Top of Mind Awareness Marketing: 5 Ways to Stand Out

Let’s play a game.

When you think of an online search engine, which one immediately comes to mind? We’re betting it’s Google. When you think of streaming services, which is the first one your mind jumps to? Probably Netflix. What about something a little bit old school, like diapers or lip balm? Most likely you thought of Pampers and Chapstick.

So, what do Google, Netflix, Pampers, and Chapstick have in common? Nope, this is not the beginning of a joke. Answer: they’re all examples of top of mind awareness marketing in action.

Top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) refers to a brand or product being first in a consumer’s mind when thinking about a particular industry, just like you thought of Google when we asked about search engines. When a brand captures TOMA, they cement themselves as number 1 in their sphere. As a concept that can be measured and quantified, it sits squarely within the scope of a brand’s digital marketing efforts.

TOMA marketing involves taking a deliberate and strategic approach to your marketing initiatives. In this post, we’ll share smart ways to be the go-to brand in your industry or niche.

1. Maintain Consistency

Consistent brands are four times more likely to enjoy strong visibility compared to their less consistent counterparts. That goes to show that cultivating a consistent brand is one of the most effective ways of enhancing your top of mind awareness marketing. Here are five ways that your brand can make your identity stick.

Define your brand

Holistically defining your brand lies at the core of staying consistent over time. It means clearly identifying the message you want to send, and assessing the unique voice you want to be remembered in. Use those ideas to chisel a unique brand identity, and then stick to it.

Standardize your channels

We recognize people by their faces, so it follows that we recognize brands by their online persona. Create branding guidelines and standardize those style elements across channels; that’s how you’ll stay memorable and enable consumers to form that brand-niche connection over time.

Sell to your audience

This tip might seem obvious, but that’s why it’s overlooked so often. A consistent brand is not the one that can effectively target everyone — it’s the brand that can remain consistent for their target demographic. If you’re hoping to promote a Shopify store, for example, you need to stick to digital tools that resonate with that unique audience.

Align your actions with your brand

Every action a brand takes communicates something to their audience, whether it’s a post on Twitter or a message in a mailing list. Your actions can either reinforce or weaken your brand, and the outcome depends on alignment. Take care that every action you take is consistent with the message, voice, and feeling that your brand stands for.

Interact with your community

Consumers don’t just naturally put brands at the top of their mind — you have to make your way there. A good way to do this is by making your presence known. Interact with your audience on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This engagement tells your audience that they are more than just customers: they’re a part of your community.

2. Create Memorable Experiences

Customer experience (CX) is one of the key ingredients that can influence a brand’s top of mind awareness marketing efforts. To put that into context, CX drives a whopping over two-thirds of customer loyalty — that’s more than brand and price combined!

To really stand out, your CX needs to go above and beyond displaying simple product and pricing data. You need to create a memorable experience across all channels that will cement your brand in the mind of your consumer. One of the best ways to foster memorable experiences is by optimizing customer relationships — let’s explore a few ways to do just that.

Make clients feel special

Everyone wants to feel special, and your brand can leverage that quality to enhance consumer relationships and stay memorable. Use their name where you can (ex. texts/emails, web welcome screen, etc.). Reach out and personally thank folks for a purchase. Personalize their experience throughout the sales cycle.

Make clients feel heard

An audience will connect much better with a brand when they don’t feel invisible. So listen to them! Regularly ask them for feedback, and implement their advice whenever you can. Always address complaints on social media channels. Run online polls to gauge what your audience wants next.

Reward loyalty

Finally, it pays to incentivize loyalty. TOMA is driven by customer loyalty, and that’s why it’s crucial that you reward loyalty in every way. Deploy a rewards program for long-time customers, promote joining that program with feasible incentives, and be generous with the perks for those who stick with your brand.

3. Be a Leader

A core component of top of mind awareness marketing is presenting your brand as an industry leader. Industry leaders are brands who have set themselves apart from the competition via innovation, adaptability, and quality.

Similarly, thought leaders are brands who are unanimously seen as expert authorities on their subject-matter and niche. Brands who establish themselves as both industry and thought leaders have a massive leg-up in the race to achieve and maintain TOMA.

Here are a few popular examples:

  • Elon Musk. When you think of an electric vehicle (EV) company, Tesla instantly comes to mind. They’re widely known as leaders within the EV industry thanks in part to Elon Musk being recognized as a thought leader in the green energy space.
  • Hubspot. Another great example of this kind of dual-leadership is HubSpot. The software powerhouse has no doubt become an industry leader for their CRM tools, but they are also considered a chief source for content on marketing, sales, and customer success content as well. Their blog attracts over 4.5 million monthly visitors, thereby bolstering their TOMA.
  • Adobe. Adobe Systems Inc. is one of, if not the most popular software for artists and designers — they’re certainly an industry leader in that respect. However, their stake in conducting numerous studies to understand the future of marketing has firmly established their role as a thought leader.

4. Be Recognizable

Recognizability goes hand-in-hand with being the first brand a consumer thinks of. Whether it’s McDonald’s golden arches or Starbucks’ green mermaid, brands that achieve top of mind awareness always have a way to stand out visibly. Here are five steps you can take to be more recognizable:

  1. Have a catchy slogan.

Ex. Just Do It – Nike.

Ex. Think Different – Apple.

  1. Create a memorable logo.

Ex. multicolored Google.

Ex. cursive Coca-Cola.

  1. Develop a unique tone.

Ex. whimsical, playful Skittles ads.

Note: This tone should guide how you draft collateral, not emerge as an afterthought.

  1. Offer a predictably positive experience.

Ex. Your package will get there overnight. Guaranteed. – FedEx.

Ex. 15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance. – Geico.

  1. Create a visual style.

Ex. Casper’s lighthearted branding, hand-drawn illustrations, and soothing color scheme invoke a sense of comfort.

5. Solve Problems and Offer Solutions

A foundational tenet of business is to find a problem and sell the solution. That’s one of the biggest reasons why certain brands are thought of before others: they alleviate consumer pain-points with great products. Making life easier for your audience can and should be applied to top of mind awareness marketing in order to plainly highlight the value that your brand offers.

  • ex. DoorDash clearly solves the pain-point of getting a meal on time without having to leave the house.
  • ex. Uber undeniably makes life easier by enabling people to hail rides in minutes.

The key takeaway is that your brand should be very deliberate in communicating exactly what kind of value you’re bringing to the consumer; that value should immediately get across in your ads, website, and other channels.

Make Sure Everyone Knows Your Name

Every brand wants to be the first name that pops up in their industry. Top of mind awareness marketing makes it possible to be the go-to brand in your field. We’re Marketify, and we’re here to help make that happen.

We are a tight-knit agency of industry experts who specialize in leveraging digital tools to achieve meaningful results—our team could navigate the digital marketing landscape with our eyes closed. We work closely with our clients to fully understand your product, niche, and unique business goals. Then, we synthesize our findings into an actionable plan that is directly rooted in your success.

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