The truth about brand awareness

Are you wasting your marketing budget by building brand awareness? 

Absolutely not. 

The most effective marketing combines short- and long-term efforts. So while brand isn’t everything, it’s absolutely crucial. 


Is brand-building an effective marketing strategy?    

Each week, we break down another marketing concept so you can skip the hype and get directly to what works. 

Brand awareness seems like a simple enough concept. After all, the term refers to nothing more than the percentage of people who have heard of your brand. But growing and measuring the impact of brand awareness is the opposite of simple. 

Which is why it’s understandable that some would be quick to dismiss brand-building as a “fluffy” goal with an unmeasurable impact on business revenue. Especially when compared to the surplus of data available surrounding online sales activation campaigns. 

But research makes it clear both short- and long-term marketing efforts are necessary for building a successful business. Byron Sharp, author of How Brands Grow, cites two key requirements for brand success:

  1. Physical availability requires being present in the right place at the right time. This is often achieved through targeted, performance-driven marketing. He even compares search advertising to shelf space at a store.  

  2. Mental availability is the opposite. It means being top-of-mind when consumers are making purchasing decisions and is achieved through consistent messaging and brand awareness. (Yes, brand-building). 

If that’s not reason enough to offer a stay of execution to your brand-building efforts, here’s another: Simply seeing a brand advertised makes someone feel more favorably to that brand. It’s called the mere exposure effect and has been a part of the discussion around advertising since the 1960s. So even when you can’t measure the final sales driven by some top-of-the-funnel marketing, there’s reason to believe it’s having an impact. 

Besides, brand is far more measurable today than even five years ago. Brand preference, purchase intent, and brand attributes are all ways to track brand growth. And while it may seem fluffy, building a strong brand leads to increased revenue and customer loyalty. 

Key Takeaway: While the debate over the importance of brand awareness rages on, the key to effective marketing lies in a balanced approach. By focusing on both short- and long-term goals, you can build a strong brand that drives business results. 


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