Growing Your Business With Brand Awareness
Kevin Dieny: Hello, welcome to the Close The Loop podcast. I am joined by two wonderful hosts. And we are going to be talking about growing your business with brand awareness, which I have to be a totally honest, it's a little bit of an interesting topic. It's usually one, a lot of brands and small businesses stay away from.
The idea of brand awareness seems kind of hokey. So we'll try to un-hokey it for you to try to properly set the stage for why there's importance around brand awareness. And I think the easiest way to define this one is that brand awareness is basically to just the decision set. It's, are you in the minds of people looking for the services that you offer or products that you offer? Are they thinking about you, or are they aware of you, or do they have some perception that even you exist? Are you find-able by people who are looking for what you offer. And that is essentially the basics of the brand awareness, that we're talking about here. It may seem like, oh yeah, if you Google my business name, I show up.
That's not exactly what we're talking about because we're talking about people who don't know you yet exist. Right? And there's different degrees to that. There might even be people who don't yet know they have a problem, that you may want to be on the forefront of communicating to them. So brand awareness is a wide spectrum.
Being on the side of a customer... a customer is not going to buy five water heaters. They're not going to go to three different dentists right away. They're going to have usually one business offering them the help of the one solution. So that's why it's in critically important to be in that decision set so that when they do decide they're going to move forward with solving their problem, whenever it is that you're the business they go to. So that's the value spot of looking at it from the customer's perspective, why it's important to be in their decision set.
So we want to talk about how to be more successful in brand awareness. And I want to introduce our first host and that's Ronn Burner. He's an independent marketing strategy consultant. He applies his marketing MBA with his marketing automation experience to help organizations design, execute and measure their marketing strategies when he is not designing programs. Ronn's time is spent as an avid sports and fitness fanatic, and can be spotted with his 11 year old son at Disneyland on any given weekend, literally. Welcome Ronn! Ronn Burner: Thanks, Kevin.
Good to be with you again Matt. Matt Widmyer: Likewise. Kevin Dieny: And Matt, our other host, he is the sales development manager here at CallSource. He oversees the ever-growing sales development division while working as liaison between the marketing and sales departments, whether it is an individual or team operational gap, he'll roll up his sleeves and go to work. He's a problem solver. He's a mentor and he is a coach all rolled into one.
Matt has a wife and daughter and loves all things outdoors. So, welcome Matt! Matt Widmyer: Yeah, thanks for having me back, good to see you guys again. Kevin Dieny: All right. First question in the brand awareness topic, I want to ask, why is brand awareness so difficult, maybe so difficult to get and difficult to solve for? So, Ronn, what did you think about why brand awareness is so difficult? Ronn Burner: It's difficult because of competition, I guess it would be the first thing that comes to mind because brand awareness... Is you laid it out pretty clearly at the beginning. I simplify it and I just think of it in terms of name anything: a shoe, coffee, shirt, anything that you want, what is the first thing that comes to mind off instantaneously? When we say coffee, some sort of coffee pops into our head.
Starbucks, there's certainly competition. But, the idea of brand awareness in my mind is everybody talks about the buying process, the customer journey in those things, the very first step, it really is brand awareness because if they don't know who you are, you're already off the list. You can't make that sale. If they don't know how to find you, who you are, or to even look at you. And if you're not on, on the short list, if there's multiple, if you're not on the shortlist, the chances of traffic, the chances of revenue, the chances of conversions is just diminished severely because even if they are doing their own homework, they're going to do their homework on their shortlist. So you don't really ever enter the buying process for them.
So that is an obstacle, acute obstacle that you want to overcome. And, it takes time and it takes effort, and that's why you see things like, I'm just spit balling here, but it's something like a Red Bull when Red Bull and all these energy drinks first came out. Do you remember, or you may have seen advertisements everywhere you can possibly see and even vehicles driving by and giving it away for free. They're just handing it to anybody that will take it. You can do it with water, Dasani waters were doing was doing that as well. And the idea is they're giving it away and they're giving it away.
Obviously they say, I think the quality is good and they think you're going to like it. But the main reason they're just flat out and giving it to everybody in the world that they can, that is willing to stick their hand out and take it is because that's their advertising. And that's how they're getting their name recognition and their brand recognition out there. When you talked to your friends and everybody's talking about this new product, that it was that good, they're giving it away. They're giving it away.
