Most brands only convert about half of users who are in the awareness stage to the consideration stage, according to data from brand tracking platform, Tracksuit, and consumers typically have less than three brands in their consideration set. 

Brand consideration is not how many people know your brand or are familiar with your name, but rather, how many people truly consider choosing your brand when they’re preparing to buy a product, according to Tracksuit senior partner manager, Hannah Murphy.

“Awareness alone isn’t going to shift the dial. Think about how many brands you are ‘aware’ of but would never consider purchasing from,” she told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“When consumers are looking to make a purchase, they typically don’t consider more than two or three brands at a time. Consumers have a bias towards familiarity, and when presented with too many options to consider, they feel overwhelmed.

“This varies according to product category, but not by much. Packaged snacks and fast food might have a consideration set of four to five brands, while our data suggests that categories like alcohol-free drinks and dental floss have an average of one brand in the consumer’s consideration set.

Why is it important? According to McKinsey data, if a brand finds itself in a customer’s consideration set, it’s two to three times more likely to be purchased.”

How retail brands can put themselves on the front foot

Build familiarity

According to Tracksuit data, consumers who say that they know a brand very well are more than 2.5 times more likely to consider it compared to consumers who only know a brand by name.

“Familiarity most often comes in the form of exposure. The more we see something, the more we’re aware of it, the more we know about it, and the more likely we are to seek it out. Our brains seek out familiarity so naturally, consumers gravitate toward things they’re more familiar with, even if another product is objectively better,” Murphy said.

“Effectively building familiarity isn’t only about exposure, though. It’s equally about emotional connection and ensuring consumers feel close to your brand. It’s also about saliency because you can’t be familiar with a brand that isn’t mentally or physically available to you.”

Stay consistent

As with most brand marketing, nurturing consideration is a long game. Even if a customer may not be looking for what’s on offer now, there’s a chance they will in the future.

“Consistency makes your brand more memorable and tells a cohesive story, so consumers can develop a strong understanding of who you are, what you’re about, and what makes you distinct,” Murphy said.

“You need to consistently build rapport with potential customers so when they do enter the market, your brand is top of mind. At Tracksuit, we love James Hurman’s philosophy of Future Demand – today’s future demand is tomorrow’s existing demand – and being consistently in-market with brand marketing fields familiarity, and familiarity drives consideration.”

Be distinctive

There’s a lot of copycatting among brands. While unique selling points and products can be knocked off, distinct brand assets like logos, jingles, and house styles, are harder to replicate.

“Kantar data suggests that easily recognisable brands also simplify decision-making, with 52% of brands with strong assets outranking their competitors in terms of saliency. Distinctive assets help connect your performance assets with your brand assets, and allows more space for creativity, because you’re no longer trying to jam every single piece of brand messaging into a 30-second spot,” Murphy said.

Naked Life Non-Alcoholic Spirits quickly recognised that in an emerging industry – or one with many new trialling consumers – gaining familiarity would be key in driving consideration and future demand.

“Through our early consumer testing, we understood that most people in the target market who had tried our unbranded, non-alcoholic product had those ‘ah ha’ or light bulb moments quickly moving them into the consideration phase, and even the usage group after recognising how it could play a part in their drinking habits,” Naked Life group general manager, Matt Kowal said.

“As a result, our marketing strategy now focuses on the need to drive consideration leaning heavily on two particular areas – familiarity through saliency in flavour and availability, and shared values and social proofing.

“Understanding this, as well as information from our early customer surveys, we knew it was important to come up with flavours that were not only familiar, like G&Ts and margaritas, but ones that held a prominent position in their social consumption experiences.”

Naked Life discovered that more than 70% of its customers were active alcohol consumers or low-alcohol beverage drinkers, so the company was only providing part of their consumption needs.

“We needed to ensure we complemented and maximised their experience in the same way any of their other brands would (or more). Investing in market-leading ingredients, we focused on creating best-in-class flavours. We knew once someone tried a Naked Life flavour that delivered on their favoured cocktail taste experience, they would be more willing to come back and increase their frequency across the range,” Kowal said.

“Beyond this, we understood that the brand and product considerations needed to be reinforced. We bring this to life through two key areas. Firstly, we work extremely hard with retail partners to create familiarity and trust in the store through premium positioning. Secondly, we invest heavily in social proofing and sampling with micro-influencers and events, showing context and a broader understanding of how people can use the product.”

Based on Tracksuit insights. Naked Life is now the top-ranking brand in its category for people who consider purchasing non-alcoholic products. “Results show we’re converting 8% more consumers from awareness to consideration than the 90th percentile of brands in our awareness class.”