One of the most common objectives we hear from our clients when setting marketing goals is that many of you want more “brand awareness.” While having people know your name, jingle, or slogan is great, it is nearly impossible to measure the success of a marketing strategy purely centered around brand recognition.
To use an example, how would your business feel if after a 12-month branding campaign, you didn’t see an increase in sales? You may feel like you could have better spent your marketing dollars. Instead, knowing what brand awareness is and how to incorporate it into a more productive advertising plan can lead to attaining your goals and increasing your overall return on investment (ROI).
What Is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is defined as the ability to identify familiar aspects of a business, such as a slogan, logo, or marketing message. The main goal of brand awareness is to have customers be able to speak knowingly about a business or a product, such as remembering your brand’s name and the purpose of your business. A branding campaign seeks to do this by increasing a target audience’s exposure to your message. For example, when you see two golden arches or hear the catchy jingle on the radio, what fast food chain comes to mind? Even people who may not eat fast food would recognize McDonald’s marketing because their brand awareness is just that strong.
While exposure is great in theory, it’s not the only thing you need to increase sales and boost revenue. It can get your name out there and maybe even increase website traffic, but then stops short of capitalizing. Your business needs more than just basic brand recognition. It needs a marketing strategy that serves a dual purpose to help you reach your quantifiable goals.
Setting Marketing Goals
Before you begin planning out what you want from your advertising investment, it is important to take a realistic look at what you can achieve. Making a lofty goal, such as increasing your potential client list by 100% in 12 months, only takes the focus off of what you can actually accomplish with your marketing because it might not even be possible. The best radio campaigns (or really any marketing) are instead ones that have focus and are rooted in possibility.
Knowing this, you should ask yourself what the most important issues are now: Why are you marketing your business? Is it to generate more leads and increase foot traffic? Or are you trying to convert current prospects and engage previous customers?
Once you know the ‘why’ you can begin to focus on what will benefit your business’ big picture. Instead of trying to throw everything at the wall in your advertisement to see what sticks—such as your website, physical location, phone number, social media pages, sales team names, etc.—you can determine what is important based on your new marketing goals and create a more strategic creative message that is uncomplicated and compelling to the listener. This approach of too many calls-to-action or things to do in a commercial is one of the most detrimental mistakes a company could make in their marketing.
Your focus will also help you measure and determine success at the end of the campaign. To do this, you will need to set specific and attainable goals. For example, trackable and measurable metrics include the number of call-ins, percentage of website visitors, units sold, net revenue, click-through rates, and completed inquiry forms. In each case, you will need to determine what success looks like for you, like how many phone calls do you want to generate for each salesperson or how much do you want to increase your organic website traffic?
Putting Your Goals to Work
Your marketing decisions shouldn’t be kept to yourself. To ensure that your marketing is successful, it is important that all involved are in the know—including your employees and media partners. In particular, your partners can help shape a campaign based around your real needs and goals. They understand the difference between branding and lead generation campaigns and can help create schedules with that in mind.
Your employees should also understand your marketing plan. This includes being clued in on the measures you are putting in place to track results. For example, your IT or communications director should be aware that you will want to focus in on analytic data from the website. Solid planning of your marketing campaign should be an all-in situation with every person in your business on board and ready to go with your results-driven agenda.
Brand Awareness With Meaning
At the heart of the brand awareness issue is the idea that recognition will alone sell itself—that customers will act just because they know of a brand or love a catchy slogan. On the contrary, brand awareness campaigns are often dead in the water as they fail to take their marketing one step further. It’s also important to note that developing brand awareness can take years and it’s certainly not something that happens overnight. But by planning a marketing strategy that takes into account realistic, measurable goals, your advertising can not only become recognizable, but also become part of your business’ long term plan.