The more a consumer knows and recognizes a brand, the more likely they are to purchase a product from that brand. Seems pretty simple, right? Unfortunately, this process does not happen overnight. It takes time to draw in a potential buyer, earn their trust, and make sure they will continue to choose your brand. Brand advertising is an important part of marketing, because it helps with long-term recognition, increasing the number of loyal customers over time. In order to achieve this outcome, you need to start with a basic building block of marketing: brand awareness.
The Two Types of Advertisements
- Brand advertising: This type of advertising is used to establish and build a connection with a user over time. This means creating a brand that becomes memorable and reliable to the consumer with continued exposure.
- Performance-based/direct response ads: These ads are used to drive an immediate action from a user. This could mean social media ads, emails, and direct mail. These all create a form of urgency, prompting an immediate response if used with active writing. (Example: Sign up now or miss this amazing deal!)
Most of the ads we see daily are brand advertising on TV, radio, or billboards. Big companies like Apple, Coca-Cola or McDonalds remind everyone how cool, refreshing or tasty their product is (“I’m lovin’ it.”). But brand advertising is less popular online, because digital advertising is more often touted for its immediacy and measurable results.
Is the Proof in the Performance?
Since brand advertising does not necessarily ask for viewers to perform an action, it is harder to track. Whether display, rich media, or video, many brand ads are simply run be seen and make a favorable impression over time. The web is a highly performance-based tool, and most businesses value stats like click-thru rates, conversion rates, ROI (return on investment), and more. Ad agencies may also point their clients towards performance-based ads for this same reason – they can prove that their campaigns are working through the numbers.
The truth is, studies show again and again that the more aware consumers are of your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you. People are more likely to work with or buy from companies they’ve heard of and trust.
Long-Term Investment, Long-Term Rewards
Brand awareness – composed of Exposure, Influence and Engagement – is at the top of your sales funnel. Once prospective customers have heard of your brand and been influenced by and engaged with it (performance-based ads), they are much more likely to act and buy your product or service.
Let’s be honest, first impressions are tough. But a brand doesn’t start to gain momentum until consumers become aware that it exists. Since exposure is in the top of the funnel, it signifies the very first stages of a brand. This means figuring out a logo, font, signature colors, and message that’s going to be associated with your brand. Solidifying a brand’s identity first is crucial, so that future buyers will be able to pick your brand out in a crowd of competitors.
Once the first exposure of a brand has been set in stone, it’s time to kick it up a notch. The “influence” stage of brand advertising is ultimately what helps bring the trust in, by displaying to the consumer that your brand is better than the competition. This can be done by launching campaigns, sponsoring community events, and hosting charities that relate to your brand, in order to boost credibility.
When you actively engage with potential buyers, that’s one step closer to them making a purchase. Engagement allows the public to remember your brand’s product(s) and message. This can take the form of catchy slogans, jingles, and/or memorable faces that go with the brand. For example, when you think of Frosted Flakes cereal, you probably think of Tony the Tiger’s famous line- “They’re grrrreat!” This type of brand association is memorable and engaging for the viewer, making it more likely they’ll buy Frosted Flakes the next time they’re in the grocery store.
Lead nurturing techniques such as email, PPC and retargeting help move prospects further down the funnel towards purchase.
Tracking the Success of Brand Advertising
Businesses may dismiss brand advertising for its lack of immediate ROI (return on investment) but building brand relationships over time may be driving sales that you’re unaware of. For example, it can be misleading to attribute all the credit for a purchase to a search ad conversion. While the search ad may have closed the deal, it may not have been the primary marketing activity that led the customer to make the purchase. Consistent and steady brand advertising very often lays the groundwork for successful search ads and other conversions.
Additionally, there are some metrics you can track for brand campaigns.
These are important for branding campaigns because they measure how many people saw your ad. In fact, you may wish to run your campaign by cost-per-thousand impressions instead of cost-per-click, since you’re more focused on people seeing your message than acting on it.
The number of visitors exposed to your ad, and frequency, as well as the average number of times a visitor was exposed to your ad, are key for brand awareness campaigns.
This is helpful for search ads because customers are finding you through specific keywords. But for display ads, you may want to choose another metric to measure success, such as conversions.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
Those who run performance-based or direct-response ads know that targeting is key to getting good results. But brand ads can cast a wider net. For example – you may think that Lexus should only advertise to people who are wealthy enough to buy one right now, but that makes the circle of customers smaller. Patience is key! Brand building may also work with younger, well-educated consumers who could eventually move into that target market. If some bright college kid falls in love with Lexus, they’re going to refer back to the brand when it actually becomes time to buy.
Get Ready to See Results
Brand advertising can be a waiting game. It requires patience, persistence, and a little faith to see results. But when combined with performance-based ads, your brand can capture immediate ROI while also driving future sales.
At Roger West, we know branding. Interested in seeing how advertising and brand awareness can solidify your business? We can help get the word out there. Let’s Talk.