The other day I read an incredible article on brand salience, not a term I hear thrown around very often. I’ve heard several definitions but like this one the best, “The degree to which a certain brand is thought about or noticed when a customer is in a buying situation.” Don’t confuse this with “Top of mind” which is thinking about brands in any situation. Brand salience is specifically in a buying situation. The article used Subway as great example of company doing a good job building brand salience. But it got me thinking, how does it apply to small businesses? And what about B2B businesses?
For many small B2B businesses that rely on selling lower volumes of product or services at higher prices and rely on a sales team to push them, the stakes per transaction are higher than, say a company with the opposite model. More time is spent on researching each prospect, getting through to the decision maker, building relationships, maintaining quality customer service etc. Therefore brand salience is more critical than ever at those key decision points.
Two factors contribute to a brand’s salience: Quantity and Quality.
I really like Randall Beard’s explanation of Quantity, “In buying situations, consumers are often driven by mental cues that trigger their thoughts around brand consideration sets. The more memory structures your brand is linked to, the more likely it is to be thought of during the buying decision.”
In order to come up with the mental cues that would cause a prospect to consider your widget during that critical buying moment, you need to figure out what the primary factors are when choosing that type of widget. Let’s be honest, hopefully you already know the factors and buying behaviors surrounding your product or service. And HOPEFULLY there’s solid research to back it up. (That’s the quality part.) Those factors should cover every part of your offering that would even remotely be considered in the buying process. Elements such as customer service, customer support, the product or service itself, its price, its values and benefits etc…
There are two ways Romaniuk and Sharp suggest brands can accomplish this.
1. Executional memory structures: How your brand looks, feels and is represented:
- Texture of logo
- Ad and media campaigns
- promotional products
NO matter what it is, all of these elements need to have consistent branding that resonates with your customers and properly reflects your brand.
2. Focus on defining the cues against a common equity. For example, the different cues around selling software to B2B companies would be things like:
- Calls returned in less than two hours
- Same day service
- 24×7 Help line
- Same day service
- Device installation
- End user traning
Thats a lot to think about but to tie it together, here are 5 ways you can strengthen and communicate your companies brand salience.
- Make sure every person in every department knows and champions these essential cues.
- Use each cue to create content and resources for your audience. content can be in the form of an email newsletter, company blog, pdf’s, ebooks etc.
- Brand EVERY piece of content with your distinctive executtional memory structures
- Categorize your testimonials by each cue and have them available for prospects in various locations.
- Incorporate these cues into your educational materials.