3 Steps to Increase Brand Awareness, Part 3

Step 3: Connect the Dots

Banking and financial services marketers have told us the primary goal in their content marketing efforts is to increase brand awareness.

(If you haven’t already, download IMN’s 2014 Content Marketing Survey to see more things marketers revealed about their content marketing efforts.)

This post is the third in a series to help financial marketers build better awareness for their brands using three easy-to-follow steps. Any brand can apply the general practices and ideas promoted in this series, but we’re addressing banking and financial services marketers directly.

What have we learned so far?

  1. Before you talk about your brand, understand your target audience. That includes understanding audience members’ problems, and even helping them understand the problems in their situation.
  2. Before you talk about your brand, guide your audience through possible solutions to those problems.

(To learn more about these steps, read the first and second posts in the series.)

So far, you’ve helped potential policy holders or members understand the need to improve their current situation, and shown them that help is out there. They want to find the right option to solve their problems.

Now, you’re ready to show them how your brand can help. How do you make sure they’re ready for that message?

Before you talk about your brand, make a strong connection in your target audience’s minds from their ideal solution to your brand.

By this point, your potential policy holders and members trust your brand as source of information. They trust you because you’ve taken the right steps to earn their trust.

However, gaining their trust doesn’t mean they’re ready to cancel their current financial plan or insurance policy and adopt yours instead. Several reasons may keep them from taking that next step:

  • They may not realize your brand offers the ideal solution.
  • They may know your brand offers a plan or product that can improve their situation, but they may not realize they should choose your brand over another.
  • They may not know what they know – put another way, they may need help having that “light bulb” moment where they say, “Oh! Your brand can help me with my problem.”

Want to get your audience aware of your brand? Help them have that “light bulb” moment and connect the dots between their problem, their options, and your brand.

connect-dots

Step 3: Connect the dots for your audience. Demonstrate that your brand’s financial products can solve your audience’s problems better than products from any other brand.

You want people to choose your brand to solve their problems, not just any brand. Your audience doesn’t want just any solution; they want the best one.

So, your job in the final step to building brand awareness is to make it as clear as possible to your audience that your brand is not only an option, but the best option, to solve their problems.

That means, yes, you can talk about your brand! However, shy away from self-promotional messages and stick to messages that speak to the audience’s situation.

That idea is illustrated in the following scenario:

Karen, a marketer at the IMN Credit Union corporate office, is putting the finishing touches on a PowerPoint presentation. She designed the presentation using the philosophy behind the three steps to build awareness of the credit union among local businesses.

Karen has one page to present the credit union specifically, but she’s having a hard time limiting all of the possible brand messages to one page. She has so much information she wants the audience to receive and understand about the credit union!

Thankfully, she realizes something. Her audience is primed to want to choose the best solution to their problems. She doesn’t have to share every brand message about the credit union, only the ones that demonstrate that the credit union is the best solution to the problem she illustrated earlier that her audience faces.

Earlier, her presentation showed her audience that some of their local financial service options don’t really serve her audience’s needs. Those local providers lack certain amenities and convenience options that make it harder for her audience to get business done when they need it done.

So, she discusses the quality of service at the credit union, and how every member is treated like a family member. She also points out their convenient branch and ATM locations and hours, further emphasizing that the credit union’s purpose is to serve its members’ financial needs.

By connecting the dots, Karen leaves nothing to chance. She has outlined a clear path for the audience to follow, from accepting their problem and wanting a better option, to debating possible options and choosing the best one for their situation—until finally, they “arrive” at the conclusion that her brand is the best choice for the best solution to their problem.

Bonus tip: Empower your field agents or branches to also use these three steps to build brand awareness within their communities.

Conclusion

You did it! You built a better awareness of your brand by demonstrating that your brand is aware of who your audience is, what troubles them, what solutions can help them, and why your brand is their best option.

Still want help? The final post in this series won’t be another “step,” but it will include specific content formats and tactics to try for each step. It will also discuss what to do when your audience says “thanks, but no thanks” to your brand after you build awareness.

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