Should you run a campaign to increase brand awareness, or should your marketing focus on the products you actually sell? We dig into the advantages and disadvantages of both.
What is brand awareness (and why is it important)?
Brand awareness refers to keeping the qualities and feelings associated with your product top-of-mind for customers.
Brand awareness is the responsibility that businesses take up to ensure that consumers can recall their brand under different conditions, measuring how much consumers are familiar with the qualities of a brand's goods and services. It’s really the only way in which consumers can form a relationship with your product.
People who are into luxurious fashion brands, for example, can identify major brands by something as simple as a jingle or shape. For this reason, marketers need to view brand awareness as an avenue to drive repeat purchases which will ultimately lead to a higher market share.
In an era where we’re inundated with brand messages and competitor products, it’s vital to maintain a brand presence in the market.
It’s not hard to see why brand awareness is so important
Consumers are exposed to over 600 brand messages a day. If you think about it, you start your day surrounded by brands, whether it’s your smartphone, alarm clock or watch. You then move to the bathroom where your toothpaste brand greets you, your favourite brand of soap or body wash awakens your body, and you slip on your chosen brand of jeans... the list goes on and on. This is before you've even been served a single ad!
What is product specific advertising?
Product specific advertising communicates the product's benefits, features and general functional characteristics of the product. The main aim of product specific advertising is to demonstrate why your product is worth purchasing.
Sales is the key metric used to measure the success of product specific advertising. The more people buy your product, the more we can assume that the method of promoting your product is a successful strategy.
When to promote brand and when to promote product
Knowing when to promote brand and when to push your product all depends on your audience, and where people are within the buyer's journey. You'll need to analyse your market very closely to determine when they require which message. But, by and large, it’s important to have a good balance of both awareness-focused content and sales-focused content.
Take a look at the content consumption habits of your audience
While people may be more willing to interact with your brand on Facebook for example, they seek product-focused messaging when searching on Google.
Many brands use social media to communicate feel-good or brand essence messages and then use their search ads and other targeted advertising to promote products. All messages still complement one another wherever they are seen.
What are the advantages and disadvantage of brand awareness messages?
Brand awareness, quite simply, lets your audience know that you exist, so when they are ready to buy your product they know what to look for. Brand awareness builds an affinity with your audience (the emotional connection between the product and your audience is all done via the brand tone, messaging, ethos and placement). It also helps sell products by the ‘mere exposure’ effect, where “people feel a preference for people or things simply because they are familiar,” says Psych Central.
The downfall of relying on too much brand awareness and not enough on your product is that it leaves the consumer unsure about what you are actually selling. What are the unique selling points of your product? This is why it's important to have both types of campaigns running in conjunction with each other.
One other consideration when contemplating running a brand campaign vs. a product specific campaign, is to look at your competition. You need to ensure that while your brand speaks to the category you’re competing in, it isn’t exactly the same as competitors OR too far removed from what you’re selling.
Finding the balance between brand and product messaging can be intimidating, but once you’ve found the right balance, you’ll see a positive ROI and increase in sales.
If you need help with either your brand strategy or product specific advertising, get in touch with Penquin. Our team of integrated marketing experts are always up for a new challenge!