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Before customers can buy from you, they have to be aware of your brand. Whether through direct mail, in-store signage, catalog, or email, your brand must pop up in front of them, prompting a spontaneous purchase, or be part of their thought process when they are evaluating their options as part of a planned decision.
For decades, brand awareness has been the subject of research and study. To what extent does brand awareness influence the final purchase decision? As it turns out, quite a lot.
Wayne Hoyer and Steven Brown used a controlled experiment to examine the role of brand awareness in the consumer choice process. Here are some of the results:
- Even when testing brands during an initial trial, consumers were more likely to purchase the product from a familiar brand name, even if they preferred the taste (or, by extension, look, smell, or function) of an unfamiliar brand.
- Consumers were not only likely to choose the more familiar brand, but were more likely to make the decision more quickly. In this case, 9.8 seconds faster.
- As consumers become more familiar with the category and interact with other brands, the impact of brand awareness drops over time.
- Brand awareness is more critical among novice shoppers and those investigating products or services in a new category.
In a blind study by the University of Newcastle and the University of South Australia, 85.5% of subjects chose the familiar brand in the first trial, even if they actually preferred a less familiar brand.
What Does This Mean for You?
Get to the consumer early. Stay in front of them and don’t quit! Repetition is critical. One statistic we regularly run across is that the average person remembers three to five brands per category. To get in there, you have to push someone else out—and then stay there.
This is where consistent drips of brand messaging can pay off big. Send a direct mailer and follow up with an email. Invest in retargeting with social media ads for visitors to your website. Create constant reminders of who you are and what your brand offers.
Creating brand awareness is not always about getting someone to buy right now. It’s about staying top of mind—and keeping your competitors out in the cold—so that when your target audience is ready to buy, they think of you.
(Source: “Brand Awareness Effects on Consumer Decision Making for a Common, Repeat Purchase Product: A Replication”, Journal of Business Research)