The importance of brand awareness when driving a growth strategy and how to measure this effectively
Reading time: 5 min
To grow sales, luxury product manufacturers and service providers need to think about the relationship between growth and brand awareness in a different way to mass-market and mid-market competitors.
When they get the balance right, luxury brands can significantly increase market share among their current target consumers and promote themselves to profitable new demographic cohorts that traditional online paid advertising misses.
In this article, VERB Brands considers:
- Marketing multipliers and their relationship to brand awareness
- The importance of digital PR in the online era
- Why brands can’t afford to ignore organic search
- How to measure brand awareness growth
How brand awareness affects marketing multipliers
For all brands, including luxury brands, digital marketing has its place but it also has its limitations.
While digital marketing campaigns on social media, search engines and search engines can be scaled to a degree, their effectiveness does not last forever.
Your competitors will always examine what you’re doing to see if it’s profitable and a strategy they should be following. When they enter your space, your advertising costs go up and this reduces the profit you make per sale.
It’s not just that. The luxury sector is ever-changing and dynamic. Tastes change and demand for particular products decreases over time. No product marketing campaign lasts forever meaning that companies must constantly create campaigns for newer products and services.
Luxury brands need a marketing multiplier.
What is a marketing multiplier?
Marketers discovered many years ago that sending an email to a business decision-maker a day or two before they called a prospect up generated more leads from a campaign. Marketers have also seen an increase in branded organic searches when online display ad campaigns run.
This is one type of marketing multiplier but, for luxury brands, another type of marketing multiplier is more important.
One of the reasons companies struggle with digital marketing campaigns over time is that the emphasis is on the product or service and not the brand.
The power of the brand, specifically the mental and physical availability of a brand and what it sells, is what multiplies the impact of your marketing over the long term. Established brands beat less well-known brands because they have great “mental availability” and “physical availability”.
“Mental availability” is the degree to which your brand springs to a consumer’s mind when they’re thinking about a particular product or service. Companies build mental availability by investing in advertising which focuses on their brand and its values. Having distinctive brand assets is another way to increase mental availability. The brand asset you have that people remember the most might be a song, a slogan or a style of packaging that’s recognisably you.
But how much should you invest in promoting? As a rule of thumb, companies spend more on brand-building the fewer purchases a consumer makes of their products and services during their lifetime. The belief is that, when the time comes to make a decision, brand awareness will ultimately guide their decision-making process.
This leads us to “physical availability”. There’s no point in spending a high proportion of your marketing budget on building brand awareness if it’s not easy for your customer to purchase your products and services at the moment they’re ready to buy.
Unless a consumer is dead set on purchasing your watch or item of clothing, they might at first be disappointed if they can’t find it. But their desire to purchase is so strong that they buy a similar product or service from a competitor whose brand they’re also familiar with.
So, while your marketing team is promoting your brand, your distribution team should be finding new online and brick-and-mortar stockists so that you’re easier to find when the decision to buy has been made.
Doing this is a proven way to combat the “double jeopardy” effect in marketing.
Brands with lower market shares enjoy less brand loyalty from their target audiences and, as a result, suffer from lower sales. If a consumer likes your brand but likes other brands just as much, there’s no reason why they should trouble themselves to find what you sell when there are perfectly acceptable alternatives to it.
The importance of digital PR in the online era
Digital PR is a highly effective way of increasing mental availability. We recently wrote about digital PR and why it offers much greater value for luxury brands in generating publicity and improving search engine visibility.
Digital PR teams create compelling stories and content specifically aimed at certain audiences. They then sell that content to journalists and editorial teams at publications their audiences trust. Getting into the mainstream conversation in mass market publications is also important for luxury brands as it increases the value in the public’s minds of owning their products over a competitor’s.
Although some digital PR involves paid placements, the “sell” comes in persuading publications to run stories as close to the original content created by the digital PR team at no charge.
Like traditional PR teams, digital PR teams create content to support new product or service launches but their activity does not stop there. The aim of digital PR is to constantly find ways of generating publicity for their clients to keep their brands foremost in people’s minds.
Why brands can’t afford to ignore organic search
Digital PR creates a flood of backlinks – links from these publications’ sites back to a brand’s website. The more high-quality backlinks your site receives from third-party online newspapers, magazines and blogs, the higher it and all the pages on it will finish in organic, non-paid-for search. This increases the mental availability of your brand.
Brands should never underestimate the power of organic traffic as we recently wrote about in a case study examining Tiffany’s and Pandora’s SEO strategy.
Organic traffic delivers 53% of website traffic, about twice the level of paid search.
Your paid-for campaigns are powered by the demographic data held by Google and social media platforms. The problem is that, although this data is highly detailed, it’s also riddled with errors and false assumptions.
This means you’ll spend money targeting people who appear to be in your target audiences but who aren’t because the data is wrong. Conversely, many of the people in your target audience may not see your adverts because the data on them is wrong. They have a chance to find you with organic SEO.
And, although there is a cost to content creation and backlink building through digital PR, it is small in comparison to the continued investment required in pay-per-click advertising.
How to measure brand awareness growth
Measure your brand awareness and its effect on your growth strategy using the following metrics:
- Growth in organic search traffic and change in sales conversion rates following an appearance on a third-party website generated by your digital PR campaigns (for example, you could measure over time which publications deliver the best traffic and sales uplifts and get your digital PR teams to focus on more placements in those titles).
- Growth in the number of third-party links to your site
- Using a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to estimate the number of people who have seen your brand on a page belonging to a third-party site (a measure of your extended audience)
- Growth in branded search queries where your company name is used, for example, “Tiffany,” “tiffany’s necklaces,” “tiffany engagement rings” and so on.
- Growth in transactional search queries containing keywords like “tiffany engagement rings price,” “tiffany engagement rings for sale,” “buy tiffany engagement rings” and “Chanel handbag finance,” with your brand name and associated product or service, for example
Create an effective brand awareness strategy with VERB Brands for growth
Please drop us a line through our contact form to find out about how to develop a growth strategy around brand awareness. We’d love to start supporting you on this journey!