Establishing a brand awareness strategy helps your business stand out from the crowd. It is what gives your customers that split-second recognition of who you are and the benefits that you can provide to your customer base. Your branding strategy incorporates your slogan, logo, tagline and any another consistent aspect of your marketing strategy. These are the aspects that customers recognize first.
I. Benefits of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness occurs as customers begin to recognize who you are simply by coming into contact with your logo, tagline or slogan. This awareness helps increase traffic to your company website as potential customers gain exposure to your brand image. An increase in website traffic prompts lead generation to occur, which ultimately leads to an increase in sales revenue. So a lack of brand awareness can directly affect your bottom line.
When you work to create a sense of brand awareness for your company, it gives customers the opportunity to see the value that you can provide first-hand. You may add value into what you provide to consumers by offering something extra that sets you apart from the competition. This can be in the way that you offer quality products that resolve an issue that customers face. When you work to build a brand that showcases how you go the extra mile for customers, they take notice and pledge their loyalty to you.
As your target market audience begins to recognize your brand and see the value that you provide, they will begin to trust your company. That trust leads to customers selecting you over the competition – without question. You will start to see an increase in web traffic and lead generation in your sales department. The additional activity paves the way for sales increases to take place as potential customers convert into loyal clients who make purchases from you on a regular basis.
II. The Importance of Building Brand Awareness
Your brand becomes an extension of your business and the image that it presents to the marketplace. It becomes the first thing customers notice about your business and the one thing that the competition monitors closer than anything else in the industry. With so much riding on your brand, it is essential that it becomes something memorable.
It Is the First Marketing Step
Before you can start focusing on marketing practices and promotional campaigns, you need to have an idea of the image you want to place in the minds of consumers in order to increase brand recognition. When you attempt to create promotional items without having a sturdy brand in place, you are blindly providing a product or service to consumers and expecting them to find their way back to you on their own.
You can have the greatest product on the market that solves every problem that consumers face but lose them due to a lack of branding. With a strong brand, consumers clearly know who is adding value to their experience. The competition will also begin to recognize who you are and what they are up against when it comes to earning consumer trust and loyalty.
It Keeps You on Top
When needing to make a purchase decision, consumers turn towards the first company that comes to mind. Your brand helps to place you at the top of that list. The manner in which you deliver on the promises you make, and the quality of products or services you provide, work to keep you on the mind of consumers. Combine the manner in which you do business with a consistent online presence to take a prominent place in front of your target market audience.
Each time you add value to the customer experience, you are working to increase brand awareness as well as brand loyalty with that client. They begin to seek out new products or services that you offer simply because they appreciate the value that you provide. By maintaining a relevant position in the minds of consumers, you demonstrate that quality and value are still important assets within your organization. Your brand awareness keeps customers coming back and brings potential customers to your doorstep so that they can see exactly what is behind your brand.
It Builds Equity
Traditionally, business equity is the term that describes the physical assets of your company. It includes items such as buildings, company vehicles, office equipment and other physical assets that add to the financial value of your business. Brand awareness marketing works to build equity for your business in a non-physical manner.
As the level of your brand awareness increases, more consumers gain exposure to your company and the products or services you offer. Those consumers begin to interact with your company, inquire about your industry, and learn more about what you stand for and how you can add value to their world.
Each new consumer that comes into contact with you and walks away after having a positive experience with your business enhances your brand reputation. An increase in brand reputation helps your business grow and expands your loyal customer base. All of these factors work to increase sales revenue at some point down the road. That additional sales revenue adds financial value to your company’s equity.
It Creates a Digital Impact
Your brand awareness impacts your physical business as well as your business’s online presence. The manner in which consumers perceive your business in a physical location transfers to the online community. Positive experiences are displayed next to negative experiences.
You want to work to ensure that the positive posts outweigh the negative ones. A large percentage of consumers go online first to research a product, a service or a company. You can have a great physical business, but poor online posts about your business can be enough to prompt a potential customer to move on to the competition.
