Updated: Jul 19, 2020
There are only two ways to increase brand awareness with new customers: buy it or earn it. As the immortal Beatles say "money can't buy me love".
When it comes to brand awareness, I happen to agree with John.
Of course, we all know if no one in your merchandising category has ever heard of you, your organization, your products, it will be next to impossible for them to buy from you. Awareness is the seed of everything that comes afterwards in the customer's journey.
The difficulty nowadays is it’s impossible for a human brain to lock its conscious attention to anything for more than 7 seconds. In the noise and clutter of life in the digital age, nobody is paying close attention to much of anything.
Indeed, the Holy Grail of awareness is having your brand be the first to come to mind in your category. But that's not enough to pay the bills. Your business success depends on not only being first to mind–but first in their preference. The journey from awareness to preference is a long one indeed.
At the early stage of your business, you have two options to increase awareness to the value you propose to new customers. Buy it through marketing or earn it through experiences.
To buy awareness, you’re essentially paying a tax to enter the mind. BigCo. brands have the money to pay the mind tax. It's called adverting.
Now there's so much more digital media available to blast messages through, all people hear is noise and static. And people try their best to avoid the interruption of advertising. Even big brands are now finding the financial investment to buy attention is providing less and less of a return. You can certainly buy attention, but it no longer buys you much.
Awareness without relevance is useless. We all are aware of brands that don’t mean anything to us. For example, I’m aware of Spanks (the body girdle brand), I’ve even heard good things about the brand. In my mind, its the first girdle brand I'm aware of, but I have no desire to buy and wear them. To be preferred, you have to be relevant.
Nothing makes your early stage brand more relevant to new customers than their belief your brand is the only one that fulfills their needs and desires– arising from the good words coming from the mouths of current early adopter customers or a trusted third-party source.
With all the sophistication of modern marketing techniques and technologies, at the early stage of your business growth, nothing beats good ol’ fashion organic word of mouth. Not only do you earn awareness, but relevance as well.
The currency to buy awareness and relevance is customer experience. Not just with the product or service, but with very touch point in your value chain.
Bake your marketing into the experience customers have in doing business with you.
In time, your brand will become the first to mind, and the one and only choice of customers in the category. In the age of clutter and noise, the platinum level of awareness can only be earned.
Remember, “money can’t buy me love”.
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