Look, we get it – as a savvy business owner, you’re tasked with the heavy burden of making the best decisions for your company, and that includes navigating the often mysterious world of marketing. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the scope of marketing choices your business is presented on the daily. We understand where you’re coming from, and get just how challenging it can be to determine what tactics to invest in to get the biggest bang for your buck.

What’s in a brand? (Hint: It’s more than just lead gen)

For many, bottom-of-the-funnel strategies (or, as we at iFocus like to say, Leg 3 tactics) that produce new leads are the obvious first choice. Driving form submissions on your website or increasing phone calls are an immediate need for most businesses, so the majority of marketing dollars are allocated towards lead generation channels, like paid search advertising. However, it’s important to understand that these tactics only reach individuals who are actively searching for keywords or products related to your business. This leaves a whopping 80% of the population left in the dark!

At the end of the day, the effectiveness of your marketing strategies comes down to starting a relationship even before the consumer has a need for your specific product or service.the consumer journey is more like a ball of yarn

Given this, it’s important to acknowledge that there are different digital strategies that work collectively to influence consumers throughout their decision-making process (and that decision making process is no longer a linear one). According to the Harvard Business Review, 73% of today’s consumers confirm they use more than one channel during a shopping journey.

The ever-changing changing patterns of behavior in an “always-on” digital environment indicates that consumers are now being influenced by more resources than ever before, and their path to purchase looks more like a tangled ball of yarn than a linear model of behavior.

The good news here is that the basics of decision-making still come down to three primary elements of persuasion

  1. Ethical Appeal: A consumer’s overall trust in your brand.
  2. Logical Appeal: Quality, price, and long-term value.
  3. Emotional Appeal: Your brand’s ability to address the things consumers care about.

In this post, we’ll dive into the first element, ethical appeal. Or in marketing terms, brand awareness tactics.

How to establish a brand message and build trust.

In order to succeed in winning the consumer’s ultimate decision to do business with your brand, you must first engage with them before they’re ever in need of your product or service. The goal here is to target your ideal audience and help them develop familiarity with your brand so that you can establish trust (a key component in any long-term relationship, right?). 

In fact, 82% of consumers searching online favor brands that they know.

Consider the following commercials: 

Amazon’s 2021 Super Bowl commercial is a hilarious example of the personalized relationship consumers have with Alexa (planting the seed that Alexa meets any of their needs).

Another great branding example comes from the burrito champion of the world, Chipotle.

In this commercial, Chipotle asserts that choosing a sustainable, “real” option has the power to impact farmers, communities, and our climate. Talk about ethical and emotional appeal – we’re not crying, you’re crying! 

These commercials aren’t directly asking the consumer to take action, are they? They’re actually aimed at establishing what their brand is all about, and increasing brand awareness in front of the audience they want to influence. They leverage the things consumers care about, such as convenience, intuition, flexibility, customization, fresh products, etc.

So how does all of this impact your business? Let’s break it down.

Craft a marketing strategy for your brand.

If you want your brand to be the one a consumer chooses at the end of their decision-making process, then we have to get your brand name in front of them as early in that process as possible. This way, we can begin to establish trust between your brand and the target consumer. 

To establish trust, it’s important to ensure the consumer is exposed to your brand’s name and primary messaging frequently enough to derive conscious name recognition and recall. Once this has been established, when the consumer is in need of the service or product you provide, your brand is more likely to come to mind!

As a result, the consumer may go to Google and search for your brand by name instead of searching for, “best ____ near me,” which eliminates roughly 90% of the competition right out of the gate.

In our experience, some of the best brand awareness strategies online include

Since these strategies aren’t direct lead generation tactics, the success of these campaigns is measured by the number of times your ad appeared on a screen, the number of clicks or engagements with the ad itself, increases in your website’s direct and organic traffic, the average session duration of those site visits, and overall lead actions coming in from your website month over month.

Over time, these strategies will have a significant impact on your brand’s visibility, perception, and overall resonance with your target audience, which is the most important step in earning their business when it matters most. To paraphrase the famous Maya Angelou, people will forget what you do or say, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.

If you’re interested in learning more about strategies that can help your brand win in this area, we’d love to chat. Drop us a line and let’s get your name out there.

Written by our VP of Business Development, Kristina Spooner.