They're giving it away. You can't even remember the name. And then eventually you start to remember the name of it, and then it starts to be etched in your thought process. And that's really the game.
Kevin Dieny: Yeah I think about different products, and I think about them in a segmented way. I think there's the luxury or the higher end, maybe the higher priced product. There might also be in the same range, like the higher quality product.
There could be a more niche product. Everyone makes sunglasses, there's lots of companies that make them, but they're in their sunglasses made specifically for using computers now, there's sunglasses or stuff that changes the tint. There's some that have the different focal lenses within them, so you can read with them maybe one in one frame. There's a diverse range within a single product set. And within let's call it like a niche, a lot of businesses sit. Even in the medical profession, there's pediatrics, right? And that's specifically for young kids and families and things like that, it could be a family doctor that handles the whole family.
There could be geriatrics. That's a little bit more on the older side. So every single product and offering service has a niche. So when Ronn was saying, which I liked, "Think of coffee." Probably just elucidated ooh, I need coffee right now, or a brand or something came to mind. But if I said, okay, well, what's the coffee that you can get under a dollar that you actually like, probably a different thing may come up or what's the best coffee that has a caramel or something in it, or what's the closest to your house that may even be an, a part of the decision set.
Right? It might be too far to think of these shops and stores and businesses that are too far away from you. You're not even going to bother going to so that all plays a part in it. The second thing that I thought was really interesting about what you said Ronn was Red Bull. They are fanatically known for creating a brand persona, a feeling attached to their brand and that's come from their advertisements the way they do a little bit of guerilla marketing like you show you showcased. The feeling people get when they think of the brand. That's another component of it, but that's a lot harder.
I think that requires a little bit more influence to get to, but as he's tackling, why is brand awareness so hard? I think he really well laid it out. So, Matt, I want to bring you to the next question, what does brand awareness look like for a small business? Matt Widmyer: Yeah. I think that, most people have a list of either things they buy or services they need either for themselves or their business. So brand awareness from that perspective is like, okay, these are the people who do blank.
Most people have their preferred vendors or preferred businesses that they work with. And if you're anything like me, you have your backup list too, in case something goes terribly wrong with one of them. We do that here too, right? We're always vetting technology and some of the things we do here is we have to know if, especially if it's a giant system or something, that's gonna take a lot of work.
If it's a CRM or a marketing automation platform. First step is always knowing, okay, who's a player in the game and what is the competitive advantage that one company has over the other? And then it usually at the, towards the end, it usually comes down to price. Who is a player in the game and the selection method obviously depends on so many different variables, like budget and stuff like that ? So that's, I think that's the question I'm always thinking about.
It's like, these are the people who do blank and then do we need blank? Okay, cool. Let's talk to these people. It's what we're solving for here. Kevin Dieny: Yeah, what you're describing, I think is something in school that I've heard a thousand times now. It's called your competitive advantage. It's basically what is the one unique thing that you can offer that other businesses maybe don't offer the same way or where you stand out and standing out is really the point? You don't have to necessarily be the best.
You just have to be the best in the eyes of whoever's deciding what they're going to do. Right? So how you communicate that it gets down to some really interesting ways of communicating, of messaging, and creating content. I'll let Ronn go into that a little bit.
What areas in marketing, are areas of brand or topics of brand awareness found? Where are brands putting their messaging to get themselves out there the most effectively? What do you think Ronn? Ronn Burner: Well, I say everywhere because I believe all the messaging should be in unison across every channel that you offer. That's your media mix. That's your integrated marketing plan.
To your point though, I do agree. The brand awareness is what you're known for or what you want to be known for. And what that means is, continuously pitch that. Include that in your mission statement. This is what we do, great.
And there's countless examples of it. When there's taglines that you see for larger organizations. They started small with whatever messaging they had that tried to differentiate themselves from the competition. And that's key. It's not about being better. It's about being different because something that always comes to mind in this conversation is bounty the quicker picker-upper.
Okay. So if you're in the paper towel business, you don't want to be the quicker-er picker upper, change the narrative, change the story. We are in competition with a well-known brand. So how do we differentiate ourselves from them? They're the quicker picker up for? Okay.
