You’ve probably heard someone order a Coke when they mean a soda, Kleenex when they mean a tissue, a Band-Aid when all they want is a plastic bandage, and so on?
These are what we commonly refer to as a proprietary eponym or the highest point of brand awareness in the world of marketing.
It happens when a brand becomes so popular that it replaces the generic term used when referring to the entire collection of similar products.
It’s the epitome of brand awareness – and while it’s difficult to achieve that level of brand awareness with a small business, there’s a lot you can still do to make your brand more recognizable, loved, and cherished by a majority of your customers.
We’ll get to that later, but first, we’d like to walk you through the basics:
What’s Does Awareness Mean in Marketing?
Awareness marketing is a marketing approach in which a company or business focuses on making its brand or product recognised by potential clients or customers.
It focuses on increasing the degree to which a product or brand is recognised by consumers just by mentioning its name.
Brand awareness is a critical first step in reviving an old brand or promoting a new cause or product.
The Difference Between Brand Recognition and Awareness
Brand recognition isn’t the same as brand awareness.
While brand recognition can be defined as the degree to which consumers identify a brand’s product or services based on its visual attributes, like the logo and colour, brand awareness goes a step further with this.
It essentially involves recalling the company name, and the elicited feeling, together with all the relevant information about the company and its products or services, or any other experiential detail. It goes beyond the superficial.
When a company reaches the peak of brand awareness, their advertising and marketing campaign elicit emotions and feelings in their consumers.
What Are the Benefits of Brand Awareness?
Awareness is a critical first step to promoting your brand or products. The more people get to learn and understand your brand and products, and everything it’s associated with, the more you’re likely to sell to them.
Brand awareness can increase your click-through rate and conversion rate by up to 3 times.
Brand awareness can’t be built overnight. It takes time before you get to a level where people understand your brand well. But once you get there, you’ll have their trust, which translates to more sales and increased loyalty from them.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of brand awareness:
It Increases Trust
Trust is one of the biggest assets your business can have.
Once a customer trusts you, they’ll recommend you to their friends and families, and that’s how your business grows. It starts with one customer, and the chain grows.
Consumers also rely on their family and friends for recommendations. They trust their peer’s opinions and reviews even more than anything you have to say about yourself.
They’ll research online for opinions about your products or brand, and base their decision on this research.
A high level of brand awareness will ensure that your customers return. It bonds customers to your business, breeding a loyal group of customers.
It Grows Brand Equity
Equity measures brand value. But let’s not forget equity directly correlates with brand awareness.
It has nothing to do with the number of tangible assets your company has. It also factors in brand reputation.
Positive associations raise brand equity. So, if you want to grow your brand equity, then a critical first step would be to work on building positive brand awareness.
Marketing isn’t hard, but it’s hard when you’re marketing a new brand that nobody knows.
Brand awareness is how you enforce association. It’s how Coca Cola succeeded in making people feel like if they need a refreshment, they should ask for a coke and not a soda.
Brand awareness connects events or actions with certain products or brands. The pinnacle is when they succeed in replacing generic names with branded words.
Help You Reach the Right Audience
A good marketing strategy is where you’re able to target the right audience at the right time.
Brand awareness not only helps you to build your brand but also expands your consumer base.
The more your brand gets known, the less you’re likely to spend on marketing and the more sales you’re likely to make.
After you gain sufficient levels of brand awareness, you can now proceed to work on brand associations or brand loyalty.
Guides Your Brand Voice
It takes time to establish your brand voice, especially since you have to consider several key elements, such as:
- Your company philosophy
- Logo and colour scheme
After you’ve managed to set up all these things, brand recognition will happen, making it easier for you to make your marketing decisions.
Stirs Up Excitement for a New Product
With high levels of brand awareness, when you introduce a new product, people are more likely to perk up because they’re already familiar with your brand.
It makes it easier for you to introduce a new product or a new twist to your product lineup.
For example, let’s say Coca Cola decides to introduce a new soda flavour. Everyone will want to try it out, out of sheer curiosity and excitement.
When your awareness strategy plays to that strength, it will be easier for you to connect with more customers, thus generating warm leads ahead of new product launches.
How to Measure Awareness
The only way to know if your strategies are working is to measure brand awareness.
In which case, there are two ways to go about it:
You can measure brand awareness by looking at the direct traffic your website is getting from search engines, especially Google
Look at this traffic in terms of the number of visitors, the time they spend on your site, bounce rates, etc.
Speaking of which, Google Analytics should be your friend.
You also what to look at the level of engagement you’re getting. How many likes, comments, and shares are you getting on social media, forums, and other similar platforms?
