The Futility of Brand Awareness | Greg Hoyos

Simply getting into people’s heads is not a guarantee of winning them as customers when they have a choice to make.

After almost five decades in marketing, Greg Hoyos has a treasure trove of advice for those in the field. And over the next few months, he’ll share some of those nuggets in a blog series entitled ‘50 Things I’ve Learned During 50 Years Of Marketing’.

This week, he takes a look at the futility of brand awareness:

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday July 27, 2017 – This is an ongoing marketing myth: believing if a company repeats its brand-name often enough, it is a guarantee of sales. But that is simply a marketer’s conceit. You can dish it out, but that doesn’t mean anyone will listen to you. Simply getting into people’s heads is not a guarantee of winning them as customers.

Think about this: everyone can name four or five brands in any product category, but that does not mean they will buy these. They buy – or not – for many reasons. And everyone can sing or hum jingles for products they will never buy. Brand awareness alone isn’t enough.

We are now exposed to so many advertising and sponsorship messages each day that we have become experts at selective listening. We ruthlessly filter out what doesn’t interest us. And your brand name doesn’t interest most people most of the time.

What consumers want is relevant messages – and that means relevant in their judgment, not ours. So, if companies can attach their brand to a message or a benefit consumers want to hear, they are more likely to retain it – and maybe even buy it.

So spend some time and think about relevance to your audience first, not about mere repetition of a brand name. Then you might be able to spend less, and achieve a lot more.

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Greg Hoyos is founder and chairman at GHA DDB. He started his first regional ad agency in 1970; has won five CLIOs (including the 1979 Worldwide Copywriting statue) and numerous Caribbean ADDYs; and is the author of ‘Marketing and Demand’ and ‘A History of Marketing in 32 Objects’. He can be reached at (246) 234-4110 or