Is brand awareness an outdated concept? Some purport that generalized awareness marketing does more harm than good. The contention is that brand awareness, in the traditional sense of broad-based brand messaging is received negatively by target audiences and is therefore ineffective. While this reception may be valid, is it the nature or manner of the messaging rather than it’s personalization at first introduction that is causing the disconnect?

No doubt the interaction with a target on their journey to purchase must become more personal much more quickly than traditional marketing has embraced. But isn’t there a place for a broad introduction to the brand? If the target has not been exposed to the brand, how can the brand know the target enough to approach it personally? Ever known those people who fake friendship with you the first time you meet? While not a technical term, it’s creepy. And marketing can nuzzle up to targets feigning personal knowledge in an attempt to create brand affinity only to be viewed as insincere.

So the question is what is the initial introduction to the brand? And for the brand, the initial introduction to the target? Knowledge of the broad characteristics of the target audience, including psychographics, aspirations, challenges, etc. can semi-personalize a broad-based message that resonates with a broad-based audience in an authentic way. This isn’t a new concept, it’s merely a reapplication in a non-authoritative, hierarchical manner. Brand as peer rather than brand as god.

Personalization is about learning. It’s about understanding a person’s needs, wants and desires and reacting to them authentically to help. In our view, there is still a place for broad-based awareness early in a relationship. It can take any number of communication forms. It should, however, stimulate the audience to engage, and that engagement launches the narrowing of messaging to the personalized one-on-one marketing both brands and prospects crave. We would love your thoughts on the topic. Let’s continue the discussion.