What is brand salience? And how does it impact how well your brand is seen by the world?
Insight: Brands are constantly fighting for recognition and cite brand awareness as their top goal. But in the fight for differentiation, working on brand salience should be another priority.
Data: 89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is the most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation. (Content Marketing Institution)
What’s the step change: Learn what drives brand salience and use that to be top of mind to your target audience in critical purchase moments.
What Is Brand Salience?
Brand salience is the degree by which your brand is thought of or noticed by consumers when they make a purchase decision.
Typically, strong brands have higher brand salience, whereas weak brands have little or none.
Without brand salience, people would find it difficult to choose your brand throughout their micro-moments or when they need to make a purchasing decision.
Brand salience can be achieved in two ways: through memory and through attention.
Memory salience means people remember or are able to think about your brand in their moments of choice. Attention salience refers to brands being able to capture someone’s attention at the moment of choice.
When consumers make a buying decision, their choices can be disrupted through these cues. Brands should, therefore, find ways to promote good memory structures to improve brand salience.
How Can Brands Become More Salient?
The most common way to achieve brand salience is by making use of distinctive brand assets that promote attention or create positive memories of a brand to their audience.
By coming up with ways to develop different memory connections to a buyer’s mind, it becomes easier for brands to become top of mind at instances where it matters the most.
Top brands often do this through positive storytelling or creating meaning for a brand. Promoting a brand’s values and differentiating itself from everyone else is also key to brand salience.
Below are five actionable ways to increase brand salience.
1. Look for emotional impact or effective frequency to drive ingrained memory structures.
Does your content stand out from everyone else? Are your design assets distinctly yours? Highlight your brand assets in such a way that your audience can pick you out from a crowd.
Use emotive storytelling to create distinctive and memorable assets. The Harvard Business Review reports that customers who have an emotional connection with a brand have a 3x higher lifetime value.
TV advertising still remains the brand builder of effective campaigns. In fact, Google and Facebook continue to ramp up their spend on TV.
2. Be bold and authentic.
Differentiation vs distinctiveness is fought from the currency of saliency, so you need to be bold and authentic.
According to Investpro, 22% of consumers say authenticity is the most important brand attribute. Memory can be correlated to external cues that people see, hear, or feel. Your ads and brand assets should reflect this. No matter where you look today, the brands that are authentic to who they are and their beliefs and dare to be different are often more successful.
In a previous post, we talked about how distinctive elements can communicate the brand easily and help consumers to identify the brand. If you want to create and reinforce these memory structures, you’ll need to be different and distinct.
Learn more: Brand Growth: How to Make Your Brand Distinct
3. Find new ways to reach other potential buyers.
Today, we see the development and rise of new channels to reach audiences from across the globe. This also means new and better ways to reach out and create memory structures with your customers every day.
Be creative and try new methods of communication that help you become more relevant to your target audience. Explore podcasts, get creative with your email marketing, use video storytelling, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new technology.
If it means getting closer to where your customers are, that is where you ought to be.
4. Bravery is still the biggest differentiator
If you’re looking to make your marketing more effective, you have to be brave. A report from AdAge shows that out of 6,000 marketing campaigns studied, those that stuck to the usual and were more conservative performed lesser than those that tried something new and went beyond the usual.
If you want to be distinct from everyone else, you shouldn’t be afraid to take the risk.
5. Take the 60/40 rule on marketing effectiveness to the next level
Les Binet and Peter Field, best known for their report on Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era, purported the 60/40 rule on brand building and activation marketing and that to win, you need to find the optimum balance between both.
According to them, the strategic backbone of effectiveness is in identifying your target, your position, and being clear on your objectives.
Effectiveness comes from striking a balance between what is done for the long term versus the short term for brands.
Binet and Field recommended that 60% should be focused on brand building and 40% on sales activation, which may differ according to the type of brands and their unique situations. For premium brands, brand-building needs to get amplified to 65%.
The context constantly changes for different brands, and this should influence their approach to effectiveness while considering how people make choices on the products and services they buy, brand pricing, innovation, category, and brand development.
Binet and Field recommend that as brands get to their sixth month, brand-building needs to take over sales activation as the latter isn’t too memorable.
Brand-building is needed to sustain the price, and both will need to work together to find balance. With over 500 digital era for-profit case studies on effectiveness, brands need to look into how they can use both in their marketing strategy.
Tying It Together
With so many brands fighting for differentiation, it is high time for brands to step up their game and explore how they can achieve saliency using multiple marketing factors. As brands grow, there should be a clearer focus on how they can be “good across all” versus “perfect in any.”
But combining salience, distinctiveness, differentiation, and meaning together, brands are far better able to permanently link themselves to their audience’s memory structures so they are remembered as the first choice in critical purchase moments.