For those of us who are analytical, creating a brand is messy, complicated, and involves a lot of touchy, feely stuff about how people feel about your products and services. SEM (Search Engine Marketing) on the other hand, is efficient, measurable, and allows for the analytical nirvana of A/B split testing. Therefore, one should focus on SEM to maximize conversion and ROI and not be too concerned with brand messaging and recognition, right? WRONG!
The evidence is clear even to the most analytical of marketers when they pull themselves away from their laptops and multiple monitors long enough to watch TV and actually watch the commercials, drive down the road and view billboard ads, or even (gasp!) listen to the radio and find that the largest and most successful companies in the world spend millions of dollars building brand messaging and recognition. Those successful companies know that if consumers have never heard of you, they won’t search for you when they need the product or service you sell. And if they do a search, and recognize the name of your competitor, most probably won’t click on your paid search ad or organic listing. And if they don’t click on your brand, they can’t buy from you.
Examples of Brands and Their Positioning:
- Lexus® is premium quality and luxury.
- Lysol® kills germs.
- Ben & Jerry’s® is wholesome, premium ice cream, with fun flavors.
- Whole Foods Market® is the supermarket of healthy foods.
- Patagonia® creates high-quality outdoor wear.
- Supercuts® offers haircuts at rock-bottom pricing.
SEM does not necessarily create demand but makes sure that you are there when a consumer is looking for the goods and services that you sell. A large SEM change, creating more effective SEO, or optimizing an effective SEM campaign can build business for a local firm, but for an established firm excitement comes with a 5-10% change in traffic or conversions. According to an article by Revecka Jallad on Forbes.com, the following is true:
“When it comes to purchasing decisions, studies show that the brands consumers recognize most are more likely to be included in their consideration sets. In fact,75% of shoppers said they are more likely to purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history”.
Further research from Search Engine Land and Survey Monkey concludes that 70% of consumers look online for names/brands that they recognize first in making purchase decisions.
So what does this mean for an effective SEM Strategy? Let me break it down by platform:
Be more open to using targeted display ads and social media to raise brand awareness and recognition. Display and Social Media are typically much less expensive than text ads and can help to feed the top of the buying funnel with potential customers that are great targets for remarketing. Strive for a consistent message with traditional broadcast and print media (ie. Newspaper, Magazine, Radio and TV). Branding helps to convert those clicks into customers.
Be conscious of keeping SEO content “On Brand” and being consistent with the branding of the firm. Be sure to make the brand visible not only in the most competitive keywords for the goods and services offered by the client but also look for long-tailed keyword streams (ie. Best SEO for Craft Breweries) that will bring additional qualified visitors to the website to make them candidates for remarketing. This is important for both Brands that are in the process of building awareness, and for the larger brands that are working to maintain their existing audiences and find new customers.
Eric Van Cleave is the CEO and Digital Marketing Director for TIV Branding
TIV Branding is a boutique branding firm in Sonoma County, California. We specialize in building brands by using traditional, social and digital channels in unison. If you would like to discuss a project or find out more about how we do what we do, please email us at info@TIVbranding.com.