Recently, I took a trip to Las Vegas and flew Southwest Airlines. Knowing my apprehension toward flying, my friends allowed me to have the window seat. As the 7 hour flight got under way and I found myself watching the clouds outside, I noticed the pronounced branding going on right outside my window. Here I was flying Southwest Airlines and right there on the wing, flipped up so I can easily view it, was Southwest.com staring me in the face. If that isn’t obvious branding then I don’t know what is. It’s like they just really didn’t want you to forget to use Southwest Airlines for your next trip and here I was already on the flight.
So what does all of this mean? Simply this: branding is very important at every stage of the marketing cycle. Hopefully you are having a great experience, as I was with my flight, and this was just a friendly reminder of who I was flying with, so I would remember to use them again. According to toptenlinks.com, Southwest Airlines was rated number 5 in the rankings among the top airlines. While it’s great that they are in the top 10…they still aren’t number 1, which is where Delta stands. This really isn’t all that surprising considering how long Delta has been in business compared to Southwest, but Southwest is on the rise and if they continue with marketing strategies such as their brand awareness efforts, they are well on their way to that number one position.
One of the top goals that a business should have is for their name to become well known. If you think about it, Coca-Cola and Pepsi would not be where they are today if it weren’t for brand awareness. How often do you hear someone say they are thirsty and want a coke when really they are possibly talking about Sprite or even a Pepsi? Coke has just become a household name. Although that might not be a realistic goal for a smaller business, it should still be something to work towards. Becoming well known doesn’t have to mean everyone knows your name (insert Cheers theme song here) but it is important to become well known among your clientele and your competitors.
How can you build brand awareness? There are many ways to go about this for your business or product. To start with you can do a pay per click campaign. Bid on your name. Put your name in your ads so that it’s one of the first things searchers see when they do a keyword search and see your ad appear. Next, realize that your website is your brand. In using the Coca-Cola brand name again, their brand wouldn’t be as strong if their website was www.softdrink.com right? So remember to put your business name or brand in your website.
In conclusion, while branding is not the holy grail for your marketing campaign, it is important to remember that it is a vital dimension to success.