Should You Strive for Brand Saturation In Your Marketing Plan?

By Wednesday July 18th, 2012

Are you tossing aside “brand saturation” as simply a buzz term? Instead, discover what it really means to reach brand saturation, and why it is something your company should focus on.

Imagine 2020. Every public surface is covered with an advertisement. Branded messages are everywhere. We are past the 5,000 daily messages we took in in 2012, and severely past the 200 messages a day from the Mad Men era. With advertising becoming so prevalent and crowded, what is the proper way to reach brand saturation without being a blatant annoyance? Some people are unsure if brand saturation is even right for their company. Those struggling the most may even be unsure what brand saturation is. We may not have reached the world of 2020 in regards to advertising, but this question is a realistic concern of business owners today. I completely understand that brand saturation comes across as an industry buzzword with vague meaning and questionable significance. So, I thought I’d explore what it is and why it’s something you should focus on.

When I began writing this blog, I quickly understood how so many people can confuse the meaning of brand saturation. When running a keyword search on Google for ‘brand saturation,’ I discovered that nearly every hit contradicted the previous. If experts in the field are constantly disagreeing over the definition, how is the business owner of XYZ company supposed to decide the proper route to take, or how it applies to them?

Because of all the confusion, I think it’s first important to provide a definition of brand saturation that business owners understand, without enlisting the help of scholars or executives from Fortune 500 companies. Brand saturation is a state that is achieved when a company is so effective at generating awareness and conversation around a particular brand, that nearly every person in the target market knows, follows, or is engaged by the brand.

Based on this definition, it is clear most companies will want to accomplish brand saturation, but not all companies. Those that are striving for a prestige brand will be most successful with a certain level of brand awareness and recall, but once that mark has passed, the company will experience diminishing returns from additional brand awareness. When too many consumers have access, or can afford, their luxury products, they’re no longer a statement, and their brand is affected. A good example is Alexander Amosu. Most of you, rightfully so, have probably never heard of this company. If Alexander Amosu products were everywhere it would lose its prestige status and the products would decrease in value. That being said, it is essential for business owners to first plan what the company’s marketing goals are. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

If business owners plan on striving for brand saturation, they encounter the next issue of what tactics to use to reach it. A common mistake is forcing the brand in front of consumers through as many touch points as possible. This tactic leads to the loss of the brand’s equity, or magic, as David Fredrick puts it when he discusses Disney. Fredrick is overwhelmed because he is unable to go anywhere with his children without the Disney brand encroaching though every medium.

Instead, the company needs to create engaging content for the consumer that drives conversation. With the boom in tech devices and social media, it has become easier to interact with consumers to create the necessary conversation. The challenge for companies is resisting the urge to strictly promote products the company sells, but instead, develop a content strategy that allows for discussion with loyal consumers. Old Spice has done this with brilliant execution. With over 2 million likes, frequent posts of very unique content, and over 100 comments per post in some cases, their accomplishment of brand saturation is very obvious.

Apple has also captured brand saturation over the last decade using a different strategy than Old Spice. They create such engagement and hype around the products that the company has developed a lifestyle that encompases the brand. In addition, the company has achieved brand saturation without damaging their brand equity. They have instead improved upon it. Both approaches have been effective for the two companies mentioned. It is important for you as a business owner or marketer to determine what tactic is right for your company.

Brand saturation isn’t right for every company. If you determine it should be a goal of your company’s marketing plan, understand there are different ways of achieving it. And keep in mind, if the message your company is sending to your target market is lacking the ability to engage your consumer, then you are failing to accomplish your goal and wasting your time. Until you change the conversation, you are just adding to the clutter.

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About the Author

Bryce is the Director of Marketing Strategy at Brolik, using his diverse background in marketing and finance to develop marketing campaigns that are both human and data driven. Bryce is the fearless leader of Brolik’s digital marketing team, overseeing client accounts and supporting some of the more technical aspects of our campaigns. He is also an avid home-brewer, and is working on building an Arduino into his kegerator as we speak.