What is brand awareness?
Has anyone ever asked you to hand them a tissue, or do they more commonly ask for Kleenex? How about a friend who says, “Google it?’ Really, has Google become a verb? It’s something you can do.
We’ve become so familiar with these two brands that we simply use them as common words without recognizing they are brand names.
Brand awareness is simply the level of familiarity people have with your brand.
Now you don’t necessarily want to become genericized as a brand like the examples above, but it does help to be well-known and perhaps famous.
Now you might be thinking, what is a brand, anyway?
A brand is how people perceive your company in the marketplace. It defines what distinguishes you from competitors and creates a company’s perception in prospects and customers’ minds. It describes why your company does what it does, connects to people emotionally, and inspires action.
Why is brand awareness critical?
One reason brand awareness marketing is essential is that it helps prospects distinguish one brand from another. A second reason is because it builds a prospect’s comfort and confidence in your brand.
Comfort and confidence are outcomes of familiarity and lead to trust. The brands we trust become a part of who we are. They identify with us and typically align with our values. Brands say as much about a person as they do about the company that is creating them. You might have friends who only wear UNTUCKit shirts, Vans shoes, or Hurley t-Shirts.
We all buy things based on relative value, so retailers design shelf space to make shopping more convenient. Similar products are grouped into categories and sit on the same shelf space. For example, you might see a jar of Paul Newman’s sitting next to a jar of Ragu. A brand awareness campaign on Facebook promoting that 100% of the proceeds go to Paul Newman’s foundation might entice someone to choose Newmans over another brand.
Does brand awareness matter in business-to-business (B2B) marketing and sales?
The short answer is yes. The habits we have as consumers influence buying behavior in B2B.
One could even argue that brand awareness is more critical than ever for B2B brand awareness marketing. Why?
The first reason is that nearly every company that sells in the B2B space is fighting commoditization. Before your sales reps even get on a phone, your prospects are already doing a ton of research online. In essence, your prospects are busy trying to recreate the shelf space they see when making consumer purchases. Your prospects are comparing you and your competitors based on what they see online.
The second reason brand awareness marketing is essential is that every impression point with your brand has the opportunity to positively or negatively impact perceptions of your brand. If your competitors are putting out negative information and not reinforcing their perceptions with brand awareness marketing, your brand perception is likely suffering.
Perceptions directly impact the value of your brand, and negative perceptions typically cause the most pain to revenue growth.
How do you increase brand awareness?
There are several ways to increase brand awareness. For example, you might raise brand awareness through a social media campaign on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter, or Pinterest. You might do it through pay-per-click advertising, optimizing the content on your website to increase your rank on search engines, traditional radio, television ads, Spotify sponsorships, out-of-home advertising, print magazines, newspapers, and tradeshows.
The trick is to choose the best few channels that will yield the highest return on your investments.
What should you expect your return on investment to be for a brand awareness campaign?
Brand awareness almost always works when it is done consistently through time. Return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) can range from a three-to-one return on investment to a thirty-to-one return on investment. While ROAS is not the same as brand awareness, it can help you understand what you are getting for your investment.
The first thing you have to ask is, do you have the right mindset to invest in a brand awareness marketing strategy? If you’re looking at brand awareness as an expense, you’re starting in the wrong place. However, when done correctly, using the proper channels with the right messaging, brand awareness marketing will almost certainly get you a return, making it an investment.
Predicting your return is a costly process and typically unreliable. Still, working with the right marketing partner, you will know within three to six months whether your brand awareness efforts are making an impact.
What common problems can brand awareness help solve?
This is not an exhaustive list of the problems brand awareness can solve, but they are three that should get you thinking more about how important it is to the success of your organization.
- Charge a premium. You can charge a premium when your prospects are more familiar with your brand. Remember earlier, we said familiarity breeds comfort and confidence, which leads to trust. When your prospects trust you more, they are willing to pay more as they put a higher value on your brand. Brand awareness leads to improvements in your brand equity.
- Stand out from competitors. The perceptions of your prospects and customers are vital to your success as an organization. When you spend time and money on a brand awareness campaign, it should distinguish you from your competitors. “15 minutes could save you…” How many of you finished that sentence? Did you recall Geico? Some of you will get it right away. Geico has spent millions of dollars creating that perception, and you might even remember the Gecko that even delivers the message. Insurance companies spend millions trying to separate themselves from competitors.
- Get more of your best customers. Creating good brand awareness can attract more customers like your best customers. People seek out friends that share common interests. Your best customers are those that buy from you again and again and recommend you to their friends. Why not use what they are saying to attract more customers like them?
How do you measure brand awareness?
You can measure brand awareness using qualitative and quantitative research methods. An example of a qualitative approach would be a survey that asks customers to recall the companies they evaluated the last time they looked for a marketing automation solution or a reputation management solution. If they recognize your brand, then you know you’re starting to build some awareness.
A qualitative approach is to look at your website traffic and see if there is a correlation between the number of site visitors before your brand awareness campaign and the number of visitors after your campaign.
Remember, measurements usually reflect a snapshot in time. Marketing and building awareness is a constant experiment in continuous improvement. You should always draw some cues to understand the impact brand awareness marketing is having on your business.