So, what does front of mind mean? In this article I’ll explain the meaning and also provide you with some powerful examples we have all been very aware of.
Since the start of last year, many of the companies, organizations and brands that were front of mind (sometimes called top of mind), have now been replaced. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic changed everything and we saw different brands respond very differently with their marketing. It was a great example of what front of mind means, and how it works.
What does “Front of mind” mean?
It’s generally used to describe the first person or brand that comes to mind, when someone thinks about a topic. For example, if I ask you to give me the name of a social network and you reply with “Facebook”, then Facebook is currently front of mind for you, among social networking brands.
One of your key marketing tasks as a business owner, is to occupy the front of mind position in your marketplace. When they need whatever you provide or need help from someone in your industry, your name needs to pop into their mind first.
If they think of 2 or 3 competitors before you, you’re way less likely to get an enquiry.
A recent example of how front of mind works, and can change, came from the way businesses responded to the coronavirus. Their reaction fit into one of the following three groups.
1. Some carried on as if nothing had happened
They were unsure what to do, so they just did what they’d always done. This made them utterly irrelevant to the new needs and wants of their marketplace. They quickly faded in prominence, in the mind of their existing clients – – let alone the minds of those who would have been their future clients.
2. Some made an announcement, then went quiet
This group saw other providers making a statement about COVID-19, so they did the same. They then reverted back as if it was business as usual, like those in the previous group. And they too saw their businesses or brands fade in the mind of their marketplace.
3. Some adapted to the challenges of the coronavirus
This group increased the relevance and frequency of their marketing messaging. They looked at the new needs and new wants of their marketplace and adapted accordingly.
Interestingly, this group included the largest of corporations and the smallest of small businesses.
- Coca Cola started to use their Twitter account exclusively to share coronavirus advice and promote charities, to over 3 million followers.
- I live in a small village where a local taxi driver switched his business, to exclusively focus on delivering shopping, hot food, medicines and other supplies to high-risk people. He’s now the best known taxi driver in the area and has an army of super loyal customers.
- In the marketplace they serve, those 2 very different businesses became front of mind.
Businesses in that 3rd group were keenly seeking out ways to proactively connect with, and be helpful to, the community they served. They used social networks, newsletters, blogs, vlogs or podcasts etc., to share useful, relevant information and they thrived as a result.
And they naturally became front of mind!
The situation in 2020 / 2021 saw lots of new brands become front of mind, and many have managed to retain the position. The key is to remember that there are opportunities in every economy, and under every kind of service conditions, to take our businesses to the front of our marketplace’s mind.