III. How to Achieve Brand Awareness
The competition in your industry is fierce. Each company is using brand awareness tools to create eye-catching slogans, run promotional awareness campaigns and target new market segments in an effort to attract the attention of potential customers.
Establishing a strong sense of brand awareness within your industry works to give you a solid position in the mind of consumers. The ultimate goal of achieving brand awareness is to be the first option consumers think of when they are looking to purchase a new product or use a new service. There are several ways in which you can achieve brand awareness.
1. Provide Exceptional Service
The quality of service that consumers receive from your business works to establish how strong your brand awareness will be within your industry. When a customer comes in contact with your company, that person is looking for recognition. They are looking to see that simply being in your store matters to your business.
Prompt service, quality products and affordable prices factor into the level of service that you provide. It is critical that you and your staff place customer service at the top of your business list each day.
2. Establish an Emotional Connection
At the end of the day, your customers are human beings just like you. This means that you need to make an emotional connection with them that extends beyond sales figures and quarterly profit margins. Consumers are only willing to do business with companies they can trust, so you need to give them reasons to trust you.
Trust is something that is earned, and this is most easily done when you listen to the issues that consumers are facing and then tailor your products and services to resolve those issues. Customers need a chance to get to know you before they learn about your brand and how it benefits their world. As they begin to see you as a person and hear stories that you share, you become more personable to them. Consumers begin to relate to you on an emotional level. They are more than eager to make a purchase from you and become loyal customers in the process.
3. Be Consistent
You will only be relevant to the consumers in your industry when you work to remain present in their mind. Maintaining an online presence works to accomplish this task. Social media and company websites give you the opportunity to engage in conversations with members of your audience. You can get to know them on a personal level, and they gain the understanding that you are actively engaging in business. You need to work to stay front and center in their world to prevent them from turning to the competition the next time they need to make a purchase.
4. Sponsor a Charity Event
Local charity events in your area often provide excellent opportunities for you to serve as an event sponsor or present a promotional advertisement. Look for events such as golf tournaments, school carnivals or craft fairs, as these give you the chance to interact with the local community, your customer base, and introduce your brand to those who have not yet had a chance to interact with your business.
IV. The Role Digital Marketing Plays
Digital marketing practices promote your product or service and your company online. It encompasses all forms of electronic media and allows you to receive real-time indicator results letting you know how well a particular campaign is performing.
Modern technology has changed the way consumers interact with companies and engage in research to learn more about a product or service. This means that digital marketing now plays a significant role in increasing your brand awareness. There are several digital marketing practices you can engage in that work towards the enhancement of brand awareness.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of including target keywords in the content that you publish both on and off of your website’s pages. These keywords are relevant to your target market audience and often include the same words or phrases that customers use when searching for a product or service online.
As you work to include these keywords in the content you create, search engines such as Google take note of this information. When a consumer enters those same keywords into a search engine, your website receives a prominent spot on the search results page. Your goal is to be as high on this list as possible. Consumers often don’t search past the first few pages of results, so having your website on the first page increases traffic to your website, which in turn increases your lead generation potential.
Content Is Key
You have the ability to substantially increase your brand awareness simply by creating valuable content for your target market audience. When you select relevant topics, you have the opportunity to become an authority figure as you illustrate how well you understand the issues facing your industry. There are two primary ways that you can gain the most exposure for the content that you create. The first way is by hosting a blog on your website.
On your website’s blog, you can post articles, videos, images or other media forms and share those publications with your target market audience. Having a blog increases the traffic to your website, which in turn increases your brand awareness. It also gives you the opportunity to show how your products or services provide customers with a benefit or add value to their world. To gain the most exposure from your blog, you need to consistently publish new content at least twice a week.
The second way you can make content work for you is by serving as a guest author on industry-relevant blogs other than your own. Identify the publications that your market segment frequently reads and then create content for those publications. This works to increase brand awareness as your articles will go before a new market segment that you would most likely be unable to reach on your own.
