January 21, 2018

Brand awareness is earned


The secret to building brand awareness is to start with customer awareness.

Companies today are much more likely to invest in advertising to customers rather than understanding what matters to them. On average, they spend $14 on advertising for every dollar spent on gaining customer insights.

But in a world of ad blockers and fractured attention, brands won’t gain significant awareness by interrupting people with advertising messages. Traditional advertising tells people 10 reasons why they should buy. All they really want is one reason to care.

We can’t make people care by buying more frequency and reach. But we can earn their attention by showing respect and empathy. That takes a willingness to understand what matters to them.

Jeff Anderson is a realtor who understands what matters to people.

The service he gives to help customers goes beyond closing real estate deals. Every transaction is personal. One little story illustrates how his customer awareness builds his brand awareness.

At a closing, he told one apprehensive, cash-strapped woman that she would be eligible to refinance her mortgage for lower monthly payments in 12 months. A year passed and she nearly forgot the comment. Until he called unexpectedly to remind her. It was also a reminder to her that Jeff goes the extra mile to help a customer long after the sale happens.

The woman in the story is my mom, and the story happened more than 20 years ago. We will never forget how Jeff made her feel with that simple gesture. And we will never pass up the opportunity to tell friends and family to work with him.

Awareness you buy with a Facebook ad or a sponsored tweet might give you a split-second of brand recognition. But it won’t matter to the people you want as customers. Awareness that matters goes beyond recognition to significance. You have to earn that.


[BONUS: In this episode of The Heart of Marketing podcast, we talk more about building awareness for your brand and unleashing the power of word-of-mouth. Listen in for tips and practical principles for applying the pillars of heart marketing to grow business through customer referrals.]

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR

I just read an editorial in Ad Age by Rance Crain about the lack of ingenuity and interest in regaining marketing leadership. Big brands are having issues with ROI and are lackluster in trying to 'take back' customer loyalty. Smaller brands and companies are in the lead b/c they are more nimble. Perhaps it is the small company that will win, eh?

digitaljgo moderator

@Soulati | Hybrid PR  You make a good point. My experience working inside ‘big brand’ organizations is that the focus is on quick hits and short term tactics that will deliver immediate sales, and not on the long range goal of building loyalty. In that case, having the will and discipline to think and act long range is as important as being nimble. The brands that invest in awareness of customer have the best shot at gaining marketing leadership and sustained growth, IMO.

Latest blog post: Making The Perfect Pitch

Lisa Sicard
Lisa Sicard

John, what a wondeful story about the realtor and your mom. That is an awesome example of how awareness is earned and not bought! Thanks for sharing this one with us....

digitaljgo moderator

@Lisa Sicard I'm so glad you enjoyed it Lisa! Thank you for taking time to leave a comment.