Quick fact: Lack of brand awareness is at the root of all marketing woes -- from lackluster leads to zero customer engagement.
With today's marketing becoming more of an experiment-driven industry, a whole new set of challenges awaits marketers. As people spend more time online, assembling the blocks that make up a robust brand awareness foundation is like an uphill climb. It's no wonder that 77 percent of B2B folks are turning to content marketing to brand awareness among prospects.
It All Begins With Brand Awareness
As the thread that holds together your marketing campaigns, the level of your prospects' brand awareness dictates how you'll go about the rest your company's bottom line. This includes lead generation efforts to your choice of marketing automation tools.
Put simply, brand awareness is a powerful force that drives your entire brand's narrative.
But brand awareness isn't what it used to be. If your message is "me too," your brand will never resonate with the market in a meaningful way. You'll just be another voice in the crowd.
Brand recognition doesn't exist unless you have brand awareness.
According to this research on the Effects of Brand Awareness on Choice for a Common-Repeat Purchase Product, the distinction between awareness and recognition is a subtle one, with the former referring to a state of knowledge possessed by the prospect and the latter as a cognitive process resulting from brand awareness.
A perfect example of brand recognition is when you associate the tagline Connecting People to the Nokia brand. On the other hand, a good example of brand awareness is when someone thinks of Moleskine the moment someone mentions simple yet beautiful notebooks.
Why Prioritize Brand Awareness
Unlike other aspects of marketing that is specifically measurable, brand awareness doesn't have a concrete benchmark. As Jim Lenskold writes:
The value of brand awareness is the equivalent of half of a $100 bill. Unless you know where to find the other half, there really is no value. Brand awareness does not have a financial value on its own but is part of the collective effort necessary for marketing to drive incremental sales.
Whether your collective marketing effort involves SEO or thought leadership through content marketing, focusing on brand awareness efforts gives you the following advantage:
Familiarity Breeds Trust
In a study of purchase decisions by 217 prospects in an E-commerce site that were involved in inquiring about and buying books on the Internet, the researchers found out the following:
Both familiarity with an Internet vendor and its processes and trust in the vendor influenced the respondents’ intentions to inquire about books, and their intentions to purchase them.
The more your prospects are aware of your brand's presence, mission, and values, the more you can gain their trust. While customer loyalty is deemed as the Holy Grail of marketing, loyalty cannot exist without trust in the first palace.
Easier Market Penetration and Secure Market Position
Businesses who have developed a strong sense of brand awareness among their target clientele find it easier to dominate their niche. In a 2010 cross-industry study published in the International Journal of Research Marketing, German researchers concluded that brand awareness significantly drives market performance, while controlling for technical product quality, service quality, and several other constructs.
Crucial for Differentiation
Being successful in promoting brand awareness means you have positioned your brand to be desirably different than the competition. A sticky brand identity courtesy of the contrast effect, one of the cognitive biases that influence conversion, will eventually result in increased lead acquisition and sales.
How Do You Make Them Aware?
When planning for your next brand awareness strategy, the consumer awareness journey is worth the look.
In a Moz blog post, Bridget Randolph identifies the following stages of building consumer awareness:
- Creating awareness of the need/problem.
- Demonstrating the basic solution to that need/problem
- Selling your solution and your brand as the best version
Steps 1 and 2 can be accomplished by providing content that educates your prospects. This is why content marketing begins by building trust instead of pitching. Step 3, as Randolph describes, is where you get to talk about your brand.
Learn more about leveraging content if your customers are not aware that they need you.
Stick to the Basics
It's tempting to go straight to less abstract campaigns wherein data can be readily measured such as lead generation. While it might deliver ROI, it is not sustainable in the long run. Mastering brand awareness means sticking to the basics before jumping to more complex campaigns. After all, you cannot perfect the breaststroke unless you learn how to perform the flutter kick properly.
Have you been sticking to the basics?