Top of Mind Awareness: Standing Out from the Crowd
Top of mind awareness is often called critical mass, and this is vitally important to your business. It means that when someone considers making a purchase, they think of you first. Some really great things happen here: you break free of pricing structure and can get more for your product. Whenever I consider top of mind awareness, I think of my daughter Joy and her baking.
Controlled by the subconscious:
Due to food allergies, Joy has never been able to consume wheat products. However, she loves to bake and is very skilled at it. Even in high school, she developed a reputation among her friends as being the best pie-baker around, and they would often ask her for pies on special occasions. One time, a friend’s birthday was coming up, but it was also exam week and Joy was overwhelmingly busy. In that time crunch, she reluctantly decided to buy a pie crust at the grocery store, rather than bake it from scratch like she usually did. She got home from her errand and told me, “Mom, I had no idea there were so many kinds of crusts to choose from! But I got the (popular brand), because I figured it must be good.”
The child had never consumed a product from the (popular brand) product in her life. She had seen the commercials and recognized the name, so when it was time to purchase, that company had her top of mind awareness. Why? Because the (popular brand) has reached critical mass. People are willing to pay more for a well known product than a store brand. A brand is a promise of a quality you’ll receive, and consumers expect consistently high quality from top brands. According to Guerrilla Marketing, companies can charge up to 9% more once they’re at critical mass. This explains the varying prices of products on grocery store shelves, as well as other places.
What elements are involved in top of mind awareness?
We sometimes think we need a charismatic, bubbly personality, which is an inborn trait, to sell. This is not true. In his book Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin explains that neither hard work nor talent will make one great. Rather, it is deliberate practice – intentionally and consistently working to improve skills in measurable ways – that creates greatness.
There are two facets to consistency. First, be consistent in focusing on the main thing that you’re doing. Some people are in three different multilevel business at the same time, and they’re hopping all over the place, which dilutes their efforts. Find your niche and stick with it, focusing your efforts to improve within that niche. Second, maintain or improve the quality of your product and service. Give everyone the same excellent service, and challenge yourself to keep quality high. We’ve all seen companies whose quality changes. Sometimes they get bought out and the quality decreases, so people switch to another product.
2. Quality customer service
You may have a great product, but if your customer service stinks, you won’t retain clients. For instance, I met someone twelve years ago who was a prospect for our speakers’ training. Her main objection to coming was that she had been to another speakers’ training years before, and they promised that after it was over, they would help her and keep mentoring her through the process of building her business. But then she never heard from them. They wouldn’t even return her phone calls. When she finally did come to our training – and she’s now very successful – she was amazed that we stayed in touch after the training was over, and that we still keep up with her. Make sure people are happy with your product.
When people see you consistently as the expert in your field, you’ll have top of mind awareness. People tend to be shy or modest about this, struggling to own their expertise because they keep comparing themselves to others who may know more than they do. Let me explain something: there will always be someone who knows more than you. But you know more than most about certain things. I ask clients to list every skill they have – everything they know how to do. And I hear the same thing from millennials and from second career people. They both believe nobody wants to hear what they have to say. Second career people have a ton of information in their heads that they take for granted. So do millennials, even though they might not realize it. One young lady told me she was so young that she hadn’t had work experience yet. But as we talked, I learned she had a lot of volunteer experience, especially in a local soup kitchen for the homeless. I asked what was involved.
She explained, “Well, I did find a way to streamline our process of getting food from farmers and grocery stores into our kitchen.”
I exclaimed, “You streamlined a process? That’s huge! You developed a new system for delivery.”
We added that to her LinkedIn profile and within only three weeks she was hired for a position in her career area of choice.
Continue to build your expertise
Once you develop your expertise, continue to be the expert by staying on the leading edge of your industry. There are several ways you can do this:
Choose books on an important topic in your field, and read one book a month about that particular topic. This practice will hone you into an expert in your industry. Whether you’re dealing with a product or a service, we live in the information age. There is so much data out there that we can become information brokers, able to process and pass along useful information to our clients. If you can do this, you’ll be viewed as the expert.
You can also build expertise by who you follow on social media. This is part of our association, and thanks to the internet, we can associate with anybody! A few years ago, I bought the book Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day, by Hollis Thomases. I was on Twitter, learning how to use it, and I commented on the book. Next thing you know, I’m having conversations with Hollis Thomases, the expert! And who am I? A grandmother of two, trying to figure out how to use Twitter! That’s a powerful thing. Get on your LinkedIn profile and start following experts in your field.
Why is top of mind awareness so important?
People will trust you because they know you’re always out there increasing your expertise. This enables you to see trends before they become general knowledge, and prepare your business to be able to swing with the times. In the past, it was thought that information doubled every 18 months. Right now, it takes less than a year, and it’s only getting faster. If you don’t keep up your expertise, you’ll keep falling further behind.
By staying on the leading edge, you always have unique content. People are looking for the latest information, and you can build your credibility by providing it.
If you’re continually pursuing your expertise, you’ll have great discernment for who is actually getting it done, and who is a faker. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there live by “fake it till you make it,” and it shows.
Top of mind awareness makes you stand out in a crowd
If the business world is like a starry sky at night, you’re just one little star in that glittering expanse. How can you possibly be seen? Over the long term, if you will be consistent, provide excellent customer service, and be the expert, people will take notice. That top of mind awareness will make you shine!