Brand salience is the extent to which a certain brand is given importance when the consumer is facing a buying decision. If you are new to marketing, you wouldn’t have got this. And your question remained intact, if you are not confused already.


What is Brand Salience?

Visualize yourself going to a store to buy a bottle of soda, not so sure what you feel like having. Once in front of the cold aisle (or freezer), you gravitate towards a brand, let’s say Pepsi Cola, and pick it up. Even though there might be other colas in the same aisle, but you picked up Pepsi.

Why? Probably because you are more familiar with its taste, brand colors, or recently saw an ad. It could be anything.

Marketers define this gravitation towards a certain brand, as having a higher brand salience.

An unknown brand has a weaker or non-existence brand salience, where as a brand like Pepsi or Coke have a higher brand salience.


Why Brand Salience Matters?

If the customer doesn’t think about the brand at the time of purchase, then that brand doesn’t exist. It will not even do any good on sales because the brand doesn’t resonate with the customer when he or she is in a buying moment making a decision.

Often, people confuse brand salience with top of mind awareness. But there is one thing that differentiates brand salience from top of mind awareness. Top of mind is only about brand recall when customers are prompted or asked to name brands they remember, whereas brand salience is the recall plus preference the customer has when buying the product.

A high top of mind awareness tell us that people know and recall the brand. Brand salience tells us if they are likely to buy it. Two completely different concepts.


How to Drive and Pump Your Brand Salience?

There no specific rule or formula to increase brand salience. There can be a number of factors that can help elevate brand salience of a brand, but it’s  not possible to single out one (or a few).

  1. Brand awareness is one of the most fundamental elements of brand salience. People should be aware of your brand. They should know your brand exists.
  2. The next important factor is brand familiarity. The customers should be informed about what your brand does. Brand familiarity and brand awareness are often used interchangeably, but they’re not. Where brand awareness is just about becoming part of a customers universe, brand familiarity is a step forward where the customer knows what the brand is, and what it does.
  3. Being relevant is another important ingredient for a higher brand salience recipe. Your brand should be relevant to the customer, otherwise they won’t care if you exist or not. Trying to sell baby diapers to a teenager is not going to help your brand salience within this target audience – however it will be much higher within potential mothers or pregnant women.
  4. Recency of communication helps to increase frequency of messaging – and if this is done within the right moments (or moments that matter) for a specific target audience, it will help add to brand salience.
  5. Resonate with the audience by building an emotional connection. You can do this by creating meaningful advertising campaigns that can nudge them to appreciating your brand more. CSR campaigns are also good examples of building emotional connections where brands give back to the community.
  6. Positive reinforcements through reviews and word of mouth. People trust other people who have used specific products and brands, and encouraging your existing customers to submit public reviews can be a great way to achieve this. Another way that brands do this, is through influencer marketing.


Next time you are about to buy something from your neighborhood grocery store, be conscious of why you pick one brand over the other. It will help you understand the importance of brand salience first hand.


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