Social Media Presence
Social media is an invaluable tool for increasing your company’s brand awareness. Your consumers are active participants on various social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They divulge tidbits of information from their daily lives, good and bad experiences, and anything else they feel the need to share. You need to be a part of this action by taking part in their conversations.
You can host group chats where everyone shares ideas and provides insight into problem-solving situations. Here are several ways you can actively participate in social media.
- Host a Facebook group
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level. As a group host you can share product tips, offer advice, ask questions and just pay attention to the information that group members are sharing.
- Hold a Google+ Hangout session
Google+ Hangouts are the ideal opportunity for you to see your customers face-to-face on video chat sessions. You can host a panel discussion with a question and answer format, which will allow participants to ask anything they want to know about your company or your products and services.
- Share behind-the-scenes photos on Instagram
Instagram is a great social media platform for sharing eye-catching images and short videos. You can give customers a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in your warehouse or office, or as you are putting a new product or service together. Offer relevant product tips through short videos that your followers can comment on and share with their social circles.
- Hold relevant hashtag conversations on Twitter
Hashtags take conversations and split them into smaller, more relevant groups for easier conversations to occur. You can follow several industry-relevant hashtags to see real-time conversations that your customers are having and join in when you have something of value to add. Pick a hashtag of your own, spend a few days promoting it on Twitter, and then hold a group chat featuring that same hashtag.
- Share interesting links to content on Pinterest
Pinterest is quickly becoming a valuable content-sharing social media channel. You can share links to the content that you publish along with other information that you feel adds value to the customer experience. Pin content that other users share to content boards that you create.
- Host an Internet radio show or Podcast
Internet radio and podcast shows give you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority figure within your market. You can do this by discussing industry-relevant topics and sharing what you know about these topics. Customers can tune into your radio show or podcast from anywhere that has an Internet connection. They can listen in real-time or catch up with your show by replaying your broadcast at a more convenient time.
Social media is a great platform for increasing your brand awareness. On social media, your interaction potential does not just include the customers who are following your accounts. When you use hashtags, host groups, have a radio show and more, members of the general public gain exposure to both your company and your brand. It expands your reach to include potential customers that you would otherwise not reach through traditional marketing practices.
V. The Role Print Marketing Plays
Traditional print marketing can still be beneficial for increasing your brand awareness. Consumers still respond to print advertisements that appear in newspapers, magazines and direct mail pieces. In a world of modern technology, traditional marketing methods stand out more than you might think.
Print marketing encompasses the practices of creating advertisements for newspapers, magazines, billboard displays and direct mail activities. You have the opportunity to place your brand in front of a wide audience, potentially reaching a market segment that would otherwise go unnoticed in a more specific campaign. There are several different print marketing practices you can utilize as a way to increase brand awareness.
1. Newspaper and Magazine Advertisements
With this form of print marketing, you can determine what type of market publication would be the best match for your promotional messages. You can select from local, regional or national publications. Decide whether you want to stick with a mainstream publication, such as a general newspaper or mainstream magazine, or a specific publication if you prefer, such as trade publications or special interest newspapers. You can also reach a wider audience by selecting publications that publish daily or weekly instead of just once a month.
2. Writing a Book
You can put the power of your knowledge base into the palm of customers’ hands by writing a book. A book presents customers with an opportunity to learn more about your industry, your products and services, or even yourself as they read. You have the option of creating the content from scratch or combining popular blog posts into a book on a particular topic. Self-publishing services provide you with the ideal platform to turn your thoughts into a book for your market segment.
3. Direct Mail Campaigns
Direct mail is beneficial for reaching a particular market segment that needs additional exposure to your brand. With direct mail, you can pinpoint a specific section of a wider target market audience and tailor direct mail pieces to specifically appeal to the interests of this smaller group. Customers love receiving mail pieces that are not bills, political flyers or other pieces of annoying junk mail. You may want to consider the following direct mail pieces for your customer base.
