Thursday, September 8, 2011

Awareness Alone Is Not an Advantage

This week, the Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo! was fired. Which got me thinking about what a great brand name Yahoo! is. Furthermore, the brand was an early mover in the internet search business. Yet, despite its quick jump on the category and a name that translated into incredibly strong brand awareness, the company is the search engine equivalent to dial up internet. To be honest, I don't know too much about Yahoo! currently. I haven't been to the portal site in years and I'm guessing I'm not alone in my confession.

Obviously, there is a massive disconnect between awareness and conversion. The reason is that awareness, while an important step in the process of brand building is not the process by itself. In fact, awareness alone does nothing. They're countless brands struggling for consumer cash despite high "awareness." It would be challenging to find people who can recall nothing about brands like Kodak, Chevrolet, Burger King or Yahoo!. The problem is that they cannot recall how each of these brands are superior to their respective competition. Consumers are not aware of their brand advantages. That's a big problem.

Developing the advantages of your brand is the first and most essential step to building a brand. They should be ingrained in your marketing and never be forgotten. In fact, they (not your logo or pretty typeface) are your brand. The next step is to make sure they're conveyed; whether a completely unspoken or proclaimed loudly in advertising everywhere, people must be able to identify them and know the ways your brand is better. It's misguided marketing to believe brand building is just a game of being seen or heard from more often.

While this sounds extremely basic, I see a lot of marketers forget this branding principle regularly.

Post-riff extra-credit note: The best brands in the world are not the ones with the most brand advantages but the most desirable and best conveyed.

This post was also published on Talent Zoo Media's Beneath the Brand.

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