This post is part of our Brand Awareness 101 series: blog articles filled with helpful tips, insights and strategies to take your brand recognition to the next level.

We’ve already talked about why brand awareness is so essential to business growth. But when it comes to boosting that awareness, it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Your first step could be a digital campaign—but should you choose an awareness campaign, or a sales one?

Awareness campaigns vs Sales campaigns
According to Salsify’s 2022 Consumer Research Report, 46% of surveyed consumers say they would pay more for brands they trust.[1] And that first step to creating trust is building awareness.

So while sales campaigns are all about encouraging people to take a purchase step, awareness campaigns introduce your brand and help you build loyalty with your audience. Here are some real-world examples of each:

Sales Campaign: Subway’s “$5 Footlong”
Back in 2008, Subway launched a new sandwich deal: just $5 for any footlong on their menu. With catchy jingles and ads, the promo became Subway’s most successful campaign ever. So what makes it a sales campaign and not an awareness campaign? Since the “$5 Footlong” promo is solely focused on driving foot traffic and sales, Subway is assuming you’re already aware of their brand.  

Awareness Campaign: Burger King’s “Reclaim the Flame” Rebrand Campaign
In 2021, Burger King ditched the logo they’d used since 1999 in favor of a fresh, minimalist new logo and a total brand overhaul. With a new tagline, the start of a nationwide store upgrade, and a $150 million advertising campaign, BK wasn’t pushing a new menu item or deal. Instead, it was letting their customers know that while the look had changed, they could still count on the brand for the burgers they know and love—a textbook example of brand awareness.

Sales Campaign: Apple’s New AirPods Pro
In the first quarter of 2023, Apple released their newest AirPods with a stronger noise cancellation feature, and the ads were all about easily blocking out the chaotic sounds of everyday life. Since the intention was to drive sales of a particular product instead of the whole roster of Apple products, this was a sales campaign, through and through. 

Awareness Campaign: Coke’s “Share a Coke” Campaign
In 2011, Coke launched their international “Share a Coke” campaign, replacing the traditional Coke logo on one side of a bottle with the phrase “Share a Coke with” followed by a person’s name. The campaign was wildly popular as people looked for bottles with their names or their friends’ names. So what makes this an awareness campaign? While “Share a Coke” did increase sales, the purpose of the campaign was grounded in the brand’s purpose: enjoying and sharing Coca-Cola with friends and family. 

What makes an awareness campaign great 
Just like “Share a Coke,” great awareness campaigns are all about memorability. Your goal is to stand out among the competition and highlight an appealing advantage. That means even if these consumers are not currently in the market for your service or product, you’re top of mind the moment they are.

Here are some tips to make sure your brand awareness campaign stands out and gets recognition it deserves. 

  1. Messaging  
    Consider your 60-second elevator pitch to new customers. What are the essentials you’d want them to know about your brand? What makes your brand different from its competitors? These key points form the messaging strategy for your awareness campaign. And once you’ve piqued your audience’s interest, drive them to your website so they can continue learning more.
  2. Design
    Remember: for many of your audience, this is their first introduction to you. So make sure your colors, logo and branding are impactful, consistent and eye-catching. Or better yet, consider creating a short and engaging brand video, perfect for awareness ads since interactive content gets more clicks than static content.
  3. Ad placement
    So you have all the ingredients for great awareness ads, but where should you put them? Digital ads are always a great option, meeting consumers on some of their favorite sites. But we can’t forget social media either. Consider the platforms your consumers love most – or the ones they use to get recommendations and talk about purchases. Using multiple social platforms can make your campaign much more dynamic and effective.

What makes a sales campaign great
While awareness campaigns are about memorability, sales campaigns are about wantability. Your goal is to convince customers that they need your product—ASAP. Whether it’s promising an affordable lunch or showing how relaxing your day can be without a chaotic soundscape, your audience should know exactly what benefit they’ll get by buying your product.

Here are some tips to stand out and make the sale:

  1. Messaging
    Rather than an elevator pitch for your whole brand, focus on how a particular product solves a pain point or gives your audience an edge. Once they’re convinced, don’t forget to make it easy for them to follow up and purchase with a link or QR code.
  2. Design
    Of course, use images, gifs or video to show off your product’s best angles— but don’t forget to show people using that product. Make it easy for your audience to visualize themselves using it and how it could fit easily into their lives.
  3. Ad Placement
    Like with awareness campaigns, take a look at where your customers gather, both online in general and on social media, and meet them there with your product.

Ready to create a sales or awareness campaign that catches your audience’s attention? Reach out to learn more about our collaborative approach.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our next 101 blog, where we’ll talk about the four “whats” to finding your unique point of difference.

1Salsify, Consumer Research 2022 (