One of the major issues that brand and marketing managers have today is that their campaigns are often built on guesswork. Because brand performance has been notoriously difficult to track they don't bother, and base decisions on gut feeling instead. But they are wrong. Brand performance is actually quite easy to track when you use a brand funnel.
Not familiar with the brand funnel? This article will explain what a brand funnel is and how you can use insights derived from the brand funnel to make better marketing decisions and accelerate growth.
What is a Brand Funnel?
A brand funnel is a conceptual model that represents a consumer-centric framework for the theoretical journey people take towards brand loyalty. It looks something like this.
Just like any other relationship, there are different stages of a consumer's relationship with a brand. Understanding first how customers journey through the brand funnel is crucial for the success of your brand. The stages are as follows:
Awareness: how many people have heard of the brand
Consideration: how many of those who are aware of the brand would consider using them
Preference: how many people would choose the brand over the competition
Usage: how many people are currently using the brand and to what extent
Advocacy: how many people would recommend the brand
Brand funnels have evolved from an act of sales to a strategic tool which provides insightful information about your audience. For instance, a brand funnel can:
- Help you asses your brand’s health
- See where you’re losing your audience
- Determine what changes you can make to patch any holes
Basically, everything you need to grow!
How to Use a Brand Funnel to Determine Brand Health
A brand funnel is not a complicated tool. In fact, you can pretty much determine your brand's health simply by looking at the shape of the funnel.
Skinny Brand Funnel
If your brand funnel is skinny from top to bottom this may be a sign that you are in trouble (or at the start of your brand journey). A skinny brand funnel indicates that you are already having problems at the first stage: your attempts to increase brand awareness are not resonating with your target audience.
The latter half of this article will discuss how to move consumers from stage to stage but the important point to remember here is that, as tempting as it might seem, do not skip the awareness stage of the funnel. If you really want to fuel long-term growth, you have to put the effort in here first.
Upside Down Triangle Brand Funnel
If your brand funnel begins wide but gradually narrows as it reaches the end, you are not providing consumers with enough value for them to stay with you. There is a leak somewhere and you need to fix it! You really need to take a deep dive into your overall company performance to determine the exact problem but here are some of the most common causes of "leakage":
You are depending too much on sales/special offers/vouchers
Your brand is not well differentiated from the competition
Your product/service is not good
Your customer service is lacking
Fat Brand Funnel
If your brand funnel is robust from top to bottom, well done! Just remember, not everything lasts forever. Today's consumers are fickle and have more choices than ever across all industries. Stay on top of your brand funnel and monitor any change in size. You need to be proactive rather than reactive to win.
How to Guide Consumers Along the Brand Funnel
No matter the shape of your brand funnel, you will also have one main aim: to guide consumers from one stage to the next until they are fully fledged advocates of your brand. Here is how you can run a smooth brand funnel.
Awareness to Consideration
Probably the main reason why consumers don't move from the awareness to the consideration stage is because the brand is targeting the right people. Unfortunately, brands today are still fans of catch-all marketing, where they shoot out campaigns to everyone. That might lead to impressive results in impressions and even website clicks but, if your product/service isn't want the consumers is looking for, they won't consider your brand, let along purchase from it. If you want to have a fighting chance of gaining a loyal customer base, you have to determine a perfect target audience and market to them only.
If you already have that perfect target audience, consider that your messaging might be the issue. Is that all important emotional connection missing? Look back on previous campaigns and find out.
Consideration to Preference
Now that your brand is a contender, how do you make it the brand of choice for your target audience? The secret is in that emotional connection. You need to fulfil the consumers needs and also appeal to their values. What can you provide them that no other brand can? See what the competition is doing. Is it working? Can you put your own twist on it? If you need inspiration, take a look at the Lego “Rebuild the World” campaign.
Preference to Usage
You are coming close to closing that sale but how can you guarantee it? By ensuring you have that USP. It works more or less the same way as fostering that emotional connection: what can I offer consumers that no other brand can? Or, if I am offering the same thing, what makes my product/service better?
Once you have determined your USP, shout about it loud and proud. If you can get some customer testimonials that shine the light on your USP, all the better!
Usage to Advocacy
The last step can often be the hardest and often can be outside the control of the brand/marketing team. If you want to turn one-time buyers into brand loyalists, then strong customer support is the way forward. Take the time to sit with your customer support and understand their pain points. It is communication? Outdated processes? Disengaged employees?
Whatever the problem may be, you need to make the necessary changes that will get your funnel flowing smoothly from top to bottom. Plus, the solutions for these problems are usually areas that are important for branding too: a chatbot, a substantial FAQ section, emails.
If you are really serious about building a top-notch brand then you need to take the guesswork out of your operations. Implement and monitor a brand funnel so you can really know how your overall brand health is performing and the areas which are sabotaging organic growth.