While out to dinner the other night, I noticed a couple at a table near mine. The gentleman spent a good deal of the evening texting on his cell phone. I couldn’t imagine what was so important that it could not wait until after dinner, but I did notice that his female companion seemed none too pleased with the situation. I could imagine she felt ignored, unimportant, barely noticed, like she was simply taking up space at the table.

Witnessing this event got me thinking about brands and how so many simply take up space on the shelf, ignored and barely noticed. Sure, shoppers may be aware of the brand. They know it exists and have probably seen a commercial or two for it. They may even “take it out on a date” if it’s on sale or their usual brand isn’t available. However, while using/consuming the product, the consumer may be thinking of their usual brand; the one on which they would rather spend their money.

It’s not enough for consumers to be aware of your brand. Awareness does not breed brand loyalty. Being present does. Present not only in the consumer’s thoughts and emotions when thinking of your category but physically present, ready and willing to be grabbed from the shelf at a moment’s notice. Successful advertising breeds these thoughts and emotions but only a physical connection seals the deal.

Ask yourself: Are you present in your consumers’ lives…or are they texting while taking you out on a date?

Sonya Duran is an Associate Research Director at Ameritest and finds people watching a thoroughly enjoyable activity.