Last time out we explored brand awareness, what it is, how you can measure it, and ways to build it. Brand awareness matters because it’s the foundation of brand relevance, and brand relevance matters because customers buy from brands they find highly relevant to their needs and desires.
Brand consideration is the next step in achieving brand relevance, and is as important as awareness.
What is brand consideration?
It’s exactly what it says it is: brand consideration is whether or not a consumer will consider purchasing from your brand. It maps onto that middle stage of the traditional funnel, and often gets lost in the marketing mix, with general awareness building activity and conversion tactics taking precedence for many businesses.
The mistake in neglecting brand consideration is this: lots of people can be aware of your brand and will never buy from you. I’m well aware of a huge number of brands I would never consider buying from, and no amount of awareness ads are going to change that. As I don’t consider your brand when thinking about buying something, I’m never going to arrive at that perfectly refined conversion point on your website.
And the people already buying from you are already aware of, and actively consider, your brand. But we know this set of customers is much smaller than those who are aware of your brand. So how do you get more buyers? By driving brand consideration.
While I’m using myself as an example here (the dreaded data set of one and, even worse, based on personal experience…naughty me) I’m not an edge case. Like most people I buy stuff. If you could just make me consider your brand, you might be in with a shot of making me buy. This applies to a huge number of potential customers.
Why is brand consideration important?
No point beating about the bush on this. McKinsey carried out some research into the customer journey. It showed that brands who make it into a consumer’s brand consideration set are up to 3 times more likely to be purchased than those who aren’t in it.
So now you might be worrying about the fact that your brand is losing out because it lacks consideration? That’s true, but McKinsey’s study found something interesting. Because the customer journey is no longer a neat funnel that goes Awareness – Consideration – Purchase, with each stage narrowing down the number of customers, it seems that some brands can force their way into the consideration stage later in the customer journey.
Because customers now go through a cycle of doing research, gathering recommendations, and viewing content from different brands, it means that a brand not in the initial consideration set can be added to it. As the customer is exposed to more information they can be persuaded to consider a brand they otherwise wouldn’t. And often this means brands in the initial set are discounted. The effect seems to vary from sector to sector, but it means that no brand can take consideration as a given. It has to be earned.
What drives brand consideration?
Once a customer is aware of your brand, and they’re moving into the stage where they’re thinking about buying something, they want to know more about the product or service, they want to feel trust, to know that when they do make the purchase that they’re doing the right thing.
Consideration content needs to inform the customer, and give them information that is important to their decision making process. What that type of content is depends very much on what you’re selling, but the sort of thing we’re talking about includes:
- Reviews from trusted sources – This could be reviews in relevant media, or customer reviews via a reviews platform or site that is viewed as impartial, such as TrustRadius for the software sector.
- User generated content – Content created by happy customers, showing of or praising what you do should be shared like mad. Content by existing customers can convince people to buy because it makes a real connection.
- In-depth product explainers – Videos or other formats that give rich information on your products and services, how they work, what goes into creating them, and other important information can help boost consideration.
- Case studies/testimonials – For B2B brands this is really important. You can tell people how much you can help them till you’re blue in the face, but the proof is in the pudding. Seeing how your products or services have helped others is a strong driver of consideration.
- How-to style content – Content that shows people how to get the best from what you’re selling is important for consideration. This might seem to be the type of content you make for people who have already bought, but because customers now do a lot of research before they buy this type of material can help place you in the consideration set.
- Whitepapers/reports – This type of content positions you as a trusted leader and expert in your field. By giving people content that helps them and gives them insight, you’ll make your brand worthy of consideration.
Brand consideration is essential to building brand relevance, and as the McKinsey study shows, being a brand that customers initially consider massively increases your chances of them buying from you.
But the third part of brand relevance is the one that inches you right up to conversion: brand salience. Which is what we’ll cover next time.