by Reaching Everyone

Posted by Andrew "Ribs" Coulthard
Account Director

What is the best way to grow your brand? Andrew Coulthard shares his learnings from the Comms Council Strategic Planning Course.

What is the best way to grow your brand? “Surely it’s about getting regular buyers to use my brand more often,” some of you might say. Would it surprise you to know that the biggest opportunity for growth actually sits in the wider category audience, with the people who don’t often buy your brand?

I recently attended the first day of a three-part training course on strategic planning run by the Commercial Communications Council. Key speakers included Roger Marshall, Professor of Marketing at AUT, and ad agency strategy leads Murray Streets, Dan West, and FCB’s own David Thomason. (Sadly, the rest of the course is currently on hold while we all sit at home – thanks, COVID-19.)

The purpose of the course was helping marketers, advertisers and media salespeople to make better decisions around how to deliver brand growth.

According to Byron Sharp of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing, there are seven rules for brand growth:

  1. Continuously reach all category buyers
  2. Ensure the brand is easy to buy (relevance)
  3. Get noticed (salience)
  4. Refresh and build memory structures
  5. Create and use distinctive brand assets
  6. Be consistent
  7. Stay competitive through distinctive innovation

For the purpose of this article, I’ll be be looking primarily at the first point: continuously reaching all category buyers.

Brand growth is driven by two factors: mental availability and physical availability. Those who are brand loyalists are already going to buy your brand, so should you really be focusing on speaking to them? The greatest opportunity for brand growth is getting a light buyer/user of your product/service to use your brand one more time. If they have a positive experience with your brand, then this may translate to more frequent use. 

The most effective tool we have as advertisers and marketers is increasing mental availability by reaching light category buyers with messaging regularly and consistently. This means that, rather than delivering excessive frequency over a short window of time (which, in turn, could accelerate creative burn-out), you should look to build your brand by delivering a consistent message in market over a long period of time, optimizing your media towards a 1+ reach objective, resetting for each burst. This is best achieved through mass media channels, such as TV.

While this is a strategy for long-term brand building, promotional activities need to be considered as a means of generating short-terms lifts or product-volume driving.

Remember, good things take time.