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From brand awareness to brand advocacy. What about a customer after sales?

An order completion is not the end of the purchasing process. Brands must take care of existing customers and seek their loyalty. What to do to establish a positive relationship with a customer? How to analyse brand awareness?

Building brand awareness requires lots of commitment and creativity. Activities aimed at transforming a potential customer into a brand ambassador can be difficult, but in the long run they are extremely profitable, able to strengthen and solidify a company’s position on the market.

From awareness to loyalty

The concept of brand awareness refers to a long-term process aimed at building the brand image in consumers’ eyes. Communication and marketing activities allow for creating positive associations with the brand and instilling its existence in recipients’ consciousness. It is very important to provide consumers with knowledge on the values professed by the company and to show the characteristics that distinguish the brand from its competitors.

Brand awareness influences consumer buying decisions, also impulse ones, when a customer opts for a TOM (top of mind), i.e. the brand being the first choice among other brands. Brand recognition is directly related to the catalogue of associations. In the long run, owing to appropriate actions strengthening the brand image, a recipient may become its ambassador. In this context, brand equity is determined based on the degree of customer loyalty.

The goal of each company is to engage customers in its operations, retain loyal customers and acquire brand ambassadors. The term “brand advocacy” refers to the latter. Customers associated with a given brand voluntarily shape its image in the media, sharing positive feedback, or recommending its products and services. Thanks to brand ambassadors, all promotional activities can be even more effective and the market position can be strengthened. Brand association with positive features (brand recall) is likely to lead to some sort of emotional relationship and confirm high loyalty of customers who strengthen its image in the media.

Consumer relations with the brand

Advertising messages fit into some kind of schemes or models that describe recipient’s relationship with the brand or refer directly to the purchase. From the point of view of the sales process, the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model, which describes the recipient’s reaction to a given product, is extremely important. The first stage is to attract a potential customer’s attention to the company products or services. The next one focuses on raising the recipient’s interest in order to evoke the reaction of desire and possession of a given item from the company’s offer. The final stage means encouraging the potential customer to buy a product or service, or to generate a lead in the form of phone contact or sending a query.

One of very effective techniques in online stores is SLB (Stay-Look-Buy). The main role here is played by photos, short slogans, and concise descriptions. One should catch the recipient’s attention by presenting advantages of a product or service, as well as affect a potential customer’s imagination. The purpose of the SLB model is to convince the user to make a purchase, also by offering additional benefits, such as free delivery, discount, free gift or even beautiful packaging.

DAGMAR (Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Audience Response) is another model of advertising impact on a potential customer, comprising two stages. The first one boils down to an informational role. A recipient knows nothing about a product or service (unawareness), then gets to know the company’s offering (awareness) and benefits that a product or service purchase will give (understanding). The second stage is persuasion – the recipient decides to buy (conviction) and finalises the transaction (action). However, the activities cannot terminate along with bringing the lead to the end of the shopping funnel. It is also necessary to take care of the customer at the after-sales stage. The goal of every brand is retention, i.e. retaining customers and encouraging them to shop on a regular basis.

AIDCAS is a notion that perfectly illustrates advertising impact. It covers drawing attention, raising interest, desire, as well as conviction on the right choice. Customer satisfaction is the last component. Advertising psychology also uses the term DIPADA that defines the manner of advertising audience behaviour on the market. It consists of the following stages: determination of the need (definition), recognition of the possibility of satisfying the customer’s needs (identification), assessment of alternative purchase options (proof), acceptance, desire and action, i.e. making a purchase.

Merchandising, i.e. strengthening the advertising message

“Merchandising” is another concept which aims to implement the AIDA method. Marketing activities include, but are not limited to, the use of trademarks, images, or symbols that customers associate with a given brand. The method influences purchasing decisions and customer behaviour through an attractive way of presenting products or interior design that are to be clearly associated with the brand. The strategy has become a strong component of the Polish market, but new trends are constantly coming in from the West – foreign chains have brought high standards and extensive know-how to the Polish market. One of them is still not very popular in Poland visual merchandising (VM), namely visual sales accompanied by creating an atmosphere affecting recipient’s senses. They are intended to evoke specific sensations, both visual, olfactory, auditory, and tactile (sensory marketing). Merchandising is considered to be the last link of the advertising campaign which aims to strengthen the advertising message.

How is brand awareness surveyed?

It is impossible not to mention methods of surveying brand awareness. These include CATI, i.e. telephone interviews, CAWI – web interviews, and PAPI comprising paper questionnaires. In addition, the level of brand awareness is analysed by means of:

  •   Top of mind (TOM) – an indicator that determines the percentage of respondents who mention the brand as the first one during a survey. In other words, TOM awareness is the first consumer choice among the given brands.
  •   Spontaneous brand awareness (SBA) – shows the percentage of respondents who declare that they know a given brand after it has been read out by an interviewer. This indicator also includes the TOM brand.
  •   Aided awareness – this is the least significant indicator that shows whether a consumer knows a particular brand at all.

When implementing advertising campaigns, one should monitor effective reach showing the percentage of the target group that has come across the message at a certain frequency. Effective reach assumes a determined minimum number of contacts with the ad, achieving the goals of the advertising campaign. However, the overall reach determines the percentage of the target group that has encountered the advertising message at least once during the campaign.

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