Does your baloney have a first name?

Most of you probably answered O-S-C-A-R, but your baloney is most likely named O-N-S-A-L-E. The reality is that even though we all know the jingle, very few of us actually buy the product.

Every day companies spend millions of dollars on clever ads, catchy jingles and other ways to capture our attention all in the name of building brand awareness. Most companies feel that brand awareness equals brand strength. The theory is that if the company has someone’s top of the mind awareness (the first name to pop into someone’s mind when they think about a product category), then the person will faithfully buy the company’s products.

We know the tag lines, we laugh at the ads, we all sing along with the jingles, but are we loyal to these companies? Probably not, and in most cases we do not even buy these products. A number of years back, millions loved to say, “WASS-UP?” but few ever bought the beer.

Recently, I spoke with one local business owner who spends a quarter of a million dollars each year on radio advertisements which he can not directly link to a single sale. When I asked him why, he replied, “I am building brand awareness. I am making sure they know who I am, so when they need me, they will call.” The real question is …will they?

I grew up on Cape Cod, and each year I knew summer had arrived when I heard the Thompson’s Clam Bar song. As I write this article, the tune is playing in my head, but in the 25 years I lived on Cape Cod, I never once took “Route 28 to the clam bar sign for the tastiest eating from noon to nine.”

The notion that brand awareness guarantees brand loyalty is flawed logic. Companies often point to the popularity of these “brand building” ads and call them a success saying, “everyone knows who we are and they love our ads.” But awareness doesn’t mean guaranteed sales, let alone brand loyalty.  Just because we know all the lyrics to a local glass company’s ad, it doesn’t mean we will call them when our windshield is broken.

Even though awareness is important at the early stages of brand development, it is a very small part of building a successful brand. In order to create true brand loyalty, you must develop a meaningful relationship with your potential customers. If this relationship is based on trust and you provide your customers with consistent experiences beyond their expectations, you will be able to recruit loyal advocates. These loyal brand advocates will share the company’s vision, care about its success, see the company’s products as the only logical choice and spread the word to others.

Therefore, building a lasting relationship with people who become your advocates is the only way to long term brand success. If you think that awareness alone will get you there, then you are full of B-O-L-O-G-N-A!

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow