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Warning: Brand Awareness Isn’t a KPI

awarenessRecently, our team sent out a survey to more than 150 Influence & Co. clients to find out how we’re doing and to gather some more information about our customer base. One question we asked was, “What are your main goals for working with Influence & Co.?” The responses were varied, and most customers chose more than one of our 10 options, but what we found most fascinating was that 98 percent of our customers cited brand awareness as a main goal. 

While this is great to see because we know our executive branding service helps clients improve brand awareness, it’s also disconcerting because brand awareness is vague, up for interpretation, and so disconnected from a real business key performance indicator. The issue is that if we don’t know why a customer is focused on increasing brand awareness, we can’t ensure we’re achieving a solution for the root of the issue. 

For this reason, we decided to dive deeper and start asking these questions on sales calls, in kickoff meetings with clients, and throughout our entire engagement process to ensure we’re always on strategy and helping our clients accomplish real business KPIs. The questions we came up with are:

  • What will increased brand awareness help your company do or accomplish? 
  • How do you currently measure brand awareness?
  • How will you know that we’ve increased brand awareness? 
  • Who do you want to be more aware of your brand?
  • Awareness is one piece of the puzzle, but what exactly do you want individuals to be aware of about your company? What messaging should people remember about you? 

If we don’t know the answers to at least a few of these questions, we’ll be in a constant state of wondering whether something is working. We’ll have to equate social shares and article views to brand awareness — even if we know those don’t make sense as valuable metrics. Ultimately, our relationship will fail. 

If we do know the answers, however, we can develop a strategy around them.

How We Achieved This With a Client in the Insurance Industry

To get a better idea of how a situation like this pans out, here’s a recent example:

We’re working with a client in the insurance industry. During our initial phone call, we discovered that the client wanted to create a full content marketing campaign to improve brand awareness. The company is currently going through a rebrand and is in the process of creating some new insurance products. 

We knew our content marketing package could definitely increase brand awareness by getting articles published in online publications coming from experts within the insurance company, but we also knew the company could accomplish a lot more. So we opted to dig deeper to better understand the client’s goals. 

To do this, we went through the list of questions mentioned above and found out these answers:  

  • What will increased brand awareness help your company do or accomplish? 

    For this specific client, increased brand awareness would help the company stay top of mind with the banks it wanted to sell insurance to. So when these banks needed to purchase insurance products, they would think of our client first.  
  • How do you currently measure brand awareness?

    Our client had no specific measurement for brand awareness and no benchmark for where the company stood. 
  • How will you know that we’ve increased brand awareness? 

    The client cited that new inbound interest in the company’s insurance products would be its measurement.  
  • Who specifically do you want to be more aware of your brand?

    This was the best question we could have asked. As it turns out, this client has a very specific target audience — there are only about 5,000 banks in the country that would be good clients for the company, so it needed to increase brand awareness with these 5,000 banks, not the nation as a whole. 
  • Awareness is one piece of the puzzle, but what exactly do you want individuals to be aware of about your company? What messaging should people remember about you? 

    This client wanted these specific banks to know about the new insurance products. 

The Strategy We’re Moving Forward With

Armed with this information, we devised a completely different strategy than we would have by using just brand awareness as a goal. We ultimately moved forward with a strategy that includes:

  1. A targeted email campaign. We’re writing an email newsletter that educates banking professionals on topics that are of interest to them. Some are about insurance, and some are not — but they’re all centered on themes that the company’s executives know a lot about and can provide valuable insight into.

    Our client already had email addresses for 1,500 of the banks the company wanted to reach, so we crafted an initial email it could send to these individuals asking them if they’d like to opt in to the newsletter campaign.
  1. Bylined articles in niche publications. We’re getting one article published each month by a vice president at the company that touches on some of the same topics as the newsletters. These articles are published in online publications that reach bankers and those interested in finance.

    Each of these articles links to a landing page on the client’s website, where individuals can sign up for the email newsletter. 
  1. Training the sales team to leverage content. We’re coaching sales reps on how to utilize the published guest posts and newsletter content in the sales cycle to get back in touch with old leads and educate and nurture new leads — ultimately shortening their sales cycle and increasing conversions using content. 

This strategy is going to help the insurance company reach its exact target audience, build brand awareness and trust within that community, and stay top of mind. So when bankers are looking for new insurance products, our client will be the first company they think of.  

Without digging deeper into why you want to increase brand awareness and developing your strategy around the answer to that question, you’ll always end up just creating content for content’s sake and accomplishing no one’s goals. Remember to take time and really home in on the specific goals your team is trying to accomplish, and your content’s success will reflect that.the-science-behind-getting-100-leads

About Kelsey Raymond

Kelsey is the President and cofounder of Influence & Co. She loves reading, learning, golf, orange Gatorade, and, most importantly, her amazing I&Co. team.

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