So we are the durable brand, and we were better at cleaning car windows, cleaning glass. We're better at cleaning things up that doesn't tear some, whatever the message is, the idea is you don't want to follow suit with something that's already out there. You need to establish your own identity. And that's really, really key. And it goes back to what you're known for. So say it in your mark.
If there's a tagline, it's usually something that on your website. There's something under your title, under the name or just a headline. That's one place that you see it, which that can be incorporated within emails. It could be at the end of an email, almost like a little signature thing. And then nowadays with a hashtag with your social media messaging when you have some sort of initiative or promotion going on.
No matter what it is, you're talking about, you have that signature tagline, you have that thing that identifies you and specifically you. Kind of the way I would approach it. Kevin Dieny: Yeah, it's hard to get your messaging everywhere. A lot of formats, and a lot of things are difficult, especially for someone who doesn't know who you are yet.
There's definitely certain channels, I would say that someone looking, like so the water heater blows someone who doesn't know how to fix that may just type in "My water heater is leaking." How was they gonna go from that to finding, "Bob's Plumbing Service" or something like that. How does that make that jump? That leap that connection. When I talk about searching online, we're talking about SEO a little bit. We're talking about, finding you organically, a local search is also going to be scoped a little differently than, a national or global search.
So all of these layers have different... let's call them like channels, mediums, places, positions, things like that, that your brand needs to be able to be found there. And so that you can position your brand, your messaging.
We offer something here called vanity phone numbers, which have your phone numbers brand, literally in the number, it spells out your brand. So things like that can be found if all that's listed, there is a phone number. So Matt, what do you think are good places for a business to think about positioning themselves so people can find them who've never heard of them? Matt Widmyer: Yeah, I think you have to look at who would the audience you're trying to grab.
Right? If you're trying to get a younger generation into something it's going to be electronically. They aren't going to be picking up the newspaper, looking at your ad. So it's going to be a little bit different. So it would depend highly on the audience you're trying to attract but like you just mentioned vanity numbers. Great example, if you live in an area where radio's really big you almost need a vanity number to have, on the radio program or on a TV program.
Preferably in tandem with a little jingle where if you're wanting a new car insurance or something like that, you know what number you're dialing without even having to think about it or write it down. Some of these commercials I go to sleep thinking about some of these songs. There's no way I'm not going to remember that when it comes time for me to, actually pick up the phone and dial one of these companies. But I think a lot of it is very dependent, especially social media now with the younger generation. It went from being an optional thing to almost like a must have.
If you're trying to attract a younger crowd but with the older generation they do pick up the newspapers. Really rural areas, newspapers are still a very large thing. In terms of what eggs to put in, what baskets is knowing your audience first and then addressing, the advertising through the audience and then tailoring it to that specific group. Kevin Dieny: Okay.
So we just talked about how customers or potential customers who know they have this problem start searching and then finding you and start remembering, oh yeah, I heard this jingle on the radio or, oh, I saw this TV commercial. That's someone who's got a problem, they know what they need to solve it, and they connect the dots. Right? So that's where brand awareness is at its strongest. They are maybe one step away from just picking you right off the bat. So let's go two steps away for a second here.
Let's go to someone who, is trying to understand that they have a problem. They may have a goal, like, oh, I want to upgrade my yard, but I don't know that there's a machine that will help me do that, or there's a service that will help me do that. So that's a little bit further away. At that distance of someone not even knowing the problem they have. So Ronn how does a brand do preemptive brand awareness before someone realizes they've got a problem? Ronn Burner: Um, Google ads, you have to get in front of them any way that you can.
So previously I had mentioned the channels that she would use. Just speaking in terms of marketing channels, you would utilize that messaging within all of your marketing channels externally. Now it's the, we're speaking to the media mix. Where can you be found? So like Matt said radio is, especially living in Southern California, we are in our cars way too often. So even if you're close, it's still a commute. And the commute of finding and hearing things comes across the radio constantly.
And that is a great media location. The ads that are specific to like local areas and smaller areas work with things of like penny saver. Where they're coming to your inbox, to your mailbox. Both hard copies and email copies. So you're receiving it and you're hearing about it.
