Global marketers are united in stating that building brand awareness is their top objective. Today, amid media fragmentation and sources of brand equity sources evolving, brands need to leverage an array of channels to reach the widest audiences. Ha? People are aware of many brands, but that doesn’t lead to conversion.
(Nielsen) Marketers’ top objective makes sense, as the need to drive awareness has never been more important. In addition to the prevalence of consumer choice and access, some traditional sources of brand equity are less apparent than before the pandemic simply because of reduced visibility. With many consumers shopping less regularly at physical stores, for example, the frequency of seeing a product on a shelf or a sign in a store window has declined.
I work with many brokers and salespeople, and I can assure you that brand awareness is the last thing that’s on customers’ minds. Consumers are aware of many brands within a category, but that doesn’t mean they will become customers of the brand.
Some believe consumer brand preferences are driven by aligning their values and the brands’ purpose. Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed consumers being more and more vocal about their love or disdain for brands, supporting or boycotting brands that don’t fit their needs or values. We know a brand’s image is of increasing importance; whether it engenders trust-and how it behaves towards its employees, its community, and the planet-are all growing in significance in our buying decisions.
While 73% of surveyed consumers say brands must act now for the good of society and the planet, 71% don’t believe brands will deliver on their promises, causing accusations of what the report calls “CSR washing” — a failure of corporate social responsibility (CSR) that could further endanger brands.
A significant shift has happened in the relationship between consumers and brands. Today, consumers are more in control of their shopping experience-where they find inspiration, how they shop, and how they share data. Balancing inspiration and customer experience with privacy can feel like a tall order for brands.
Brands can foster lasting relationships with consumers by understanding their evolving needs and reaching them where they are, on their terms.
Remember three-quarters (75%) of brands could disappear and consumers wouldn’t care or would easily find a replacement, per Havas Media Group’s 2021 Meaningful Brands report. This is the 12th consecutive year where the value of brands has declined, according to the biannual report.
Yotpo’s annual State of Brand Loyalty survey reveals how hard brands have to work to earn loyalty. Nearly 40% of global shoppers said they’d need to buy from a brand five or more times before considering themselves loyal — an 11% increase YoY. Additional findings further prove that today’s consumers want to feel valued every time they shop, and they expect their relationships with brands to go far beyond the transaction.
How Shoppers Define Brand Loyalty
- “I recommend the brands to others” (47%).
- “I’m proud to be associated with the brand” (43%).
- “I buy from the brand despite cheaper competitors” (42%).
Beware of polls and surveys.
Consumers are great at being good, loyal, worldly brand people when asked a question, but in real life, when they want a particular brand because it makes them feel good, they will do it. Amazin, for example, has been in the news for the wrong reasons yet people still love to shop there.
Brands need to do a better job of listening, and right now, listening should tell them that consumers are pissed off about higher prices when corporations are making record profits and charging the same fee for smaller servings.
Does this mean brand awareness is meaningless? No, not at all; it means that it will take a lot more than awareness to move your product.