Anything worth building or growing requires a little TLC: time, labor and cash. Building brand familiarity in the minds of your target market is no exception.
Some shortcuts may produce quicker, albeit temporary, results (read: a wave of prospect appointments or other exciting metrics).
“Well, Robert, of course I’d welcome a huge influx of prospect appointments,” you say. But success as a byproduct of shortcuts isn’t sustainable.
Think of individual marketing initiatives like fireworks — they’re exciting, but they don’t last. Brand familiarity, on the other hand, is like the warm rising sun. It rises slowly, but is far more enduring and powerful.
So where should you spend your time, labor and cash to build familiarity for your firm? And why does it matter?
FAMILIARITY COMPOUNDS TRUST
Some have said that familiarity breeds contempt. Positive familiarity, however, breeds trust.
Subconsciously we feel a sense of safety with brands that we see everywhere. The more we see a brand, the more we come to recognize it as trustworthy. This applies to financial advisers, too. The more your brand is visible — via social media, online ads and email — the more your audience will come to trust you as a safe place to gain financial advice.
This is how consistency factors into marketing. One ad might not draw in a big client right away. But over time, as people see your brand in their lives more and more, they’ll take action when the time is right.
Case in point: I was looking to put new hardwood flooring in our home, so I started to pay attention to which companies were out there. One in particular caught my eye. The advertisement I saw was big and bright yellow with big, bold text.
“I should call them,” I thought. I didn’t.
Days later, I noticed one of their trucks drive by. Like the advertisement, it was bright yellow with big, bold text. This reminded me I hadn’t called them. And I wouldn’t, yet.
It wasn’t until days later, after I flipped through a local magazine in our mail and saw the familiar bright yellow and bold text, that I made good on my initial thought, picked up the phone and called the company.
Ultimately, they won my business and I became the proud owner of brand-new hardwood floors.
The company showed up consistently, and when the time was right to pull out the credit card, they were there.
Consistent presence works in two ways. Either your advertisement will be the trigger for someone to contact you immediately, or you’ll be the one they contact when they’re ready because they’ve seen you, remember you and trust you.
Show up often and show up all over. Show up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Show up on wrapped vehicles. Show up in your local newspaper.
But beware. The goal isn’t to bombard your audience with your name, logo and message everywhere, all the time. Be strategic and selective. Stand out from the competition and be bold. Pick channels where your audience actually lives, or you’ll waste a lot of money.
Over time, these efforts will compound into success.
Building familiarity has added benefits aside from growing your client base.
People in the market for an adviser will often choose the firm that’s more well-known. They choose the firm they remember and are familiar with because they’ve grown progressively more trusting of the brand through repeated exposure. They’ll make this choice even if a competitor is better qualified to help them. Why? The subconscious power of familiarity.
Brand awareness also increases brand equity. The more well-known your firm becomes, the larger your pool of potential acquirers becomes. If and when you choose to sell your business, buyers will pay more for a well-known, established brand.
Finally, brand awareness allows opportunities for additional lines of business to succeed. As an example of a large brand achieving this, Uber started as an on-demand car service app. But 10 years later, Uber Eats — the company’s food delivery service — delivers around $6 billion in food around the world.
Let’s look at this concept of a secondary business through a financial industry lens. Imagine that your well-known advisory brand decides to add on a tax practice, or insurance services, or even estate planning. In these examples, the brand equity you’ve already built up will help you grow the new business faster because you’re already a trusted brand.
Brand awareness boils down to familiarity. Familiarity leads to trust. So the more places you show up, the more likely you’ll be trusted by your audience.
Identify where you’ll be most visible to your ideal audience and start showing up there — as much as you can afford to. Over time, the warm rising sun of familiarity will pay off for your business in a big way!
Robert Sofia is CEO of the digital marketing firm Snappy Kraken.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.