3 Steps to Increase Brand Awareness, Part 1

Step 1: Challenge the Mindset

IMN’s 2014 Content Marketing Survey uncovered some interesting content marketing issues specifically for the banking and financial services industry.

Overall, banking and financial services marketers seem less confident in their content marketing efforts, strategy, and compliance than other industry marketers. They have unique struggles and concerns:

  • Navigating legal compliance while developing compelling marketing messages.
  • Handling a delicate subject matter (money).
  • Representing clients ranging widely in personal wealth and financial intelligence.

When asked for their primary content marketing goal, these marketers said they want to increase brand awareness. IMN wants to help them by breaking down that goal into three easy-to-follow steps.

Although this series is geared towards banking and financial services brands, any brand can apply the general practices and ideas promoted. We hope this series helps marketers find a better way to build awareness for their brands.

Before you build brand awareness, become aware of your audience’s problem.

Your brand has a claim to fame: You offer a unique solution or service to help current and potential clients manage their financial matters.

Naturally, you want to spread the word about your brand. Your ultimate goal is to help potential clients make the connection between your brand’s logo and a trusted financial advisor.

So, you help develop and distribute marketing messages about your brand. However, those messages capture fewer leads than you had hoped.

Why don’t potential clients want to use your brand to help solve their financial problems?

Well, your audience may not know they have financial problems.

If you don't understand your consumers and their problems, they might feel ignored by your brand and turned off.

Every day, your brand solves money-related problems and fulfills monetary needs. However, potential clients who think their current financial management tools are “good enough” may not listen to messages about how great your brand’s services are.

Their current options for securing a loan or handling personal finances may somewhat annoy them, but they don’t believe it’s that bad. They like the idea of having a personal agent available 24/7, but don’t understand why they might need one outside of regular business hours.

If your audience doesn’t know they have a problem, they’re not ready to think about any solutions to the problem – so they definitely won’t understand why they should care about your brand’s solution.

So, what’s the first step to building better brand awareness? Focus on the customer, not your brand.

Step 1: Challenge your audience’s mindset. Highlight their current situation and the problem or unmet need that is holding them back.

Even if a consumer's problem is obvious to you, they may not see it from their perspective. In the case of these window washers, all three can get the job done -- but one of them can do it faster. That means the other two have a problem.

Let’s look at an example of how that can work: Three window washers must finish cleaning a skyscraper. They start at the top and work their way down.

One of the washers has a better tool, so he can work faster. The other washers can finish the assigned job, but it takes them longer. They want to keep up with their coworker, but that pressure may make them miss sections or feel more stressed.

The window washers don’t know that feeling stressed or providing a less quality window wash are problems. They may see them as inevitable or inescapable parts of the job.

However, a marketer hoping to sell an optimized window cleaning blade would need to first convince window washers that their current situation can improve. That first message would focus on highlighting the window washers’ problems and contrasting them with an improved situation: the faster window washer with a better tool.

Once the new framework is set, you can then convince your audience to care enough about their problems to seek solutions.

Pro tip: Shy away from selling your brand in the first step. Too much selling in the early stages of building brand awareness can turn away potential clients.


Don’t talk about your brand more to start building better brand awareness. Instead, challenge your audience’s mindset. If you show them potential problems with their current service, you can begin to convince them to accept a need for change.

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