When it comes to specifics, like preemptive, getting ahead of things, that's much more challenging, but you at least have to hit the 30,000 foot view of it. So if you're speaking specifically to leaks, then all the leaks are different. There could be plumbing leak, there could be neighbor leaks, anything can leak, I suppose, if they're fluid. Outside of that, key words in Google analytics for the word "Leak" things that are not Google analytics, but Google ad words, which is Google ads nowadays. That is a key word indicator that certainly you're going to have these in your blog, on your website. So those are how you're going to be found organically.
Outside of that, if you want to have the pay-per-click or the different kinds of ad strategies, you just want us to incorporate as many very preemptive possibilities that you could think of that would tie ultimately back to you being the solution. Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that's really good. You've also got me thinking about word of mouth.
One thing that some businesses struggle with and it's really common is understanding exactly what channels or what the flow of visitors, customers to my business? I would almost say misconception, to say, oh, all my business comes from word of mouth. That could definitely justifiably be the case, but it's oftentimes a lot more intricate than that. Very few people take one person's word and just move on that, it does happen, but sometimes there's a lot more research being done, like, okay, is their a situation the same as mine? Is this person, or is this business local enough to me? Or is, was this problem that they had similar to mine? How much the person trusts another person is going to be a part of that too. So when it comes to the word of mouth component, how does that factor into brand awareness? Matt, what do you think? Matt Widmyer: Yeah, factors into it quite a bit. And we see word of mouth basically in the form of online reviews.
Right. Let's something else we help smaller businesses out with here is your online reputation, in terms of numbers, reviews, and the reviews that do come in are hopefully the ones from happy customers. So if you're not going to believe one person, if you have 500 people leaving positive reviews or the consensus is generally a very high score, it's probably a pretty safe bet to utilize whatever service or product that is. The more people that have something positive to say about a business the more likely that business is going to get selected when it comes to the decision-making process.
Word of mouth is huge whether it's a leak or someone who's dealt with a similar situation in the past. You can have a buddy over at your house and your pipe blows up. Hey, I called this company last time. So that's huge right? Especially if it's someone that's used a similar service. If you're going to the preemptive side of things, everybody eats food, right? So if your buddy comes up and tells you, Hey, this Mexican place by my house is really good. You might decide to eat there for one of your meals, that would be the preemptive side of things in the decision-making process.
It's huge because it's coming from a credible person. In order for somebody to raise their hand and say, Hey, you should think about selecting this business, they obviously have to do a really good job, in whatever it is they do, because if they don't, it could be the opposite. It could be say, Hey, stay away from this business because they suck or they're not very good or either Mexican food tastes like taco bell or something like that. There's both sides of it too, right? Kevin Dieny: I like that idea.
And it's something that I wanted to actually bring from that to Ronn was. When a business, is in let's call it the unfortunate position of being surrounded by a lot of competitors, maybe even big, like spending lots of money, something like that. A small business may feel like, man, what can I do about brand awareness. There's huge competitors for this. Let's say there's a company launching a soda and they're like, Pepsi and Coke are huge.
What chance do I stand against these behemoths? So you talked a little bit about this with differentiation earlier, but I thought it would be a good way for you to talk about a business, finding its niche and being able to differentiate itself. So if you could talk a little bit more on, on how a business may smaller business may come into a very competitive field and stand out enough to do well? Ronn Burner: Well, you need to identify who you are and what message you're trying to get out. I said is know who you are, know what you do, and really hammer that home and do that.
Drive it home. The beauty of a small organization is the intimacy that's involved. Larger corporation is just no matter how hard they try, there's typically just a lack of that.
And that is exactly where the small business benefits. Brand awareness on the word of mouth mama and Papa shops is. It's interesting because brand awareness is usually intricated with something much larger because it has to be top of mind. So when it's a mom and pop shop, small business, it's usually such a local thing. Something that comes to mind when I think of that is so in California, the competition is immense.
Like you were just saying, and well, good reviews and or bad reviews, a bad review. I went to college in the Midwest and I'm from the Midwest. A bad review in a small town, in a small place, like I went to college in North Dakota it actually has a tremendous negative impact on the organization because they've the quality of work is down and that small community, when you get a bad reputation, you're just not getting into business.