Qualitative measuring takes things a little further.
First, set up Google Alerts to find out how much your brand is being talked about online.
Next, use social listening and monitoring tools to find out how much your brand is being talked about on social media.
Lastly, you want to conduct brand awareness surveys to directly hear it from your target audience. Find how much they know about your brand. What feelings does your brand evoke? What comes to their mind when someone mentions your brand or one of your products or services?
Why is Awareness that Important?
Brand awareness allows you to establish an emotional connection with your target audience.
Your business might already have a professional logo, a solid social media presence, and on-brand images, but your brand image runs deeper than that.
22 Awareness Strategies that You Can Apply Today
1# Be Consistent with Your Image and Voice
Being consistent on every platform you’re on can increase your revenue by up to 23%.
Consistency is a key strategy for levelling up brand awareness. The reason being, customers tend to respond negatively to aimless change.
While it’s completely okay for a business to rebrand when there’s a need for it, you don’t want to overdo it.
The point is to make sure your customers will be able to recognise your brand 10 or even 50 years to come.
That’s why it’s important to have a brand book that documents your visual identity and brand style.
A prime example of a brand that’s maintained a consistent brand all through is Coca Cola. While they have made major changes to their logo and images, everything about them remains pretty much recognisable. It’s like nothing has changed ever since it was first established.
2# Utilise social media to the Core
Social media gives you open access to millions of potential customers.
So, for starters, you want to make sure you have an active social media profile on all the relevant social media platforms, particularly Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Keep in mind that creating a profile on all these social media platforms is not enough. You need to also do the following:
- Engage with your followers in the comment section and via messages
- Engage with other brands and their posts. Find relevant communities and start engaging with the people you find.
- Use social media ads to grow your brand visibility and expand your reach
- Experiment with different ads and advertising techniques to find out what works for you.
- Run social media contests and quizzes. So many businesses are using these techniques to raise brand exposure. The easiest way to go about it is to ask your followers to share, like, and comment on your posts. Remind them to also tag their friends.
Another social media strategy that could also work great with brand awareness is influencer marketing. Simple. Just identify relevant social media influencers and reach out to them.
Social media celebrities wield a lot of influential power. They can be a great way to reach potential customers. Having one or two of them endorse your product could give you exposure to thousands of potential buyers.
Lastly, you want to create your own custom branded hashtag. Of course, it’s going to take it sometime before it takes off, but it’s something you want to take into consideration.
You can use it on your posts to promote new products and services, events, contests, company news, and so on.
3# Prioritise Customer Satisfaction
Do you know how much damage a single incidence of bad customer experience can do to your brand?
Plenty of customers say they wouldn’t want to have anything with a company that’s responsible for any of their bad experiences. They would avoid it like plaque.
Worse, they would tell their friends, who would also vow to dissociate themselves from your company. You don’t want to get yourself in this pickle believe me.
Luckily for you, all this can be avoided if you’re willing to go above and beyond to offer the best experience to your customers. If anything, that’s one thing that should be deeply engraved in your business’s ethical code.
You should, at all cost, avoid offering subpar services. And if by mistake you do, be quick to make amends. Have a way to make it up to the customer. You could replace the product or offer them a huge discount on their next purchase.
A dissatisfied customer is also more likely to leave a negative review of your business or product. They’ll stain the reputation you have worked so hard to build over the years.
So, it’s better to nip it from the bud, before it spreads like a conflagration and ruins any chance you have with potential customers.
A happy customer, on the other hand, will be more than happy to leave behind a positive review. They’ll also be willing to recommend your products or business to their friends and families.
4# Introduce a Referral Program
Users are more likely to spread a positive word about your company or products if they’re getting something in return.
You can learn from Dropbox. They’re the perfect example of how a referral program could help a business grow.
It’s simple with them. They have 500 MB of extra storage for every single one of your friends that you bring on board. Theirs is a simple referral program that’s generated tons of word-and-mouth and hundreds of thousands of new sign-ups, saving Dropbox huge amounts of their advertising dollars.
5# Understand Who You’re Trying to Reach
Don’t rush into anything without first taking your time to map out your target audience.
Failure to do this sets your business on a direct path to failure.
You need to have a clear picture of the people you’ll be talking to. For this, we recommend you take a few minutes off your busy schedule and develop buyer personas.
It turns out, only 44% of customers develop buyer personas before they start working on their brand campaigns. Out of this, 85% aren’t even using the personas effectively. That explains why bad campaigns are so prevalent out there.
