What is Brand Salience and How to Pump it?

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Imagine you are at your favourite supermarket that displays a huge range of products and varieties of companies for you to choose from. How do you make your decision when you are there? I am sure most of you would go for the first product that looks familiar in the aisle and drop it in your trolley. You just witnessed the concept of brand salience my friends. Basically, brand salience is the extent to which a certain brand is given importance when the consumer is facing a buying decision.

brand salience

Confused? Just to clarify, keep in mind that there is a thin line between brand recognition and brand salience. While brand recognition is about whether the consumer is aware about a certain ‘brand,’ brand salience is about consumers’ inclination towards buying it. Hence, strong brands will have higher brand salience whereas weaker brands have low or none. Now if you are going to the supermarket to fill in your snack cabinet, and coming across the crisps section your attention is captured by a huge bag of Lay’s chips. You conveniently pick your favourite flavour of crisps and walk out an aisle full of various varieties of crisps and snacks that you have never tried before. In this particular case, Lay’s had a high brand salience for you as a consumer, because of your positive association and inclination towards Lay’s.

The question arises, what are the components to make your brand salient. How do you get into the minds of your customers and keep the exact picture of your product right when they are taking the purchase decision. Trust me, you don’t have to be a magician to go deep into the thoughts of your customers or hypnotize them to make their move towards your brand. Instead, simplest thing you need to do is build your brand personality relevant to your target audience, and make your customers associate with your brand.

Here are a couple of important promotion techniques that might help you attract your customer’s attention at the time when you need it the most.


Build Mental Cues

The first step to establishing stronger brand salience is building mental cues that enable your customers to associate with your brand; create brand awareness through these cues by communicating in a relevant tone and style through your marketing communication.

Every time you step into a mall and wish to go and buy sports gear, you see yourself heading straight towards the Nike (or Adidas) store before thinking twice. It is because of the brand association and stronger brand salience we have with Nike being the top sports gear manufacturer. Since Nike ads show athletes like Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo adorning their sport shoes and making their way towards victory, it makes most of us to believe, that when it comes to buying sports gear, we can just step in one of Nike’s shoes and become a gold medallist in the next Olympics. This is how businesses generate mental cues to help consumers associate various aspects to their product or brand, and lead to a stronger brand salience.


Effectively Communicate your Cues

Once you are successful in coming up with a range of mental cues to attract enough customers, the next step is to make sure that you communicate these cues effectively, and the secret to effective communication is knowing your audiences, and targeting them through media that they connect with. A common mistake for companies would be to make generic ads instead of speaking to their audiences to grab their attention. Don’t do that. Instead, go where your audience is. Be smart. Think of marketing ideas that resonate with your audience. Some great examples can be learnt from Coca Cola and Heineken, where they execute a small guerrilla campaign and amplify that globally through viral videos. You can check out the 13 Great Guerrilla Advertising Campaigns from 2013 that we wrote about last month.

This would not only help build brand value for your potential customers, but also help increase your brand’s salience and higher sales when it comes to consumers making purchase decisions.

A Mass Communication graduate, and a wanna-be journalist! Currently living in Tanzania - Hakuna Matata!

  • Maree Hall

    Well written, good stuff.