A brand is no longer just a representation of what your company or its products stand for. It’s a way to connect with your customers deeper and create a life-long relationship.
Think Coca-Cola, Mcdonald’s, Apple, Google, Amazon, Nike, Starbucks, or any of the top timeless brands you can think of. Does the mere mention of the brand instantly bring to the fore its logo, products, fonts, and colors? If yes, this is what successful brand awareness is all about.
Brand awareness shapes your business and greatly impacts how your customers view you. In addition, brand awareness can help make or break your business. It impacts not just how your brand is perceived by your customer but also by your employees, investors, partners, and everyone else.
As per various studies,
- 46% of customers are likelier to pay more for a brand they trust
- 77% of customers buy from brands that share the same values
- 92% of employees would consider leaving a job to take up an offer from a company with an outstanding reputation
- 82% of investors believe brand strength and name recognition are the most critical factors determining their investment decision.
But how can businesses create authentic and incredible brands? What is the tactic that should define their brand awareness strategy?
What Is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is the instant recall that your potential customers have when they see your brand name or logo. It entails how well your brand is recognized, the values it is associated with, and the trending or buzz-worthy aspects of your brand.
Successful brand awareness is when your customers can correctly identify your brand’s logo, products, or services and, in a few cases, get a monopoly over the business you are in. For example, when you tell someone to look up something online, would you rather say, “use a search engine to find relevant information,” or are you more likely to say, “just Google it”?
When your branding has strong recall and becomes synonymous with what you offer, that is what successful branding is all about. And even successful brands constantly reinvent themselves, as Google has done since its initial days.
Importance Of Brand Awareness In Today’s Digital Era
Brand awareness is your target customer’s ideal reaction or response when they notice your brand, and it is not just something you can buy or create instantly. Building a brand takes much more than that.
Brand awareness among your target audience doesn’t happen overnight; it is all about consistent effort followed by the proper positioning, service, and values your brand should represent. Take the case in food industry, for instance, when managing a restaurant you want your customers to get the nice emotional reaction when interacting with meals from your mene. Successful brand awareness can lead to the following:
- Instant recognition in highly crowded digital and physical stores
- Credibility and advocacy from your customers, who like the experience that they got with your brand
- Customer loyalty and repeat orders
- Confidence to focus on shared values and attract the right talent
Now that we are familiar with what brand awareness is and why it is beneficial for businesses of all sizes let us look at 8 effective tips to build brand awareness without burning cash.
8 Ways to Build a Solid Brand Awareness
1. Set Achievable Brand Awareness Goals
Before starting a brand awareness campaign, you need to know what you are focusing on. Are you trying to generate awareness about your brand, or would you like to create a stronger brand recall among an already-engaged audience?
For example, if you were a brand like Subway, a well-known brand wanting to introduce its new menu. Here, the goal will be to raise awareness about Subway’s 12 new sandwiches.
For this goal, the SMART brand awareness objective for the brand could be — To generate 100,000 views on Subway’s New Menu campaign on YouTube by the end of Q4 2022.
This objective is Specific (because it mentions what to do clearly), Measurable (because it defines the number of views to be achieved), Attainable (the goal is not too easy or too difficult), Realistic (takes into account past data points), and Time-bound (mention the deadline for when the goal is to be achieved).
2. Know Your Target Audience
Once you have established your brand awareness goals, it’s time for the next crucial step — knowing who you are targeting. Unfortunately, most brands have a very vague understanding of their audience and often try to reach a wider audience.
Do extensive research, know your ideal customer, and discuss the finding in your staff meetings. The ideal way to create the right brand voice and target it to the right user group is by using Buyer Personas, which can help you know what your target audience wants. Knowing your audience also involves respecting them and providing a secure communication experience. Make sure they trust your brand, be dependable, ensure your mailing security with DMARC report checkups and other trust-feeding integrations in communication.
Darshan Somashekar, who runs Sudoku Craze, suggests using your existing audience to hone in on your brand voice. “We simply used onsite polls to learn more about our users, and why our games resonate with them. We then tailored our content and messaging to align with their ideal experience.”
Redbull’s Stratos Mission is a great example of knowing your brand’s values and audience. The brand, along with Austrian skydiver, daredevil, and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner, made history by breaking a 50-year-old record of plunging to earth from the edge of space. This historic world record-breaking event took place on October 14, 2012, and was captured with high-tech cameras to ensure that the world could watch and feel the adrenaline rush.
The brand got maximum mileage with this event, which still resonates with Redbull’s target audience – young urban males who want to live on the edge and do things differently.
3. Focus on the Right Platforms
Creating excellent brand awareness is being where your target audience is. You will need to think of the right platforms to choose depending on your goal and the kind of audience you are targeting.
