While it's difficult to calculate exact business growth from advertising, we can tell you the results from a great campaign can multiply the company's topline. The trick is to win the prospects share of mind.

“Nobody counts the num­ber of ads you run; they just remem­ber the impres­sion you make.” –William Bernbach

“Before you can have a share of mar­ket, you must have a share of mind.”  - Leo Burnett

Share of Voice: How much of the adver­tis­ing done within your indus­try and in your mar­ket is yours?

Share of Mind: When peo­ple think of your prod­uct or ser­vice, which brands or com­pa­nies spring to mind? Are any of them yours? Are you the first com­pany they think of or the last? And how do they feel about you when your brand does come to mind?

But for­get the def­i­n­i­tions of these terms. Here’s how ad leg­end Dave Trott taught me to under­stand the pow­er­ful dif­fer­ence between Share of Voice and Share of Mind:

Let’s say that 19 ads for com­peti­tors are already gain­ing “expo­sure” to your prospect. And now your ad is going to enter the mix. That looks some­thing like this:

Now, here’s the impor­tant part:


Because if all those other ads are rep­re­sented by bland, white cir­cles to signify their bland, bor­ing mes­sag­ing and pro­duc­tion, and if you broad­cast yet one more smooth, “pro­fes­sional sound­ing,” blan­d­ish­ment of an ad, then you’ll end up with a 5% Share of Voice.

But what if you don’t do that?

What if you broad­cast a flam­ing red, unig­nor­able ad that hits peo­ple between the eyes?

Well, then it would look like this:

Now, tech­ni­cally, at least, you’ll still only have a 5% share of voice.

But will that be how the audi­ence sees, hears, and remem­bers it?

Will they remem­ber your ad as one of twenty, or will they remem­ber it as the only ad that won their atten­tion and sparked their imagination?

Will they group all the other ads together as so much blah, blah, blah, and sin­gle out your ad as the excep­tion to the blah, blah?

Well, gen­eral life expe­ri­ence and gestalt group­ing prin­ci­ples indi­cate that, yeah, they will.

For instance, do you see the fol­low­ing pic­ture as 36 dots?

Or did your mind automatically group the similarly colored dots together to form six lines of dots, with three lines of white dots alternating with three lines of black ones?

Once you understand that bit of magic, it’s easy to see that — with the use of a red-hot ad — your Share of Mind chart would really looks like this:

Because while you’re still only 1 of 20 ads, yield­ing a 5% Share of Voice, that’s not how the audi­ence hears and remem­bers it.

In the mind of the audi­ence, your ad is now 1 out of 2 groupings:

  • Group 1 is your ad that stands out, and
  • Group 2 con­sists of all the other ads that blend together.

That equates to a 50% share of mind.

That’s a 10X increase in effec­tive­ness — from 5 to 50 percent!

Sim­ply by mov­ing from a mediocre to a great ad.

Of course, this exam­ple is sim­pli­fied quite a bit. It doesn’t account for past adver­tis­ing and rep­u­ta­tion and already estab­lished Top of Mind Aware­ness, and so on.

Nor does it account for whether your red-hot mes­sag­ing has much relevance.

Nor whether both your ad and your brand are recalled, or just the ad. Nor whether the recall and asso­ci­a­tions are pos­i­tive. And so on.

This adver­tis­ing busi­ness is a bit trick­ier than most peo­ple think!

But the insight remains the same, doesn’t it?

Because, really, that 10X increase IS the most impor­tant thing you need to know about Share of Voice and Share of Mind.

Morty SilberComment