How to Increase Brand Awareness
Whether you are an executive at a large company, a member of the marketing department, or a solopreneur, growing the business is one of your top priorities. That could mean expanding the products or services that you offer, generating more sales, bringing in new customers, or improving any number of metrics used to measure company success.
The bottom line is that growth requires a lot of time and effort. No company explodes into profitability overnight without a well-executed plan and the research to back it up. One of the most important sectors of your company, no matter the scale or the industry, is the marketing branch.
Every company requires marketing efforts. How you convince consumers or businesses to become customers all comes down to your messaging and the channels through which you deliver it. No matter what industry you are in, one of the keys to generating growth for the company is brand awareness.
What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is a very simple concept that is much easier said than done. Essentially, brand awareness is the level of knowledge about your company within the public sphere. Do people know about you and what products or services you offer? If they see your logo or name, do they know what you do?
Building brand awareness is one of the first steps that any new company must take to generate growth. After all, if no one has heard of you or knows what you do, how can you make any sales? But even companies that have massive global recognition continue to run brand awareness campaigns. The reason? There are different levels to brand awareness, and different businesses are at different stages in the brand awareness journey.
Levels of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness encompasses more than just the knowledge of your existence as a company. There are multiple levels to it, which is why every business from the local mom-and-pop store to Apple must work continuously to build brand awareness.
Level One: Awareness
On the surface, awareness of a brand is simple. Do people know it exists? The first time a consumer interacts with your brand, the first level has been reached. This is a key step for new businesses that are trying to build an audience to offer their product or service to. The goal of their campaign is simply to build brand awareness to find new audiences.
Level Two: Recognition
Now that people know the business exists, recognizing it when they see it is the next level. Consumers recognize the name of the company when they hear or see it, either online, while talking with others, in the community, or through other advertising methods. They also understand what it is that your brand offers at this level of awareness.
Level Three: Knowledge
The highest level of brand awareness is knowledge. Not only is there awareness and recognition of the brand's existence and offerings, but there is an understanding of what the company stands for and its brand voice. In other words, they know the brand message. It is at this high brand awareness level that customer loyalty starts to develop.
How to Build Brand Awareness Campaigns
Growing your business starts with the right brand awareness strategy. For a new company or solopreneur, the focus may lean more toward building awareness and recognition. More established businesses should do the same, but also design brand awareness campaigns to foster deeper knowledge. Here are a few methods for developing a successful brand awareness campaign.
Social Media Channels
Social media platforms are the lifeblood of societal and cultural interaction. People connect with friends, follow influencers, stay in touch with families, keep up with pop culture, and share their lives on these channels, which makes them the perfect marketing tool. Finding the right channel to help you raise brand awareness will depend on your target audience. The biggest mistake you can make with your social media presence is focusing your efforts on the platforms that your audience rarely uses. The following channels provide unique audiences that may or may not be the right fit for your business niche.
Facebook has developed as an incredible tool for businesses with pages, advertising tools, groups, and other features. Though younger populations such as generation Z do not have a heavy Facebook presence, it is a great channel for building awareness by connecting with older generations and like-minded groups.
Influencer marketing has become its own monster in the last decade, and Instagram is a major reason for that. Digital influencers are able to reach their followers and share images, videos, stories, reels, and promotional posts to build brand awareness. If your target audience is on the younger side or your industry is heavily dependent on visual interactions, then Instagram is the platform for you. It is a great place to run a social media contest, which improves engagement.
If your audience leans more toward business professionals, then LinkedIn was built for your brand awareness campaigns. This platform has a heavy focus on business topics and little space for pop culture discussion, making it a more serious channel, (not that it cannot be fun as well). For B2B companies, LinkedIn should line up with your brand awareness goals.
If you need to zero in on younger audiences with fun and creative videos, then you need to be on TikTok. This platform blasted into popularity in the last few years as an outlet for creative individuals, and you can harness that energy into generating more impressions with a specific audience.
