New research from LinkedIn reveals that at any one time, 95% of B2B buyers are not in the market for the thing you are selling – so while all brands want instant results, building awareness will always be key.
Whether you are selling carpets, photocopiers, technology or trucks – these are big purchasing decisions which do not happen every day.
Nielsen’s 2022 Annual Marketing Report says building brand awareness will be marketers’ top objective for the next year, ahead of customer acquisition, retention and advocacy.
In terms of industry, consumer tech dominates the importance of brand awareness landscape, with electronics and smartphones leading the way, ahead of clothing and shoes.
We asked marketing, data, agency and communications experts from various businesses to share their insights on justifying awareness spend.
Michael Lamb, creative strategist at M&C Saatchi Talk: ‘We want to be talked about’
“It’s about achieving a positive share of the conversation. We want influential journalists writing about the brand. Expert voices commenting and people talking about and engaging with the brand on social platforms. Using this approach, we’re uncovering insights that can better shape marketing strategies. We know who is aware of a brand, but now we also know what they really think and feel, and most importantly if they’re buying the brand’s products or services.”
Amanda Walls, founder and director of Cedarwood Digital: ‘Measuring brand awareness takes a multi-faceted approach’
“We tend to use a combination of traditional PR & reach tools combined with direct data analysis tools (Google Search Console for example) to see how many people are searching directly for our brand even if they aren’t clicking on it (so how many impressions they are receiving). This in turn allows us to evaluate the benefits of any marketing we are undertaking.
“From a return on ad spend (ROAS) perspective, we tend to assign a value to each customer based on how engaged they are with the website (how much time they spend on the website and the types of pages they visit). By mapping this together with the data from Google Search Console and analytics, we are able to evaluate how effective our brand awareness campaigns are and attribute a loose ROAS to them.”
Jessica Lewis, marketing director at Relative Insight: ‘Smart tech can help analysis brand effectiveness’
“We prefer to focus instead on brand ‘perception’ with AI and qualitative and quantitative text analysis enabling organisations to understand why consumers feel a certain way about a brand, how they differentiate between competitors, and what exactly it is that they like or dislike about a product or service. These insights paint a much more colourful picture and can contribute to shaping an effective marketing strategy much better than the mere counting of brand mentions or a word cloud ever could.”
Jed Mole, CMO at Acxiom: ‘Combine the qualitative and quantitative approaches’
“In the absence of perfect measurement, what typically works well is a blend of surveyed qualitative and quantitative research along with key digital statistics, for example audience metrics and app and website activity, as well as share of voice analysis. Understanding where customers have come from, and how they’ve heard about the brand, is also very valuable and there are a lot of technologies out there that can help with that.”
Steve Richards, data partner at Wunderman Thompson UK: ‘Research and focus groups work’
“We use a mixed economy, blending a range of approaches from traditional market research surveys, to digital focus groups (conducted on a global scale), to real-time website analysis and complex econometrics. We nest ROI into all our measurements either by asking purchase propensity questions or by explicitly modelling our web analytics and econometrics to sales.”
Sophie Marsden, director of LIT Communication: ‘Track potential views from other publications’
“Some of the ways we measure it include tracking direct website traffic and the potential reach/views of media coverage that we secure for clients (based on a publication’s readership or for digital, their website traffic). We also track brand mentions and links and then look deeper into website traffic that’s derived from third-party coverage links.
“Additionally, we track increases in Google search volume for the brand name, and general search popularity when compared to competitors. Last but not least, social media engagement is another great way to measure brand awareness.”
Becky Stead, digital PR specialist at 43 Clicks North: ‘Monitor for months or even years after’
“Within all of our brand awareness campaigns we monitor results for months and even years afterwards. We monitor the number of times a company’s name is published online as well as the traffic to those sites. This allows us to see how many consumers will have seen that brand name. We also refer this to searches on Google for the brand in the time after it was published to monitor increases that can lead to more traffic to the brand website, consumers spending longer on the website and then completing with a purchase.”
Wayne Deakin, global principal, creative, Wolff Olins: ‘You need an end-to-end strategy’
“In today’s disruptive landscape, brand awareness coming from ‘cultural engineering’ to gain real traction ensures a brand remains statistically significant and firmly rooted in both our hearts and minds – not just fleetingly, but long term. This requires an approach that goes beyond short-term tactics and media spend and is much more modern and end-to-end – spanning internal – within your employee culture – and external, across every aspect of customer experience as well as marketing.”
Scott Manson, CMO, Wunder: ‘CFOs respond to a value-based approach’
“Brands need to be tracked on an annual basis and this measurement needs to use a mix of metrics from different sources. So, by all means use traditional market research, but it should be supported by everything from social media engagement to market share movement. In my experience, CFOs are far more likely to respond to a value-based approach – showing how investment in a brand can create financial value – than more traditional approaches, such as marketing mix modelling, which fails to take into account customer experience or the synergies across media channels.”
Giorgos Mouratidis, marketing lead at Stasher.com: ‘See if organic visitors become repeat buyers’
“We define and measure our brand awareness in various ways, mainly through monitoring social media and measuring our mentions on our core markets. Other ways include analysing how many of our organic visitors become repeat buyers and the volume of our branded searches. Overall, providing a great user experience is what we rely on to build brand trust. ROI is measured by custom dashboards and analytics that correlate the impact of branded terms/direct searches with overall revenue.”