You know your brand-building effort is successful when the people of your target market no longer remember NOT knowing you. Think about some of the most ubiquitous brands you know. McDonald’s, Pepsi and Coke. Do you remember your first exposure to these brands? If you’re like most people, you don’t. The goal of Targeted Branding is to create, within your well-defined target-market, that same sort of ubiquity, and with it, a sense that you’ve “always” been present. But the types of marketing tools employed in the creation of that universal brand awareness – billboards, signage, targeted print-ads, local event sponsorships – these are not reliably cited by the consumer when presenting themselves as customers. So how do we know they’re working?
Here’s a simple low-cost, low-tech way to measure the responsiveness of the consumers within your target market (people that have been exposed to the brand-building campaign) against a “control” group; people who have not been exposed to your brand-building:
- Put a wall-map of the metro area up in your office.
- Draw borders around the area in which you’ve deployed your brand-building campaign.
- Mail out your promotional piece to the whole of your service area, including the area(s) where you’ve placed your branding campaign pieces and area(s) in which these pieces have NOT been placed.
- Each time you receive a direct response to ANY of your ads, regardless of which one, indicate the location of that in-bound customer with a colored push-pin on the map.
- Each time you change your “marketing mix” i.e. change, add or drop a promotional coupon, change the color of the push-pins you’re using to indicate the location of each in-bound customer.
- Be sure that the “key” to this map clearly and accurately documents the exact media-mix represented by each push-pin color.
The pattern that will emerge over time will likely show that there are more customers overall within the area in which you’ve pursued a brand-building campaign. The group of people with whom you’ve made yourself familiar – inside this perimeter – are more responsive to your promotional offers. They are also more likely to choose you from among a list of competing companies in directional contexts as well. The difference in responsiveness (to coupons, etc) between the area targeted with your Brand-building campaign and the area outside the target may be accurately attributed to your brand-building efforts.
Here’s an anecdote that may help you envision this dynamic: An insurance agency had positioned its office in a strip-mall center adjacent to an affluent suburban neighborhood. For years the agent had a prominent signage in this high-traffic grocery-anchored center. He participated in sponsoring local teams, maintained ads in the local neighborhood directories, newsletters and church bulletins. He also maintained a modest display ad his ad in the local phone book. His business grew and did well. But one thing bothered him. Nearly ALL of his in-bound clients cited the phone book ad when asked what had brought them in. Finally he decided that all of these other things on which he was spending his dollars were failing to bring him business. No one ever cited his store-front signage. So he moved his office to an upstairs location. No one ever cited the street signage for which he’d been paying extra, so he discontinued that. He felt bad about pulling his sponsorship from local teams, but really – business is business – and that team sponsorship, he thought – wasn’t bringing him any! So it went. Everything that failed to be cited by the inbound customer was cut out. As you might guess, his name and practice were soon out of sight. And out of mind. And eventually out of business.
So remember, it’s not just what the consumer is referencing at the time of the in-bound call you need to know about. You need to keep track of what is driving consumer selections. And very often – it’s recognition of your brand.