When researching marketing, promotion and advertising one will inevitably come across ‘building brand awareness’ as a goal for ads, free content etc. At first glance this seems very desirable and necessary. Of course why wouldn’t you want to have more people knowing about your brand/company? This is fine in theory and for large corporations who have huge budgets and can afford waste but building awareness is most certainly not for small businesses.
There are two points to clarify:
1) Every time you put out an ad or promotion, or any time the public is exposed to your company you are building awareness, this is a desirable side effect. But the reason you are doing the ad/promo in the first place is to get a sale.
2) It is another thing entirely to JUST try to make people aware of your business without trying to sell anything or without giving them anything of value. A purely ‘brand awareness’ promotion will not seek to sell anything.
Ads bring in business and raise awareness. Content marketing gives something of value, raises awareness and if done enough will bring in business.
Why is it a Waste?
When a small business spends money on promotion/advertising it is doing so for one precise reason: to sell products/service so as to generate revenue. This must be the purpose of promotion. It must be getting tangible results and driving business in. Large corporations have enough margin to spend money on things that don’t generate revenue. But small businesses don’t, and have to make every bit count.
The fatal flaw in the rational of ‘building brand awareness’ for a small businesses is plain to see. Its purpose is to claim a piece of the consumer’s mind, and make him remember your brand. This is a terrific feat. The average American is exposed to hundreds if not thousands of ads a day, some of which are strictly ‘brand awareness’ and not selling anything. The acid test for this is to ask yourself: remember one ad you say today out of the hundreds.
If building brand awareness has its goal to win a place in the mind of the consumer it would have to have a profound life changing effect on him, and ads and promotion will not do that. However, personal contact can.
So what is the best way to build brand awareness? By providing peerless customer service, and showing great care. By this you will be remembered forever in the mind of that customer. Far more lasting and impacting than any ad.