First, have you ever heard of Bing?

Don’t laugh, a lot of people haven’t.

So if you don’t know, Bing is Microsoft’s search engine competitor to Google.

And even if you have heard of it, you’ve probably never used it. At least not much.

After all, why would you Google something on Bing?

See what I mean?

The reason Google has a 90%+ market share for search is because it’s absolutely the first — and often only — search engine people think of when they turn to the interwebs for an answer.

To the point where we use Google as a verb for “search the web.”

That’s called Mental Availability.

And Mental Availability is the goal for any business running a long-term branding campaign:

To be the company people think of first and feel the best about when they need what you sell

Unfortunately, many advertising professionals (and I use that term loosely) focus entirely too much on the “feels the best about” part, and not nearly enough on the “think of first” part.

Yet being recalled in association with your ability to serve the customer is the fundamental and necessary precursor to winning the sale.

Being perceived as “the sure thing” or “the better choice” is step 2.

If your ads are ignorable or forgettable, it won’t matter how compelling your Unique Selling proposition is — you won’t be thought of when the customer needs what you sell.

And most customers go with the option they think of first (so long as they feel something positive about them).

Note, too, that it’s “feel” and not “think”

So the key to brand dominance for local businesses is creating that all-important mental availability.

Because the most important search engine to optimize isn’t Google — it’s the search engine in your customer’s head.

And doing that requires that your branding ads:

If your branding campaign is doing that — and if you stick with it over time — you’ll grow to dominate your market.

If your ads aren’t doing that, you’ll want to reboot your branding campaign to something truly effective.