Share of Voice vs. Share of Mind

Diversity of Reason

“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.

This article was written by my brilliant partner, Jeff Sexton.

Morty Silber, CEO

Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner

Morty SilberComment