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Why Is Brand Salience Important for Buying Decisions?

Why Is Brand Salience Important for Buying Decisions

You need a new pair of sneakers – what immediately comes to mind?

Do you instantly think about buying new sneakers from brands such as Adidas and Nike, or are you the type of person that isn’t a brand-slave and anything will do?

As is probably expected, the first option is much more common, like it or not, and has to do with the topic we are going to talk about today: brand salience.

You see, more often than not, the name of the brand, and every association that it creates in the mind of consumers, is the main reason why people purchase from such brands, instead of from generic brands.

That is why it is essential that startups begin building their brand identity sooner rather than later. The same goes for companies that do not have a strong branding strategy – sometimes a rebranding can do wonders for them. But they should have in mind that the rebranding is a complicated process that needs additional resources such as solid expertise in brand management, a WordPress agency helping with the implementation of the creative ideas their marketing team may have, as well as strong customer support or sales team verifying the results of this new market positioning.

In any case, branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, even though some may fail to completely understand its importance.

Now, onto defining brand salience, how you can create it for your brand and measure its success.

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What Is Brand Salience?

Brand salience is a marketing KPI that indicates the degree to which customers think of your brand when they are making a purchase.

Imagine a person is at the local supermarket. They go to the cereal aisle, because they want to buy a box of cereal. What brands pop up to mind – Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, Cocoa Puffs, Froot Loops?

Or perhaps, you prefer a generic brand like Coco Roos, Apple Drapples, or Mini Spooners? While using a no-brand branding strategy can work, it does not do anything for brand salience.

The first suggestions are brands that 9 out of 10 people would think about just from hearing the word “cereal”. As you can guess, this leads to a higher chance of more sales, higher customer loyalty, and increased brand awareness.

At this point, you might also be wondering if there is any difference between brand salience and brand awareness. Yes, there is. Let us see how both terms differ exactly.

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Brand Salience vs. Brand Awareness

Both terms are often confused. However, even though both share similarities, and are part of the same process, they do have conceptual differences. While brand awareness measures the overall visibility of a brand, brand salience measures the brand’s awareness during the period of purchase.

Brand awareness campaigns aim to make your brand recognizable. For that purpose, they utilize all sorts of mediums, from TV ads to billboards. However, brand salience focuses on that crucial moment when a consumer is about to make their buying decision.

You see, right in front, users do not see billboards, nor TV ads when they are online and deciding where to shop from. This is where, online advertising comes into play, and it can be of great significance, if executed properly.

Google Ads, for instance, are displayed when users search online, therefore they are right in front of people. However, you can’t always rely on them either. Therefore, let us review some important aspects of building brand salience.

Interesting fact: Marketing science professor Byron Sharp has defined 7 rules for brand growth:

  1. Communication and distribution: avoid being silent, and continuously reaching out to all the buyers of the category.
  2. Make sure the brand is easy to buy: find out how the brand fits in with the life of users.
  3. Grab attention frequently: make sure your brand gets noticed.
  4. Build and refresh memory structures: respect the existing associations that make the brand easy to notice and buy.
  5. Create distinctive brand assets: utilize sensory cues to get noticed and stay in the minds of consumers.
  6. Be consistent: avoid making any changes that are not necessary, and make sure your brand keeps being fresh and interesting.
  7. Stay competitive: brands should be easy to buy, there should not be any excuse not to buy it, particular groups of consumers.

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How to Build Brand Salience?

How to Build Brand Salience

  1. Capture the Attention of Users
  2. Run Memorable Marketing Campaigns
  3. Create an Emotional Connection
  4. Test, Analyze and Make Adjustments

1. Capture the Attention of Users

A salience brand knows the importance of capturing the attention and interest of people. The harsh reality is that users have a very short attention span, so you need to truly create something outstanding, if you want to grab and hold their attention.

However, in the case that you actually manage to pull it off, it will pay off later when a customer is thinking about purchasing a certain product, and remembers your brand. There is even real science behind the process.

When a person wants to buy an item, they are less likely to start going through the various options they are aware of, and conduct a list of advantages and setbacks.

Instead, it is far more probable that they will go for the first option that comes to mind.

This is where the brand salience model excels. You want to make sure that your brand is the first thing that comes to mind.

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2. Run Memorable Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns can come in different shapes and sizes. You can decide to only use a single medium like – online (social media, website), offline (TV and radio ads, billboards), etc.

Some businesses go for integrated marketing campaigns that include multiple channels – email, websites, social media, billboards, ads, and so on.

Ultimately, whatever approach you choose, the end goal is the same: encourage people to remember you. You can create a funny, memorable ad, you can experiment with memes, publish snackable content, and so on, and so forth – the options are endless.

When the time comes, and users choose to do business with you, it will be because you are the first brand that comes to mind, which means that you were successful.

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3. Create an Emotional Connection

Emotions are capable of triggering strong responses. Engaging users emotionally can impact their buying decisions, since they will subconsciously let their emotions determine whether to purchase and from where.

Think about it. How often have you bought something you do not really need, just because you felt an inner urge to buy it?

On top of that, an emotional marketing approach will make your brand more memorable, stimulate higher customer loyalty, and set a friendlier tone of voice for your brand.

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4. Test, Analyze and Make Adjustments

You know the saying: if at first you do not succeed, try, and try again. Of course, the point is not to try the same thing over and over again. On the contrary, you should always analyze, and measure the results of your efforts.

You will not always be able to achieve the perfect level of brand salience from the get go. That is okay. Take the necessary steps to adjust, and improve.

Besides, even the best campaigns need to be monitored, and cautiously corrected. Campaigns are not something that you set once, and then you are good forever. You need to constantly check how things are going, and apply the necessary adjustments.

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How Do You Measure Brand Salience?

You can’t exactly open the minds of people to see what they are thinking, can you? Well, not in the surgical way anyway, but actually there are ways to understand what people are thinking, and measure your brand salience.

There are two main methods marketers use to measure their brand salience:

  1. User surveys. Approach things directly and ask your customers what they think about you, what they associate your brand with, and does your brand come to mind when they want to make a purchase. Additionally, you can include more general questions that will help you understand the way your customers think. For instance, you can ask what color comes to mind when they think of healthy food (most people will probably say green).
  2. Focus groups. Focus groups allow you to dig deeper into the responses of people. You can actually spark more of a conversation, and discussion here, as surveys are typically straightforward answers to questions on a list. The goal here is to encourage people to talk more, so you can gain insights into your brand, and see how it performs compared to your competitors.

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Brand salience is extremely important on a psychological level, even though some may neglect its value.

Being able to capture the attention of audiences, connect with them on an emotional level, create memorable marketing campaigns, and, of course, test and measure what you could improve on, is always an asset.

Ultimately, achieving high levels of brand awareness and salience will allow you to sell more effectively, establish stronger relationships with customers, and inspire their loyalty.

The next time a person is thinking about buying a pair of new sneakers, for instance, your brand might be the first thing that comes to their mind. Great success!