brand's tone and voice.

In order to communicate that to everyone involved in coming up with marketing ideas, brands put a lot of thought and effort into writing great creative briefings.

These are thorough and illuminating documents that convey a specific tone and voice for the brand. This helps shape the perspective of every advertisement.

Whether it's a small social campaign, or a beautifully shot commercial reflecting the relationship between the city and your business, a creative briefing is an important part of this process.

Having all of the tools available to you in one place is now easier than ever with production management software.  StudioBinder does the heavy lifting for small businesses and creative agencies alike.

From creative briefs to shot lists, you can organize your campaign from concept to deliverables.

Now that we've shown you some methods for great small business advertising, now it's time to go out and get the job done yourself.

Or, as Nike says, "Just do it."


Creative video ad trends this year

There are many ways to get the word out about your product and your brand. Social media is the newest kid on the advertising block. But, just because it’s new doesn’t mean that this method of advertising your small business isn’t one of the most effective. Learn more by reading further.

Up Next: Creative Video Advertising Trends → 
Solution Icon - Collaboration and Production Calendar

Project management for video creatives. Tasks, file sharing, calendars and more.

Manage video production timelines, tasks, storyboards, shot lists, breakdowns, call sheets. Made for video creatives, new media and film.

Learn More ➜

1 comment

  1. Dear LeBron,
    You are doing the work of the inheritors of the Earth! Remember me, your Brother, Daniel

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copy link