This is borne out by numerous statistics, with a whopping 77% of all B2B marketers claiming that the development of brand awareness is pivotal to growth.
It’s arguably even more important for customer-focused businesses, who can leverage awareness to build trust and inspire loyalty.
In the post below, we’ll explore the concept of brand awareness and its importance to your growing business, while also determining the best strategies for building this in relation to your business.
In simple terms, brand awareness is the extent to which customers are familiar with the qualities, products or identity of a particular business.
When trying to define brand awareness on behalf of your business, it’s all too easy to confuse this with the notion of recognition.
Studies have proven a subtle but clear difference between these two entities, with brand recognition best described as a cognitive process that cannot exist without awareness.
Conversely, awareness refers to a state of knowledge pertaining to an existing brand, and one that enables customers to identify products, narratives and even colours that are synonymous with a certain business.
So, in a chicken and egg type scenario, there’s no doubt that brand awareness comes first and creates a state of mind through which customers associate individual elements with certain businesses or marketing campaigns.
While this explains the core definition of brand awareness, it does little to confirm why it is so important to your business.
In fact, there are numerous reasons why brand awareness is central to commercial growth, despite the fact that it is a relatively vague concept that is hard to measure and does not boast a fixed monetary value.
This should not disguise the fact that it serves as a crucial launch pad for all marketing strategies and campaigns, while also having a cumulative impact in terms of driving sales, targeting new demographics and also reducing your overall marketing spend.
In terms of the latter, it’s important to remember that it’s around five-times cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones.
The issue is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to earn the trust and loyalty of consumers in competitive markets, particularly with researching suggesting that just 36% of shoppers say that they have faith in large brands to do what is right in any given situation.
Brand awareness can play a crucial role in bridging this gap, as familiarity is known to breed trust and create a tangible connection between two distinct entities.
More specifically, the more that customers are aware of (and therefore invested in) a brand’s mission, narratives and core values, the more likely that they are to trust in their products or services.
The cultivation of brand awareness can therefore have a significant influence on both real-time and future purchasing decisions, especially with a 2016 study revealing that 94% of all customers are more likely to trust a brand when they commit to full transparency.
With this in mind, it’s also fair to surmise that cultivating brand awareness is an excellent way of securing a viable and consistent position in your chosen marketplace. It certainly allows for easier market penetration, as marketers can instantly target a defined and loyal consumer base and achieve an outstanding marketing ROI even without a vastly superior product.
If you needed any proof of the importance of building brand awareness, you can find it in a study commissioned by ISPO News. This revealed that a staggering 90% of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, whether we’re shopping in-store or online.
Clearly, transparent brands that have built a consistent identity and considerable awareness are the most likely to benefit from such decisions, as they are the most recognisable and capable of evoking impulsive and emotive actions from customers.
This also helps to put the relationship between brand awareness and recognition into context, as the former inspires the latter and drives subconscious buying decisions.
Now, while the importance of brand awareness has remained largely unchanged and unchallenged for generations, the best practice for building this continues to shift in line with social, behavioural and technological trends.
Back in the 1960s, television was the most effective channel through which to build brand loyalty and in 1965, around 34% of customers could remember individual commercials that were aired on television, but this number had dropped to just 8% by 1990.
In 2007 it had fallen to a meagre 2.2%, and there are no signs of this trend being reversed in the near-term.
Out-of-home advertising (also OOH advertising or outdoor advertising) is undoubtedly one of the best ways for building brand awareness.
With that said, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of outdoor advertising media available, so before taking the plunge, it’s important to understand the distinct differences, benefits and best advertising practices for your business.
Take high format paper billboards for example, which do not require brands to share space with other firms, enabling them to promote their message in the most concise and clear way imaginable. This can be extremely effective for local businesses.
The same cannot be said for digital billboards, where space is typically shared between brands whose adverts are displayed for around 10 seconds per minutes.
Billboards are also considered to be non-intrusive adverts that blend seamlessly into their background. This is largely due to the fact that billboards can be placed in strategic locations, making them easily accessible to commuters and people going about their daily business.
This drives far greater levels of interaction and engagement among customers who prefer to curate their own content, making it far more likely that your brand, its message and key features will be effectively absorbed.
This is an interesting point, as it’s impossible to lay the foundations for brand awareness if your customers are not engaged, as they will not hear what you have to say or learn enough to acknowledge the core values of your venture and its proposition.
On a final note, you need to remember that the average customer spends well in excess of 70% of their time out of the home, and in this respect, billboard advertising is the single most effective way of building awareness across the vast majority of demographics.
As we can see, brand awareness is an important but often misunderstood marketing element, and one that is increasingly capable of driving sustained business growth, incremental sales and more cost-effective campaigns.
If you are interested in discussing a billboard advertising campaign for your business, get in-touch to find out more.