Brand Awareness: Why Traditional Approaches Fail

24 January 2014

The marketing industry is constantly evolving, and it will come as no shock to anybody involved that traditional forms of advertising, such as TV and magazine ads, billboards, and radio commercials, are losing their impact. Recent research has shown that only 8% of consumers trust advertising, and as more and more TV viewers watch ‘on demand’ rather than live, and consumers read newspapers and magazines on mobile devices rather than paper, old-style ‘interruption advertising’ is easier and easier to ignore. Combine this with the fact that we are each exposed to around 5,000 brand messages per day, and it is no surprise that we just tune it all out.

Because of this, businesses are having to come up with new and creative ways to get our attention and interact with their customers to build brand awareness. Increasingly, the solution is to embrace media across several channels, the careful targeting of content to consumer demographics, and being interesting and relevant.

Looking at brand awareness and visibility, Sharon Michaels concludes that, “the ultimate marketing goal is to have your target market think of you, and your company, when they are ready to buy”. So how can this be achieved?


Blogging is pretty essential these days, as a way to show your relevance, provide value and information to your customers, attract search engine attention and reach out to your core demographic. Almost 1/3 of consumers say that reading authoritative blogs influences what they buy, and a blog is easy, cheap and quick to set up. There really is no excuse not to!

Reach your customer where they are

SDL use the example of the Home Office’s Talk to Frank project, a website for young people about drug use that is clearly targeted to the teenage demographic, in contrast to the information on the same topic elsewhere on government websites. The language, design and approach of Talk to Frank displays an awareness of its core audience and a willingness to adapt to reach them in the most effective way.

Be social

There is no debate to be had, having a strong, branded social media presence increases the reach and recognition of a company’s identity. The messages conveyed by this combination of relationship building with value provision will reinforce other positive associations in the mind of the consumer when they see them, complementing more traditional forms of marketing or targeted PPC advertisements.

Be visible

Make sure your brand name and your logo are in all the places your customers are. Be consistent and be visible so that you are never far from the minds of your consumers: when they are ready to make a purchase, you will be the first people they think of.

Maximise the usefulness of your content

If you have a blog full of helpful and relevant articles, consider compiling them and publishing a book or an eBook. Ask yourself what problems your customers face, and create a product that offers them a solution. Technology and services exist to make this a straight-forward process with little initial outlay, and the results will award authority and recognition to your brand.

Other ways of reusing existing content can be to share instructional or marketing videos from your website to YouTube (because 52% of consumers find that videos help them to feel more confident about a purchase), to publish press releases as news stories on your website, and to create a ‘question and answer’ section of a website dedicated to responses to the queries that arise most frequently on your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The more engaging your content, and the more consumers interact with it, the more “stickability” your brand will have in their minds. Don’t broadcast advertisements without boosting their message with educational or enjoyable content elsewhere, and don’t expect traditional marketing to have the impact it might have had 10 or 20 years ago, if it is not backed up with a more holistic approach to brand awareness including social media, multiple outreach channels and a creative, innovative online presence.