You want to be the name that customers associate with a particular product or service. This phenomenon is known as brand recall. When a customer thinks of toothpaste and thinks “Colgate,” or when someone in a car accident remembers the number for a popular local attorney, that is brand recall at work. Companies want their brand to come to mind when customers are looking for a service or are ready to make a commitment.

Why is brand recall important?

The immediate goal of brand recall is that customers will choose you among a variety of options. The long-term goal is about building brand reputation and your network of client relationships.

Commitment and relationship will grow alongside a strong brand. Brand recall can drive a prospect to first commitment. It can also work in the opposite direction: the moment a customer is pleased with a commitment or purchase, your brand builds a positive association and creates a positive feedback loop. Customers think of you when they have a need, and when that need is fulfilled, their good experience is associated with you.

From this, significant loyalty can develop, sales increase, prospects become clients, and clients feel comfortable recommending you to others. Brand recall is a vital step in the chain that leads from offering a service to solidifying a relationship and building your clientele.

Let’s break it down step by step and look at some examples.

How exactly does it work?

Brand recall is measurable. Some companies test it through surveys or interviews, by asking respondents to list brand names they associate with certain products or service industries. “Aided recall” refers to customers recalling a brand when its name is mentioned. “Unaided recall” refers to customers recalling a brand “out of thin air,” from their own stock of memories and associations.

Obviously, businesses want their brand to come to customers’ minds automatically, unaided, and rise to the top out of a variety of choices. How does this work?

Using the fire hydrant method

One way is through sheer inundation. Examples include:

  • Aggressive campaigns: Vimeo, with multiple web ads on a single page, grabs consumer attention and taps into a subliminal effect.
  • Brand longevity: Kleenex, whose tissues have been around so long, makes it easy to forget that “Kleenex” is actually a brand name.
  • Regional loyalty: Moon Pies were long a staple of Southern snacking, and even taken on as a cultural icon.
  • Limited options – Mergers: AT&T or Fox/Disney now rule much of our communications and entertainment through mergers and acquisitions.
  • Limited options – Religious/moral convictions: Manischewitz is the automatic association with Kosher shopping, and brands like Tom’s and Whole Foods have long been associated with fair trade and production practices.

Very often, the ability to remember a brand is associated with value. However, the inundation method is extremely risky, not only for your marketing budget.

You likely don’t have the resources to outshout large brands. Too much marketing can also annoy potential customers. Finally, brands that capitalize on limited options, or further limit those options, may retain customers while increasing frustration and negative associations with the brand. Customers are stuck in a relationship they do not prefer; they simply cannot think of other viable options.

Targeting the right audience

There is another option as well. This is great news for all businesses, large or small, who wish to operate with integrity while keeping brand recall intact.

Brand recall is not typically monolithic. When you’re trying to reach an audience, most companies are not trying to reach everyone; they’re trying to reach the people who are a good match for their product or service. Targeting is the smartest tactic for the vast majority of companies.

If fifty percent of people answer “Coke” or “Pepsi” when asked their favorite carbonated beverage, that’s not the end of the story. Take into account targeting questions such as region, shopping preferences, tastes, budget, diet restrictions, and personal habits, and you might as readily receive answers such as La Croix, Perrier, Jarritos, Orangina, Vernor’s, or Ale 8. These brands range from small to medium-large, but they know their audiences, and in those targeted places become household names. The point is to find your people.

Targeting for brand recall includes:

Getting seen: From Twitter, to radio ads, to placards on public transit, consider who is looking for your product or service, and where they’ll be in their daily lives when they’re ready to hear from you. Are they waiting for a bus, listening to a podcast, driving to work, or searching LinkedIn?

  • Standing out: What makes your brand unique, and what makes your audience unique? Tap into their sense of “Yes, that’s me” or “That’s what I like,” and do it authentically. What makes their age group, gender, socioeconomic group, lifestyle, or tastes unique and worth serving?
  • Giving the pitch: This means the right message at the right time. What are the contexts in which your audience is most ready to receive your message? This is why Coca-Cola and Reese’s don’t advertise the snack bar after the movie.
  • Planning for follow-up: Whether they’re a prospect glancing at signage, or a customer returning to work with you again, how do those brand interactions encourage future interactions? Strategies can range from providing a special text code on a web ad, all the way to building a sophisticated automated drip campaign or loyalty program.

It can be as simple as buying toothpaste, or as nuanced as finding help to invest for retirement. It’s a similar process, but each brand requires its own unique strategy to capture the right audience and creatively send that targeted message.

Range, a Deluxe company, specializes in helping companies find their audience and build their brand. From small business to industry leaders, we listen carefully to tailor ideal marketing solutions across the board. Contact a consultant today.