So a good, a positive review, there goes a long way. And in a big city like California, like LA, nobody trusts anything because they don't know the quality because the competition is so immense. So when you get a good review in a place like LA, you're like. If this is coming from them, I'm going to go there. I don't need to worry about going to do all the research and all of this because I'm just happy to, and I had no somebody that was happy with their service.
The beauty of the small business is just absolutely hands-on care for your customer. Build that relationship, have that rapport. That's why you often see small businesses giving free cookies or free soda or offering free coffees in the lobby or at the reception.
They're very good about making you feel welcome and making you feel that you can trust them. And then of course, when they turn around and provide the service or product or give you happiness to solve your problem or give you what you're looking for. Now that's where loyalty comes in. Now, next time that presents itself, you know exactly where you're going and exactly who you're going to call. And of course that loyalty is where word of mouth comes in because now you're telling everybody how good that was.
It's on a much smaller scale of brand awareness in my mind, but it's still absolutely part of the same pie. Kevin Dieny: I really liked that. I think the next question I have right off the bat of that, Ronn is how does a business quickly establish brand awareness then? So, lets throw it right back to you. Ronn Burner: First and foremost, you have a high quality work and you do whatever it is that you do, you do at a high quality. And you do it immediately with, that rapport, that building like you're, it's almost over the top, I guess.
You're so... kind and so nice and so personable, and it's an intimate, it fits an intimacy business. Meaning there's a lot of conversation that's taking place between two people, rather than going online and pushing a button and ordering something. So the brand awareness, it's a messaging and the consistency with that. So I do think it's, I do think small businesses need to know who they are and who they want to be.
And I really do think taglines... may sound hokey and may sound cheesy. But the thing of that starts with a mission statement when you're writing your plan. And then it goes into a tagline, which is continuing that, which is encompassing your core beliefs, your values, your pillars of success. So that's what you're going to come up with when you're just coming up with your marketing plan and your strategy and your business proposition, then you're going to have that somehow all incorporated into a tagline. And then you're backing that up with your performance and with how you behave, and how you consistently are acting towards that pillar.
Kevin Dieny: The essential thing that you're outlining is that businesses need to know that they can, and do have an impact on changing their awareness, their brand, how their brand is perceived. Creating a business doesn't necessarily mean everyone's going to know about you and who you are and come flocking to your business. And so it's a little bit of a misconception to think that, you don't need any form of marketing or sales when you start out. And I think every business owner, entrepreneur usually finds themselves putting on pretty big sales shoes at first, doing a lot of that leg work, and then moving into a little bit more marketing and getting themselves out there. Just like you described Ronn, they're going above and beyond to make sure that their business has a good chance of succeeding is what helps them succeed. A lot of businesses fail in the first couple of years, but if they get out of that, that cycle the first couple of years, then they really need to be thinking, okay, my business is surviving now.
Now I need it to survive longer. I can't be doing crazy hours at work. I need to be able to have somebody else do this or put this off my plate a little bit. So Matt, knowing that a business can change its brand awareness and that maybe that's something new to somebody. How hard or how easy do you think it is to influence brand awareness? Matt Widmyer: I don't think it's ever an easy thing to do in general, it's not going to be an easy thing...
it's not a small task. It's going to be a larger thing. We talked about word of mouth.
I think that the weekly mailers a great idea. While we're talking about this, I'm almost thinking like I should stop throwing those money mailers or whatever away, because it could be my emergency kit in case a pipe ever burst or something in my house. So I think that, there's usually coupons in there, but it's not even really about the coupons.
It's more of like a, "Hey, this is what we do." The thing to take away is if your services are consistent and related to each other, in other words, you don't want to miss the opportunity to work with somebody because they think you only do roofing surfaces. So you get somebody else to do the siding and landscaping everything else.
When this company A actually took care of all of it, and they would have given you like a package discount or something like that, too. So I think by doing, too many things that are vastly different, you can almost confuse the message that you're trying to give your perspective customers. So I think being on the same page, a lot of this stuff can be explained on your website or whatever marketing you're doing, but I think consistency within the brand and conformity of related products or services helps make that message a little bit easier for prospective buyers. Kevin Dieny: Yeah, I think we've touched on two really important things here in talking about this topic. The first one is that your brand can only be successful, can only make a sale, can only gain a customer, if the customer knows that you exist. If your service, your offering is in their decision set, meaning when they're making that decision to call or to buy, or even to look up something.
