First impressions are key; everyone knows that. What most people don't realize, though, is that first impressions are almost never made during a first introduction. First impressions can be made at any point for any reason. For each person it's a little different. Conventional wisdom would say to always be on your best behavior. Seth Godin says to be, "authentic and consistent." And all of that is good advice. Still the fact remains that you are spending ad dollars here. So you may as well get your money's worth out of it. The only way to do that is to be proactive. Literally make a first impression. Do something that makes people form an opinion.
My office now sits next to a great little flower shop called The Flower Gazebo. (You should really check it out.) It is owned by a wonderful couple (currently letting me gank their internet). The Flower Gazebo, though you'd never know it, makes a great case study for advertising. Is that because they do such great ad work? No. To be honest, I don't think they do much of any. They make an excelent case study because they, by virtue of their skill and trade, are poised to be what we all need to be ... wanted.
This post is categorized under Advertising, but it could (and probably will) just as easily be applied to other areas such as branding, politics and ... life. The principle is this: Be clear. Know what it is that you're saying and don't try to say too much. I'll start off with a simple definition and move on from there. To conflate means to meld into one. This is great when your talking about marriage, Beetles cover bands and Combos, but when it comes to your company's message this is dangerous territory.