Your customers are making buying decisions every day based on one factor: who comes to mind. Whether they’re choosing a restaurant for date night, planning a wedding, birthday shopping or looking for entertainment when the cousins come for a visit, the decision making process is the same. Suggestions are batted around based on businesses that come to mind. So how do you get your brand into your customer’s subconscious?
Who Comes to Mind? Defining Top of Mind Awareness
What does it take to rank in the top of the class? When it comes to top of mind awareness brands will qualify under one of three conditions:
1. A Perennial Favorite. Everyone has a favorite restaurant, clothing store, hair salon, etc. The only way to increase your chances of getting in under this condition is to consistently provide great products and customer service to all your customers. You will make the cut for some of them and become a perennial favorite.
2. A Lingering Bad Taste. You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.” Well this is it. This is top of mind, but not in a good way. These are not your potential customers as you are only coming to mind for negative reasons. This is Santa’s naughty list and you don’t want to be on it.
3. The Right Exposure. This is the condition where you can be in the drivers seat. This is your chance for top of mind awareness, and it is within your control. The more frequently your customer is exposed to your brand, the more likely they are to do business with you. As you increase your exposure you build brand awareness.
Marketing and advertising are the most traditional ways to build brand awareness. It makes sense, right? Let me give you a little test. Shout out the first brand that comes to mind when I say pizza? How about insurance? OK, here’s a tough one. What do you think of when I say shoes? It’s a pretty safe bet that you answered with a nationally known brand name. Why? Because you encounter their advertising daily, thus dramatically increasing your exposure, and hijacking their brands to the top of your mind.
You’re probably wondering, “How can I achieve top of mind awareness if my brand isn’t as large as Dominos, and my pockets aren’t as deep as Nike?” While there is an advantage to filling broadcast media, magazines and billboards with your logo it can empty your bank account pretty quickly. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage to build top of mind awareness.
By investing the time to develop a strategic marketing plan to plan out your marketing efforts each year you can dramatically increase your market awareness and save your bank account in the process. You won’t be doing everything at once. You will do specific tasks at specific times that make sense for your industry. You will track your marketing efforts to see which ones work the best and get rid of the ones that don’t. You’ll do A/B testing and you will be consistent.
With these few tips you will be well on your way to creating a brand that people recognize and set yourself up for a successful business!