The key to your brand’s success is making sales, and in order to make these sales we need to consider the following: are your customers thinking of your brand, and are they able to access your brand when thinking of it in a buying situation? This is referred to as mental and physical availability and forms the basis on which brands compete. Your brand’s strength in these two areas determines how many people and in how many different situations your brand is purchased.
So what is mental and physical availability?
Your brand’s mental availability is the likelihood of your brand being noticed, recognised, or thought of in a buying situation. An extension of brand awareness, which links your brand with a product category, mental availability depends on the quantity and quality of memory links in buyers’ minds to different buying situations.
A brand can build its mental availability by developing a number of these memory links in buyers’ minds, making the brand easier to access in more buying situations. Building these links can be achieved with clear branding. Maintaining a customer’s share of mind depends on consistent and quality advertising, but advertising that refreshes and builds on these links, rather than just reminding them of the brand’s existence.
Your brand’s physical availability refers to the scope of your brand’s distribution and how easy it is for category buyers to find and purchase your brand. It is a matter of getting your product physically in front of your customers wherever and whenever they want it.
Physical availability encompasses three considerations: presence, prominence, and relevance. Presence is being present for category buyers in an array of buying situations. Prominence is how noticeable your brand is in these buying situations in comparison to your competitors. And relevance refers to context and being present in relevant category buying situations.
Both your brand’s mental and physical availability play a part in brand loyalty and therefore should be an important consideration in your marketing strategy. If your consumer can remember and easily access your brand, they will become repeat customers. It is important to keep developing new memories in your consumers’ minds and reach consumers when they are in the right frame of mind to make a category purchase to cut through the noise of competition and keep them coming back to you.