Do yourself a favour and flesh out your target audience. Start with a blank page and then break down everything you need to know about them – with researched information, of course.
Use a fine-toothed comb to break down their age, gender, salary, location, industry, job titles, disposable income, and so forth.
If you’re targeting CTOs who work in retail in Singapore, for example, then it might help to create a messaging that the CTOs in the retail industry in Singapore will appreciate. The last thing you want is to waste your marketing dollars targeting marketing directors unless they’re part of your target audience.
6# Find Out Where Your Target Audience Lives Online
After you define your target audience, the next thing you want to do is figure out where they can be found online.
What’s their favourite online hanging spot?
Are they on Twitter? Do they frequently visit LinkedIn? Or can they be found on Facebook?
Next, go ahead and place your ads there. You also want to maintain an active presence on this platform so that you can interact with them and get to bond with them on a one-on-one basis.
It’s definitely more than that. You have to do a little bit of digging to find out more about your customers’ whereabout.
- What forums do they frequent? Sign up there.
- What blogs do they read? Read it too. After that, you want to contact the website owner to see if they’re open to the idea of you guest-blogging with them.
It’s simple. Don’t just assume that your customers will be on every available social media network. Do your research and make sure you know where they spend much of their online time. That’s the place to advertise.
7# Know Your Budget
How much are you willing to allocate to awareness marketing?
The good thing with brand awareness marketing is that you can work with any budget.
If you do not have enough budget, then put on your creative gear and let it compensate for the lack of enough funds.
What platform do you think would place you in front of most of your potential customers? Spend the bulk of your marketing dollars advertising on this platform.
Look around for platforms that allow for free guest-writing. Use these platforms to gain a piece of organic search.
Say you’re a software security software company, who after doing some thorough research found out that the bulk of your target audience can be found on Twitter. So, why not set up your brand’s Twitter account, and use third-party software to follow anyone whose tweet contains the phrase “data security?”
The same applies to those with a huge budget. No need to make it rain. Instead, figure out where to direct the bulk of your marketing money, which is typically a platform where your audience spends much of their time.
Be creative and try as much as you can to use organic approaches. Why? Because you just can’t be sure which carrot they’re going to bite.
8# Create Infographics
Infographics are a powerful way brands display interesting marketing statistics and data.
This type of content gets shared a lot, which makes them a great marketing tool for building thought leadership and brand awareness.
They’re also an excellent way to bring valuable links.
9# Look for Other Well-known Brands and Offer to Partner with them
Partnering with other well-known brands is how you push your business to a new audience and generate some buzz around your company name across social media networks, blogs, and other marketing channels.
Remember you’re not to partner with just any brand. Before you partner with any company, you want to do a little bit of research and make sure the company is not only respectable but also not going to leave a stain on your reputation.
The more you partner with reputable companies, the more brand advocates you gain outside the normal realm of your target audience.
10# Give Freebies
A common misconception I have heard is that giving out free goodies would somehow devalue or cheapen your brand or product. Quite the contrary if you ask.
Everybody loves free stuff. Freebies can be a nice token of appreciation to the customers who interact with your brand.
Just remember to stamp the gift with your company name and logo for promotional purposes.
11# Live Your Belief
Your business isn’t just a money-making machine. It’s a calling.
Your company culture must remain intact, no matter how big your company grows. Don’t let anything corrupt it.
You’re not allowed to lose your way at any point.
This is something you want to inculcate in every single one of your employees. Let them know what you believe in and stand for.
Keep in mind that every hardship your company goes through is short-term. So, don’t allow them to push you to a compromise.
There are times when you’ll feel the pressure of your own growth expectations. There are days when you’ll need to ship the product. Or find yourself dealing with government relations issues.
While it is easy to lose yourself in all these. Don’t forget that all problems come and go. But your company culture will stay with forever.
12# Focus on Emotions and Values
Customers buy with emotions and justify the decision later with logic.
You’re more likely to establish meaningful relationships with your customers by basing your branding and marketing strategies on emotions and values, rather than logic.
In agreement with this school of thought are 89% of shoppers who say they’re more likely to stay loyal to a brand provided it shares their values.
There’s a lot of science involved in emotional branding.
Take Honda for example. They track facial changes and eye movements to detect the activation of emotions in humans whenever they’re watching their commercial. They then use the information gathered to optimise their branding better.
Here’s the thing: your goal should be to make consumers view your brand as an extension of their style and individuality. If you can succeed to develop an emotional connection with your customers or clients, then know you’re halfway there.
13# Mix it Up with an Offline Campaign
The most imminent digital trap you should avoid at all cost is the belief that online marketing is the only thing that matters.