An online strategy is crucial for any business that wants to succeed in the 21st century. Though some local brands may be able to get away with no website or social media pages, the vast majority need an internet presence for growing brand awareness.
A company's website is its digital storefront where consumers can connect with the brand from their devices. In 2022, a website is an important landing spot where potential customers can find all the information they need to make a purchasing decision. Brand awareness through website traffic can be fostered through strong optimization for search engines and compelling content marketing efforts that speak to your audience.
Social Media Advertising
Harnessing a social media platform to build brand awareness should be a piece of your overall strategy. These channels give you the ability to purchase ads that will show up in people's feeds as promoted social media posts or targeted campaigns. Pay-per-click campaigns are a helpful tool for any marketer who needs to generate new leads for a company. This method will help with increasing brand recognition and knowledge, as well as creating brand awareness for broad audiences.
Do you know why your spam and promotional inboxes are always full? Because at some level, email marketing does work. On the surface, emails can inform consumers about the existence of your brand, but they can also develop more recognition and knowledge for your audience. A well-planned campaign can turn people into paying customers with a compelling drip sequence.
If you want to go with a more classic form of marketing to build good brand awareness, then you could focus on print advertising. There is so much competition in the business world, depending on your industry of course, and standing out for audiences is important.
Do you know all those newspapers and extra envelopes that you get in the mail from various companies? That is because of a direct mail campaign. Though the digital world provides more scalability for brand awareness activities, there will always be a place for mailbox advertising to inform people about your business.
Want to make a big impression on potential customers? A billboard can accomplish just that. These massive signs are hard to miss while driving or walking down the road, and a memorable quote or image can leave a lasting impression on commuters and their fellow travelers.
Brochures are great pieces to hand out at events or in local communities to inform potential customers about your company and improve brand awareness. It gives them something tangible to look at, combining images and text to convey the information they need to know about your product or service.
Though diminishing in popularity, there are still plenty of people who pick up or receive newspapers that you could reach with a well-placed advertisement. This strategy, of course, will only work for certain demographics, so make sure it would work for the audience of your brand specifically.
One of the most unique marketing strategies that you could adopt is the use of custom promotional products. These everyday items can be imprinted with your company name and logo and then displayed in public whenever someone uses them. It turns everyone who owns these products into brand ambassadors who are advertising your business just by going about their day.
Tons of companies use promotional products like shirts, hats, jackets, and more to create more brand visibility. You can host free giveaways where everyone who stops by your booth at an event gets a chance to win a hat or shirt. Another option is to gift your employees with promotional items so that they can play a role in promoting the brand with what they wear.
Useful promotional products can also support your brand awareness efforts. Pens, mugs, staplers, and other office supplies that people use every day could be just the reminder that someone needs about what your business does. Even though the impression that someone receives from using a pen may be small, you never know what kind of seed it is planting in their mind about your brand.
Sports are a huge part of the culture. It consumes the lives of many children as they engage with others through competitions, and professional leagues provide entertainment for millions across the country. Branded merchandise like foam fingers, baseball caps, golf towels, and other items make for great giveaways that boost brand awareness.
Partnering with Charities or Other Brands
Increasing your exposure is the goal of any brand awareness campaign. To become more visible to target audiences, you may want to consider forming a brand partnership or working with a local charity that is deeply connected to the community in your service area. There are several ways to do this that will help with your marketing strategy.
Participate in Charitable Events
Creating a team to run in a local 5k is a great way to support a charity while also attempting to spread awareness about your brand. You can be a great example in the community with your participation, showing potential customers that you are invested in local efforts. Plus, you can throw on some branded merchandise during the event that may cause others to ask questions about the company you represent. That's one more generated lead!
Sponsoring events in the local area is another way to foster more brand awareness while also improving the impression that your company creates within the community. Plus, it puts you in close contact with your target audience, giving you a platform to generate new leads.
Strategic Partnerships with Local Brands
Forming partnerships with reputable businesses in your service area can further your brand awareness efforts. You can work together to promote each other, building brand equity in the community in which you operate while establishing yourself as a cooperative company that is invested in the area.
