Familiarity, it’s all about familiarity. When something is familiar it evokes a feeling of safety and consistency, continuity and predictability. This isn’t an area where something will be sprung on you unexpectedly. It’s safe, you feel comfortable, you know what the parameters are.
Well, that’s what brand recognition is all about. Customers are aware of what you are offering because you have told them, you have kept them informed about your product/service updates, pricing, new store openings, your brand values and focus, special offers and events, and more, right?
If you haven’t, you are going to have a challenge getting customers and retaining the ones you already have, because customers are more inclined to purchase from a brand that they’re familiar with, that they see around, that they hear about.
With advertising forming part of your solid brand awareness strategy, you’ll develop a competitive edge as well as a sense of loyalty between customers and retailers. When customers identify your brand with an emotion or important event or occurrence, it’s because you have made an indelible impression on them.
Think Netflorist. It’s the first to mind for weddings, birthdays, funerals and good old-fashioned wooing. This is marketing gold, as the brand is remembered through emotional associations.
If your brand is top-of-mind through consistent ongoing focus on brand awareness, it will spring first to mind when your line of service or product is needed.
You want to become an eponym in a customer’s mind. You want your brand to be associated so closely with the product or service you are offering that the brand is used interchangeably when people talk about the product or service.
For example, when you are offered a soda of some sort, the offer is generally: “Would you like a Coke, or something?” with “or something” meaning any other soda or soft drink. The brand has become so inextricably melded with the product that they replace each other in vocabulary. Think of that same sentence without referring to Coke: “Would you like a caramel-flavoured fizzy drink, or something?” It just doesn’t have the same impact, does it? It doesn’t convey the message that the company has spent billions of dollars in creating, namely: “Would you like a refreshing, cold drink that bubbles and fizzes in your mouth and leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated while turning you into a jetsetter?”
That is excellent marketing for you, conducted over decades, internationally and across every demographic, granted, at billions of dollars-worth in marketing.
But it wasn’t always like that. This mega company too started off small and had to develop a reputation and marketing positioning (early days of cocaine ingredients aside!) The key that keeps companies like Coca-Cola ahead of the pack is consistency, consistency in message, image and advertising generally. I challenge anyone to recall a time in their life when the drink wasn’t available and I’m sure if you try, you’ll be able to hum, if not sing along, to at least one of their jingles from the past decades?
Brand awareness is all about staying in front of the customer, even during difficult times. Nay, especially during difficult times! When the market is in a slump the first section that companies close is the Marketing Department as it’s often seen as a vanity cost centre.
If you don’t advertise during a downturn, you will be washed away in the plethora of those that continue to punt their wares. Even the most loyal of customers will look elsewhere if their preferred product or service is not available. Even by simply keeping your website updated with specials and news will show that the company is still in business.
There are a multitude of examples where, by maintaining an online presence, a company managed to keep its doors open during a downturn.
Yes, the pandemic has taught companies to do business differently and a fair share of this is now online. That said, there are still some companies that don’t have an online presence and don’t advertise. How do they expect to remain in business, how do they expect to keep brand awareness functioning and reminding people that they are still around?
Remember, familiarity breeds (a sense of) content.
Make sure your company puts content in front of the customers and the familiarity will develop into kinship, loyalty and trust — almost familial in fact…