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Updated 3/20/19

An update to this article about brand awareness originally published October 15, 2014…
In search engine results pages (SERPs), the ability to rank highly for keywords related to your products and/or services will always be a reasonable marketing goal.  Search engine optimization is still a thing, and there are many things about SEO that have changed over the years.  (Read our recent article, Creating the Optimal Website for Your Business, which touches on some of the important things you can do to improve your odds.)

Brand awareness (aka brand authority or brand recognition) is a key factor in generating organic website traffic.  Dominating your industry for your company’s name tied to your product is virtually a guaranteed top result when web searchers go looking for that something they need.  Example:  search “windows” and, of course, a variety of topics and brands will come up.  Did you mean Windows software or windows for your house?  At this point, we haven’t really addressed brand, although “Windows” with a capital W would lend itself to a software search; however, search isn’t really interested in nuances like capitalizing letters.  Search “Pella windows” or “Anderson windows” and see what comes up.

What is the likelihood that you will search a particular brand?  If those offering a product or service have done a good job of building brand authority, chances are their brand name will be directly searched in tandem with the product.  Think “Colgate whitening toothpaste” vs. “whitening toothpaste” or “lightbulbs” vs. “Sylvania lightbulbs.”  Not to belabor the point, but you get the picture.

We stand by everything we stated almost 5 years ago below…

It’s a time in our world when marketing is easy and can be somewhat inexpensive to companies large and small.  Or is it?

After 14 years of watching a slow and then rapid shift of marketing budgets from traditional to digital and somewhere / everywhere in between — marketers seem more unsure than ever about where to put their dollars efforts.

Red-Eyed Tree FrogPhoto courtesy of

Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Photo courtesy of

How can one sing loudest in a forest, when tree frogs of all sizes, voices and varieties are widely available?

Recently a networking associate mentioned attending a marketing course, where one lesson addressed how many businesses are fixated on being the best or better than their competitors at making or doing what they do.  Bottom line, you can make or do whatever at the highest level, but if no one knows about you, your quality may not matter.

If you’ve completely eschewed traditional marketing or advertising for digital opportunities, or you’re going for the big organic search result, maybe you should rethink this plan.  Whether your ads or public relations run in print or digital media, you’ve got to be out there getting exposure.  Sure, as digital marketers we certainly believe in organic search engine placement.  However, it’s also good to remember that if someone isn’t looking for you in search results (search = need now — example:  I need a mover to pack my stuff and get me moved, my pipes are leaking need to find a plumber) you need to remind consumers of the services you offer, so that when they do need you, it’s you they think of.

For products and services that are more impulse buys or discretionary, you need to advertise or be networking on some level.   Think, family photos, jewelry, horseback riding.

An example I like?  Here in Minnesota the company Extreme Sandbox offers heavy equipment adventures (  Now, how would I know about this?  I’ve seen their ads.  Where I can’t actually recall, but I’ve stored it away in my brain for a possible future play day.  I’ll admit, I would NEVER have thought about this as a service without having seen or heard their ad.

I could make more cases, but you get the drift.