Are none of the other brand awareness campaigns working? Then maybe you should work on a referral program (opens in a new window). A referral program gives your current customers an incentive to invite others to try out your product or service. You could do this with a discount program for their next purchase, or maybe they can get entered into a raffle for a big prize if they convince someone else to sign up for your email list. The opportunities for tempting your loyal customers to increase brand awareness are endless, and you can stretch your creativity while doing so. This word-of-mouth marketing strategy is extremely beneficial for service businesses that depend on glowing reviews from past clients.
Implementing a Successful Brand Awareness Strategy
Now that you are familiar with some brand awareness examples, you have to figure out how to run a successful campaign. It is not as simple as choosing a method and then hoping for the best.
Define Your Target Audience
As with any effective messaging strategy, market research is necessary for success. If you do not understand the audience that you are trying to reach, then you are already at a disadvantage. Defining your ideal customers is crucial to help you understand their habits, lifestyles, and decision-making processes. When you are an expert on a very specific audience, it becomes much easier to improve brand recognition and awareness since you know where and how to reach them.
Measure Brand Awareness as it Stands Today
Before you start a marketing campaign centered on increasing brand awareness, you need to know how effective your current efforts are. How much brand awareness does your company already have in the community you serve? Do search engines direct traffic to your website when a consumer runs a search query related to your industry? Running brand awareness surveys could help you measure the current status of your brand equity.
Lay Out Specific Goals
Citing "greater brand awareness" as a goal is useless for achieving results. What does that even mean? Before attempting to build awareness, lay out specific goals for the campaign. Do you want to improve awareness of your brand or recognition? Are you trying to gain more followers on social media or reach more people through print advertising? Your goals should be specific and attainable.
Goals need to be specific and attainable, but they also have to be measurable. For this reason, you will need to determine what KPIs, or key performance indicators, you will track throughout the campaign. Will it be the number of visitors to your physical storefront? The number of clicks from organic searches to your website? The number of new followers on a specific social media platform? Knowing how you will measure increased brand awareness will give you a benchmark for whether or not the strategy was successful.
Research the Competition
Knowing what your competitors are up to is always a good idea for a business executive, marketer, or solopreneur. You should always be aware of what they are doing well, what they are doing poorly, and how you can take advantage of those gaps. With this in mind, what are your competitors doing to grow brand awareness? Do you see a lot of billboards with their information around town? Are they heavily ingrained in the community through event sponsorships or charitable events? What are their social media and website presences like?
By understanding what your competitors are doing to increase their brand awareness, and seeing how effective their strategies are, you can craft a plan that reaches the population that their campaign misses. Or you can do a better job of hitting the audience that they are already connected to.
Know What Other Successful Brands are Doing
Sometimes the best lessons can come from the world's leading brands. After all, a globally recognized company has clearly done something right with its brand awareness strategy.
Think about a company like Coca-Cola. They have spent decades perfecting their marketing efforts, specifically those around brand awareness. The world's population recognizes this brand because it built effective campaigns that were focused on brand recognition. Remember the polar bears? When that campaign was being run, many people would think of Coca-Cola whenever they saw polar bears depicted in the media. That is the result of effective brand awareness.
The Final Word on Brand Awareness
Whether you are a fitness coach, a content marketing manager at an e-commerce business, or an executive at a Fortune 500 company, building brand awareness plays a massive role in the growth potential of your company. Building a successful brand awareness campaign comes down to understanding the target audience, knowing what channels are best suited to reach them, laying out specific goals, and executing a plan with measurable KPIs.
What makes brand awareness important is that no entity can survive without it. Brand building is a crucial prerequisite to growth, and every company has to create more awareness, recognition, and knowledge of the brand in order to grow.
Whether you want to focus on influencer marketing through social media channels, promotional products that display your logo all over town, direct mail campaigns, referral programs, or strategic partnerships with other entities, these methods can propel your business to the next level. Take notes from some of the biggest brands in the world, but don't forget to key your messaging efforts to your target audience.