Create flyers that highlight the services you provide a target market audience and how those services are beneficial to them. Include your contact information and a call-to-action letting customers know the next step they need to take in interacting with your company.
Brochures are ideal marketing pieces to hand out at conferences, career fairs, trade shows and other events where you come into contact with a large portion of your target market audience.
You can use postcards to send a casual, friendly message to your target market audience. Say ‘hello,’ announce an upcoming sales event or the arrival of a new staff member, or just say ‘thank you’ for being a valuable part of your company.
VI. The Role Guerrilla Marketing Plays
Guerrilla marketing works to help you gain the attention of customers by requiring you to step outside of your comfort zone and raising your brand awareness at the same time. It encompasses marketing practices that are unconventional and catch customers by surprise. Consider the following examples of guerrilla marketing to develop and expand the reach of your brand.
- Organize a flash mob to deliver a promotional message.
A flash mob is a public gathering where people engage in a choreographed dance or similar activity. You can organize a flash mob to congregate in areas that your target market audience frequently visits. At the end of the dance activity, participants can hand out flyers highlighting your brand and a promotional message you are offering.
- Hold a treasure-hunt contest within your local community.
Send customers on a scavenger hunt for items that local stores are holding. At the end of the hunt, award the top three teams that finish the fastest with a prize relating to your company. Everyone will remember your brand from the fun activity and you will gain an opportunity to partner with local businesses for the event.
- Host a giveaway for prizes.
Everyone loves a contest, and your customers are no different. Hold a contest involving customer participation. Ask for images that show customers using your product in a fun way, and see who can collect the most likes for their photo of your product. The contest can be anything imaginable. Award the winner with free items like key chains, coffee cups, flash drives and other promotional items showcasing your brand.
- Take a controversial approach on an industry topic.
A little controversy can work towards increasing your brand awareness as customers engage in debates on topics that touch a nerve or ignite their passion. You can hold a debate forum at your office or other public location in your area. Customers will have fun participating in friendly debates and remember your brand as the host of the event.
VII. The Importance of Image Presentation
Your brand is the face of your company. It is what represents you in the eyes of the consumer and the competition. It needs to stand out from the crowd and catch the attention of customers as early as possible in the lead generation stage of the purchase process. For that reason, you need to consistently present the same image across the board.
Maintaining a consistent image in the presentation of your brand does more than just look visually appealing. It sends a message to your customers that they can place a great deal of trust in you and you will remain true to your word. You become a company that does not make empty promises or provide low-quality products or services. A consistent brand image shows that you work to put the customer first in every aspect of your business.
Extend your brand’s image consistency beyond profile photos, color schemes and tagline wording. Your email signature, newsletter format and other print materials need to maintain a consistent appearance as well. Customers begin to expect a consistent image from you and it becomes the identifying factor for picking your brand image out of a crowd. It becomes a source of comfort for them and they look for it before doing business with your company.
There are a variety of brand awareness strategies in which you can improve your brand recognition within your market segment. However, the brand you create needs to be unique, stand out in a crowd and work to give you a competitive advantage in your industry. It should be something that translates the benefits that your company provides to customers. Be consistent in the presentation of your brand image from the postcards that you may send out in a direct mail campaign to the color scheme on your website.
Stay actively involved on your social media channels to give customers a chance to get to know you on a casual, friendly level. Send out promotional flyers, write a book and consistently post blog articles or serve in guest post positions within your industry. These activities expand your reach within your market segment by placing your brand in front of consumers that you otherwise would not be able to reach. Each time your market reach expands, your brand image follows suit.
Still feeling as though you're not sure how to create a brand awareness strategy for your business, or that you want to learn more about brand awareness but just don’t have the time to add this task to your never-ending to-do list? Contact us today to see how we can help you kick off your brand awareness strategy today.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!