If you're able to be found by them when they may first be planning out a goal. Like, I want to create a backyard when they actually go to, okay, I need my yard plumbed or leveled or to the point where they're like, okay, I have something I've been trying to do it myself. I need help doing this at any point along that journey.
Are you able to be found by your prospects, by your leads, by their future customers? And that is important to consider, like Ronn said, the locale, the environment, the audience, who you're dealing with are they the type that are going to get five quotes before they make a decision? Or is this a neighborhood and an environment where they take someone's word and word of mouth to heart? Are they going to be looking up, searching for reviews online before they try out a restaurant, is this, that kind of neighborhood is that what's driving a lot of your business. And by having feelers out there, by being able to see what channels people are coming in, by asking the question by tracking your sources by having vanity numbers out there that people could call, will give you an idea of, what is driving traffic. What is driving my customers today and how are they finding me? And it could be that something's working. It could also be a hint that you need to put a little more money somewhere else to increase your awareness in other areas.
And so that's a really good lesson for businesses to help them be found at all points along that journey that Ronn mentioned before. The second thing that I think we need to touch on is that you can influence your brand awareness. That's maybe the hokey part that people think like, oh, you can't do anything about that. But Ronn said it may be an odd sounding tagline and maybe something funny, it communicates the kind of experience of business and a customer may expect to have.
Having a website allows people to know that you're serious, you're intend to be around it. Here's information about what we do. Like Matt said, maybe we do more things than just roofing. That we do solar, and siding, and all kinds of other things. So I think all of that comes into play and it's all part of one, you can influence your brand awareness and two of your brand awareness is pretty important.
You can have an impact on it in a quick amount of time. You can focus on reviews, you can send mailers, you can generate some buzz. You can drive around and give everyone some free stuff or whatever. If it makes sense for your business to do that, then you can have an impact on your brand awareness.
Anything else that we didn't talk about, you guys wanted to jump in on? So Ronn, was there anything else you wanted to add? Ronn Burner: I just wanted to reiterate something that I said and I didn't really drill home. And then Matt, interestingly enough, also followed up on his next question. And he said consistency. And I think when we're talking about brand awareness, it's what you're known for, it is differentiate yourself and make it what you're known for.
And it doesn't matter what size of organization you are. It's just simply a rule that you should be adhering to. So what you're known for, and then consistently deliver on that constantly in your marketing channels, as well as in the media mix, as well as in how your team is engaging with the customer.
It takes time, brand awareness it takes time. So consistency is key. Just imagine changing your website every three months.
It becomes erratic and that is absolutely what you want to avoid. Stay the course, be consistent and deliver on your promise, which is what you're known for. And it takes care of itself. Kevin Dieny: That's great Ronn. Matt, was there anything else you wanted to add? Matt Widmyer: Yeah, circling back to some of the points that we made.
I think the main thing here is to let prospective customers know that you are a player in the game. You're not trying to, have a suite of products that like pull over your car, trunk full of, different things. We have one main thing that we do. We could have different products, but they should ultimately be lined up to the same goal. And the goal we have here is just helping businesses grow. Right? So, a lot of different ways you can do that.
But we aren't going to start selling like printing paper or something like that because it's not, it doesn't fall in line with the rest of the stuff we do. That consistency is huge and making sure that you've get ahead of the game and get people talking about you and all that fun stuff. Kevin Dieny: I think any business that makes a point of trying to have a greater awareness, a greater influence on their customers, will be able to grow.
It's getting a foundation set up. Brand awareness does have a component of checking in and maintaining it and consistency along the way. But a lot of it you can set up initially you can figure out who am I? What do, who do I serve? What am I trying to offer them? How do I differentiate myself? Things you may find in a marketing plan or a business plan.
Go into your influence that you have in brand awareness everywhere. Will keep a business growing. Will keep new people coming in and will help your word of mouth extrapolate. Especially if you're a local business and rely a lot on that. Thank you, gentlemen.
This was really great information on this topic. I appreciate it. And thanks everybody for listening.
Matt Widmyer: Appreciate it. Good to be back. Ronn Burner: Thanks, Kevin.