What Is Brand Awareness And Why Should You Care About It?

Picture of McDonald's Logo

What is Brand Awareness and why it’s important? Let me start with a recent story, an interaction with a client.

I got an email from a client who basically wanted to have a better explanation of why brand awareness is so important, he wanted to know what’s the value of brand awareness to their company and why are they paying for brand awareness in their campaign?

Now, there are a couple of things that you need to know. Let me start with this, I’m not going to give away who the client is or what their business is. This client has a brand that’s been around quite a long time, over a half a century. They are a multi-location business. And, back in its heyday, they spent money on radio, I think they did television as well. But, in the last five, six years they’ve really not done anything in the way of marketing. 

They’ve used services like YP or Dex to do their marketing. I don’t know to what extent they do, but I looked at some of their reports and saw nothing for the last couple of years. So, there was really nothing going on. And, over time the brand awareness eroded. People weren’t familiar with the brand anymore and all of these organizations, these new businesses in the same industry, started creeping in. Slowly, but surely, they eroded the brand. Until, where they are when they started with us, they were down 20%, if I remember correctly. 

Why is brand awareness important and what is it? 

Brand awareness is what helps your company, your service, your brand, be at the top of a consumer’s mind when they are ready to make a buying decision. Without brand awareness, you’re nobody. So, let me give you some examples of really good brand awareness. This is a test. I want everyone reading this blog to just say the answer when I ask the question. There’s no right or wrong, but there is only one answer. If you had hemorrhoids, what product would you buy? Go ahead. Exactly, Preparation H. 

Picture of Preparation H Hemorrhoidal Ointment

The reason Preparation H is the product that comes to your mind is because they have brand awareness. They have indelibly marked in your brain that if you have hemorrhoids, Preparation H is the product you want to get to solve your problem. Now, the reality is, when is the last time you saw a Preparation H commercial? When was the last time you saw a Preparation H internet ad? It’s probably been a very long time. But, their brand awareness has been so strong historically, that it’s stuck there and that’s the brand of choice. 

Brand awareness is the same reason that if I started humming the Timberlake song riff, “Ba da ba, ba, ba” every one of you will identify that with McDonalds. That’s what brand awareness does for you. There are a lot of pieces that go into branding, but brand awareness, is that top of mind recall. It’s the reason that when someone has the need, a buying decision in that moment, they go to you and not your competitor. It’s because they know that your brand is here, “Ba da ba ba ba” -  I got hemorrhoids, I need Preparation H. So, whether your business sells products or services, the value of brand awareness, is critical.

Now, this particular client is in the service business and service industries have a very unique challenge. And, the challenge is, is that it’s not a want for people, it’s a need. People can drive by a thousand convenience stores to get a drink and it’s a want, “Oh, I want a drink” and so they pull off and they get the drink and there’s really no thought that goes into the process. Brand awareness isn’t necessary, it’s convenience. 

But with a service business, it’s a little different. You don’t want to have service. If your air conditioner breaks, you don’t want to call the AC guy. If your car breaks, you don’t want to go to the mechanic. If your electrical fails in the house, you don’t want to have an electrician. It’s a service business. So, the unique challenge with service business is, is that they’re not sexy. It’s why that top of mind awareness is critical. Because when the time comes, when your air conditioning system breaks, when your engine fails, when the electricity in your house won’t come on, you want your company to be the one that that consumer picks. That is the value of brand awareness. 

And, good brand awareness takes time to develop. Especially if your brand has been stagnant. And, that’s been the case for this client for many, many years. They had no brand awareness, they’ve had no one really watching their brand. Brand awareness may not fix your sales issues today, it may not bring new customers in today, but the long-term value and play of brand awareness is critical.

The Value Of Brand Awareness For Your Business

What Is This Thing Called Brand Awareness?

Many clients don't understand the value of brand awareness. I decided to use an email from one of them as the kick off to this educational series called Wine & Wedgie. Episode 1 is all about the value of brand awareness and why it matters to your brand for long-term growth.

Why Is Brand Awareness Important?

It's the story people use when they talk about you. You create it, they regurgitate it. It's what creates that instant recall in the consumers mind.

Need help with your brand? We've got your back.

Starbucks Is The Brand That Forgot Christmas?

Picture of Starbucks holiday cups

I'm sorry if our last TV commercial upset or offended you.

When we chose to show sausage on the pizza we weren't aware of its impact. When we decided to have veggies next to pepperoni in the ad, we didn't think about your needs.

The backlash we received from the Jewish community, the Muslims, the vegetarians, was enough to get our attention.

You see it wasn't our intent to offend any of these groups by showing meat pizzas or pizzas with pork products on them. No instead, we were simply creating a TV commercial for our client, a marketing message.

Now, the above never happened to my company, but it has to another, Starbucks.

Many Christians, including lots of personal friends are rallying against Starbucks and their decision to make this year's Christmas cups red instead of festive and Christmasy. Now don't get me wrong, I liked the cups they had last year. In fact I liked them so much I was bummed that they weren't using them again. But the truth is they weren't trying to offend your Christianity. No, Starbucks like all businesses makes marketing decisions. This year they decided on solid red cups.

Mind you, you may be approaching this in the completely wrong way to begin with. As difficult as it may be for you to believe, not everyone celebrates Christmas, there are other holidays. I for one was raised celebrating Chanukah, yet I am not crying about the lack of dreidels and menorahs on my Starbucks cups. I don’t need a cup that screams, “I Am Jewish”. The Christians of the world will have you believe that Christmas is the only holiday but it is not. Should I be offended that Starbucks doesn't do a Chanukah cup? Of course not. Remember, sometimes marketing decisions by a company are just marketing decisions by a company and nothing more.

What offends me are the countless kids living in CPS offices and waiting for someone to adopt them. What offends me are people who get pissed off about a red cup, but choose to do nothing about the world around them. If you want to make some noise, do it. Then get off your high horse and make a freaking difference in the world.

Get over your upset and enjoy your hot Starbucks. Better yet, skip the Starbucks and go rock a baby at the crisis nursery, become foster parents, adopt a kid, do something to serve others. Stop spending your energy being offended by a cup and make a damn difference.

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