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Brand Salience: Beyond Brand Awareness

Bill Stamats

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Brand awareness has always been the holy grail for marketers. And while awareness is certainly critical, brand salience goes one step further and turns thought into action. Brand salience is the degree to which a brand is noticed or considered in pivotal moments of choice.

Here’s an example: If I were to say, “Let’s grab a cup of coffee on the way to the office,” the brand most likely to come to mind is Starbucks or Dunkin’. And without too much thought, you’d likely begin to navigate to the nearest location. That’s because both brands have evolved beyond awareness and become salient to consumers. They’re not merely top-of-mind; they’re the probable choice when it matters most.

Of course, brand salience doesn’t happen by chance. Getting there requires strategic thinking and focused tactics that (1) expand and deepen brand awareness, (2) create positive brand memories in audiences’ minds, and (3) position the brand as a de facto shorthand for the product or service offered (Starbucks=coffee, Nike=athletic apparel, GEICO=insurance).

Building Brand Salience

Let’s examine how organizations can take the next step in brand awareness to become not merely one choice among many, but the one obvious choice. Here are three ways to increase brand salience:

Be True. Be Bold.

Authenticity is everything. Inundated with advertising since birth, today’s audiences are sophisticated marketers in their own right. They’re able to sniff out (and roundly reject) affectation in mere seconds.

To improve saliency, understand the truth of your brand. What do you do better than anyone else? What attributes can you authentically own in the marketplace?

Guided by a clear understanding of what makes your brand distinct, push the envelope a bit. Develop new — even unexpected — marketing campaigns that elevate your brand attributes and inspire your audiences.

Emotional Connection

Make an emotional connection. In a sea of sameness, does your brand stand out? If not, it’s time to develop distinctive brand assets that target your audiences on an emotional level.

Remember, your brand is a story. And when properly told, stories take root in our memory. The goal is to create an emotive brand — a product, an experience, a relationship — that’s inseparable from its stories.

The more emotional space your brand occupies in the minds of your audiences, the more likely it will be the reflexive choice during crucial moments of conversion.


We’re living in an age of technological wonder. Every day, new communication methods are connecting people across the globe. Use that momentum to engage with your audiences in creative and memorable ways.

If you haven’t already, explore ways your brand can leverage video storytelling, vlogging, podcasting, and augmented reality experiences. Expand your presence on new social media channels to grow your audience and reinforce your brand’s immediacy and relevance.

At Stamats, we believe brands are alive — constantly shaped and reshaped by people, experiences, and relationships. From insightful brand strategy to compelling brand design, we can help unleash the full power of your brand. Email us to get started.

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