For all we know, offline marketing strategies such as print media, direct mail, brochures, billboards, and branded handouts still work.
You’ll be doing your business a huge disserve by neglecting offline print publications and media outlets.
We might be living in the age of smartphones and the internet, but traditional ways of marketing still exist. Billboards still work and so are dozens of other offline platforms for showcasing your brand identity.
14# Start Publishing Your Content on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the most underrated marketing tools, especially for B2B marketers.
While it helps to have an active LinkedIn profile, it helps to do more than that if you’re looking to increase brand awareness.
You can start by publishing unique content on the platform. By doing so, people who follow you can see your content and see if they can interact with you in the comment section.
As a marketer, that’s how you establish your authority.
Another platform you also want to publish your content on is Medium. You can write fresh content or repurpose some of the posts that you have already published on your website or blog.
15# Tell Stories
Storytelling is an art, an underrated one.
If you have a knack for spinning magnetic yarns, you can be sure your customers will keep coming back for more.
In addition to that, storytelling keeps your brand on top of your customers’ mind. It can also stir up emotions, and make them start thinking of your brand whenever they’re conducting a generic search of your products.
16# Run a PPC Campaign
PPC ads have become more competitive and expensive. But they’re worth your consideration.
And, contrary to their name, clicks aren’t the only thing they bring.
If anything, a majority of users will see your ad, but not click on it. They’ll see your brand name and what you’re offering. Ultimately, your brand will be etched at the back of their memory.
And the best part – Google doesn’t charge for you the impressions. Instead, they only bill you when someone clicks on the ads.
Be reminded to work on your landing page. Make sure it’s highly converting. You also want to work on your offer by making it irresistible to users that click on your ad.
17# Run a Remarketing Campaign
Remarketing allows you to lure back visitors who bounced off your website without converting.
It could be that these visitors weren’t ready at the time or they didn’t like your offer and thought that they could find something better elsewhere.
Instead of watching them disappear into oblivion, remarketing offers you a chance to reach back to them with a better offer.
You can even offer them a discount, free bonus, or try to lure them back with free shipping, whatever works for you. The point is to try and make your offer irresistible for them.
18# Leverage Controversy
As insidious as this sounds, when packaged correctly, controversy can be a great strategy for generating some buzz around your brand.
Keep in mind that it’s a fine line to tread on. So, you want to be careful enough not to step on your own tongue.
Controversy isn’t something new. We’ve all said something controversial at some point.
An easier approach would be to create an editorial piece in which you espouse an opinion that people hardly talked about, and which you believe deserves an audience.
Another approach would be to talk about the scandals in your industry. You can lend your opinion to the issue, not just to get heard but to let people know what’s happening behind the scenes.
19# Start a Podcast
There’s a reason podcasts are so popular nowadays. Brands are heavy on using them, and like we know, that could only mean one thing, people love them too.
First, podcasts keep customers on top of things. They give them industry insights and the opportunity to learn from experts. So, by just running one, you’re cementing yourself as an industry expert.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start a podcast where you interview different industry experts, as you work on developing a good relationship with your customers.
A podcast is even more effective in a niche or industry where there aren’t many podcasters. You can dominate this space, and ideally, make yourself a famous podcaster overnight.
Another approach would be to contact a popular podcast host in your industry and see if they can invite you to their podcasting show. Being a guest on their show will put you in front of their audience, which works great for brand awareness and recognition.
20# Paid Social Media Advertising
Organic social media marketing is not what it used to be. It’s becoming difficult by the day. As a result, more and more businesses are turning to paid social media advertising.
The best part about running paid social media ads is that you’re not limited by budget. Any budget is enough to carry you.
You can start by running the ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They’re cheap and quite effective at getting your brand seen.
Users don’t have to convert with every ad you run. But every added piece of familiarity inches you closer to it.
21# Freemium with Credits
Offer a free version of your product, with a credit line or watermark. Those who wish to remove the watermark or logo and replace it with their own can opt for a paid version.
The many users who opt for your free version of the product will unknowingly be promoting your brand to their users, some of which may choose to go with your paid version.
Providing a freemium version puts you in front of an even bigger audience, which translates to increased brand awareness and eventually more business for you.
22# Car Wraps
This is a classic tried and tested strategy for building brand awareness.
If you have a company car, then perhaps you should consider covering it with a customised design of your brand or company (save for the windows).
Done well and you can attract an insurmountable amount of attention to your brand.
It’s a great strategy to ensure wherever you go people get more familiar with your brand.
You can even wrap your personal car if you don’t mind using it to promote your brand.