Depending on the platform, you must determine the correct format and approach for your outreach. This recipe post by Buzzfeed Tasty is a great example. They took the blog content and made it into an interactive and simple step-by-step carousel post on Instagram, which was loved by the audience.
Make sure to follow consistent branding everywhere for all your social media posts and content. This will enable your customers to recognize your brand no matter the platform instantly.
4. Leverage Customer Service for Your Online Marketing
About 73% of customers will prefer a brand because of how helpful its customer service is. Even though every company wants its customers to think that they care about them, what defines this is how fast it resolves customer grievances and how easy it is for its customers to get in touch with them. The extra step they are willing to take for their customers. Video is an essential component to building trust and rapport with your audience, whether it’s a service or product. Leverage video to engage your target audience, create brand awareness, and inspire action with your potential customers.
An example of friendly yet helpful customer service can be seen in this conversation between Skyscanner’s service rep and a user who has suggested a 47-year-long layover.
This technical snag could quickly have brought bad repute to the company that provides its customers with the lowest and most ideal flights. But the way Skyscanner’s service representative turned it into a creative and helpful conversation is a case study for every organization out there.
To provide exceptional customer service, ensure you have a strategy that allows your happy customers to become brand advocates and give them a platform to tell the world how much they like your brand or service. This could be via an interview, a testimonial, or a case study.
5. Build an Employee Advocacy Program
Employees reshare only 3% of the company’s social posts but are responsible for 30% of the overall engagement. So if your employees are not your brand ambassadors, your content or online presence is unlikely to have the reach or brand awareness you are looking for.
To help employees become your brand ambassadors, create an employee brand advocacy program with clear objectives, guides, and recognition systems to reward employees enabling your brand to reach a wider audience. Build a sense of community within your team, whether it’s at work or during team-building events with special prizes like custom company shirts. While this is a fun activity for the team, it also strengthens internal solidarity and employee motivation to become a brand ambassador.
Take a cue from Google’s rulebook, which is known for empowering its employees to become brand advocates. It focuses on its campus’s uniqueness and gives each new onboarding a human touch by featuring them on its social platforms.
Employees love it when they are made the story’s focus, enabling brand advocates, which helps Google reach the best talent among potential job seekers.
6. Explore Thought Leadership Branding
Whether B2B or B2C thought leadership content becomes crucial. Especially if you want to establish your brand as trustworthy and knowledgeable in your chosen space. Thought leadership content can be highly enriching if it can help your audience learn about their function and issues in detail and adds value to their lives.
A good example of educating and creating value for your audience is the American Express Business Class Blog, which features content about branding, growth, leadership, business tips, ideas, and more. The blog doesn’t just focus on selling or promoting its products. Instead, it focuses on teaching its readers all there is about business, entrepreneurship, and the nitty-gritty of the corporate world.
When creating any thought-leadership materials, make sure your materials use the best templates, minimalist branding, and unique brand styles, reinforcing your brand regarding the selected topic.
7. Have a Brand Voice
About 88% of customers think authenticity is crucial in deciding which brand they like or support. Customers, including Gen-Z and millennials, expect brands to care about them more than they do about profits and will be more likely to stand with a brand with its unique and fun identity.
Take the example of Uber’s #ThankYouForNotRidingWithUber campaign during the 2020 pandemic.
In 1-minute, the ad captures the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on all of us while also telling its customers to refrain from venturing out, telling them to instead #StayHome and be safe. This ad shows how brands can dare to go against their conventional wisdom and still come out stronger. All they need to do is put the customer at the heart of their brand.
8. Use the Power of Storytelling.
Storytelling is a compelling marketing tactic for brand awareness, as it gives something tangible for your audience to latch onto. Brands can use storytelling to craft a narrative around the brand, humanize it, and give it the proper depth to create a long-standing relationship.
For example, you can see this in Land Rover’s 3-min clip that shows how its fleet of Land Rovers dating from 1957 is being used in a remote village in the Himalayas, focusing on the brand’s USP while reinforcing its cars’ remarkable power and durability.
The ideas mentioned in the blog are only to help you take that first step since brand awareness includes a lot more than just strategies. It’s using the right channels, making the right partnerships, and consistent yet focused promotions.
So stay authentic, and focus on your core values. Create a strategy to help you build a loyal audience that will choose your products or services while becoming your brand advocates and recommend your brand to their family or friends.
Mehdi Hussen is a SaaS marketing and organic growth consultant. He helps SaaS businesses drive organic growth and customer acquisition through SEO and data-driven content marketing strategies. Mehdi spends his spare time musing about startup growth strategies, personal productivity, and remote work. Connect with him through Twitter or LinkedIn