Can you succeed without brand awareness?

A little over a year ago I wrote about balancing brand awareness and lead generation. I was inspired to revisit this topic after conducting a buyer persona project for a business-to-business (B2B) client.

I interviewed more than 15 salespeople across the client’s organization, and the same exact phrase came out of every person’s mouth when I asked them what marketing could do to help them sell more. Can you guess the phrase? Brand awareness.

Why? Because while it is possible to generate leads without brand awareness, building brand awareness is critical for long-term success. It is much easier to generate leads for a known, trusted brand. And easier to convert those leads into sales.

Every single one of the salespeople I spoke with said that most buyers felt it was risky to purchase from them when they had never heard of them – and they had heard of the competition.

Think about it, and you’ll find it’s true in your own life. The larger the purchase, the more important it is that you’ve heard of the brand before.

Brand awareness is critical for long-term success

Here are 3 reasons why building brand awareness is crucial for long-term success:

  • Trust and credibility: A well-known, trusted brand tends instills confidence and credibility among buyers. When buyers are familiar with your brand, they are more likely to trust its products and/or services. Trust makes us more receptive to considering buying a brand’s offerings.
  • Recognition and recall: Brands that are memorable and recognizable are more likely to be top-of-mind when buyers are considering a purchase. This is especially important in B2B brands with long sales cycles. Since your brand isn’t always in front of a buyer at time of want or need (unlike cookies in the grocery store), a buyer’s ability to recall your brand when they do have a need is critical.
  • Reduced friction in decision-making: A strong brand presence can reduce the perceived risk and uncertainty associated with trying a new product or service, thereby facilitating the decision to make a purchase.

Clearly brand awareness is critical to a company’s success. So why don’t more companies invest more in brand awareness?

Companies need to invest in brand awareness to ensure long-term revenue.

Why companies don’t invest in brand awareness

There are 4 main reasons organizations fail to invest more in brand awareness:

  • Short-term vs. long-term returns: While brand awareness initiatives yield huge benefits, those benefits do not result in immediate revenue. Therefore, some companies prioritize strategies that offer quicker returns, such as lead-generation campaigns.
  • Measurement challenges: Quantifying the return on investment (ROI) for brand awareness efforts can be complex. While brand awareness contributes to overall brand equity and recognition, most companies do not make sales on brand awareness alone. It’s simply one factor. Measuring actual brand value is also difficult and often contested, leading many companies to not focus on it at all.
  • Budget constraints: Some companies, especially smaller businesses and startups, often prioritize allocating funds to activities that deliver more immediate and measurable results to ensure survival and growth in the short term.
  • Misunderstanding of importance: Not all companies fully grasp the significance of brand awareness or might undervalue its long-term impact on business growth and customer loyalty.

Building brand awareness can be costly and time-consuming, leading many organizations to focus marketing dollars elsewhere. But brand awareness is critical for long-term success.

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