Part II: Developing Brand Awareness
In Part I, we defined what a brand is and provided some strategies on how to create a new brand completely from scratch. Once you have clearly defined and developed all the elements that define your brand, you are prepared for the next step – building and increasing the awareness of your brand. This process is challenging, time-consuming, and requires continuous effort, but it’s also one of the best ways to ensure a company’s growth and longevity. So how do you go about it? In this article, you will find 5 practical tips to help you build brand awareness. In order to do so, it’s helpful to understand what brand awareness is and how it benefits your business.
What Is Brand Awareness and Why You Should Care About It?
Brand awareness is the ability of customers to instantly recall or recognize your company and its products. Brand awareness is a powerful marketing tool that translates directly into sale numbers. This conclusion is based on many studies and backed by hard numbers. Let’s have a look: For example, the Global New Product Innovation Survey conducted by the Nielsen Company – a global marketing research firm – revealed a lot about the relationship between brand awareness and sales. The survey concluded that:
- 59% of customers prefer to buy new products from brands that are familiar to them and,
- more than 20% of customers said they bought a new product primarily because they liked the brand
According to the Nielsen Company, the reason for a strong correlation between brand awareness and sale numbers is that a brand “can lend credibility to product efficacy and provide an assurance of quality, letting consumers know what they can expect when they buy a product.” In other words, when you build brand awareness, you also build customers’ trust in your products and loyalty to your company.
Developing Brand Awareness
Now that you know how important it is to raise customers’ awareness of your brand, consider the following strategies to streamline this process:
Create a Brand Narrative and Tap into Its Power
In the previous article, we mentioned that the story behind your company or products is an important part of your brand’s identity. When you build brand awareness you need to make your foundation story a part of a larger narrative. This is especially important nowadays when millennials – who according to the Forbes magazine are “highly attuned to the story that a brand tells, as well as the values that the brand exhibits” – comprise a large part of the population, and their support of your brand may be instrumental to its long-term success.
Take Freshii, for example, a small American catering company. In the narrative presented on the company’s website, Freshii doesn’t simply provide foods services, it brands itself as the “fastest growing health and wellness brand in the world” that’s on a mission to "make healthy eating convenient and affordable for everyone.” These powerful assertions define Freshii as more than just a food company and introduce a narrative in which the service is instrumental in “changing the way the world eats.” All of this helps to create a brand narrative that will resonate with the customers. And when that happens, customers are much more likely to tell their friends about the brand or advertise it on social media. This brings us to the next awareness-raising strategy: Use of Social Media.
Use Social Media Wisely
It’s 2018. Everyone knows almost intuitively to distrust social media and to be wary of the fake realities it allows people and companies to create. Still, social media continues to be one of the most effective ways a brand can communicate with its clients. The trick is to use social media to reinforce the authenticity of your brand rather than to manipulate your consumer base.
Cotopaxi, a small travel clothing company that employs only 66 people, is a model of how to use social media to create and reinforce the authenticity of its identity. As mentioned in an article in Forbes magazine, “Cotopaxi builds brand loyalty by telling stories through its globe-trotting brand ambassadors” who “travel the world to spread the company's message of doing good while doing great things.”
If you follow the company’s ambassadors on Instagram, you’ll see pictures of mountain expeditions, solo road trips, and adventures in remote areas. But you’ll also see the ambassadors wholeheartedly assisting Cotopaxi’s efforts of funding sustainable poverty relief.
While sponsoring a team of globetrotters may not be within your company’s means, you may use social media to tell your company’s unique narrative and show the impact your products or services have – either on a large scale or in your local community. Whatever the scope of your business and the force of impact it has, the key to using social media to boost your brand awareness is authenticity.
Broaden Your Audience with Partnerships
If done right, a partnership can help you reach people outside of your usual customer base. At the same time, it will allow you to benefit from the positive image of the brand you’re partnering with. Some of the most successful co-branding campaigns of the last few years include GoPro and Red Bull, Apple and MasterCard, Uber and Spotify, and Dunkin’ Donuts and Waze.
Even you are just starting out, there are valuable lessons to be learned from these partnerships. The bottom line is to look for creative ways to engage with local business in your area to reinforce customer success and satisfaction while broadening your reach and strengthening your company’s presence in the market.
Another partnership many companies are turning to are influencers. Again, choose wisely, and make sure it’s people who uphold your vision.
Tap into the Power of SEO
How often does it happen that you scroll to the very bottom of the Google search results page before you click on a website? How many times do you move on to the second page to look for the content you need? The answer probably is: Very rarely – at least if you’re like most Internet users.
According to one study, 67% of all clicks on a search engine results page go to the top five listings. Another research shows that almost 95% of all web traffic goes to the websites on the first search engine results page.
What it means for your business is that using search engine optimization – making the content on your company’s website more “searchable” for the most popular search engines – is a must.
There are many proven SEO techniques, and if you are a busy entrepreneur, you might benefit from working closely with a digital marketing company that will optimize your website for you, or a content company that specializes in SEO-rich content.
However, one general piece of advice for fledgling businesses is to try using long-tail terms. These are keywords that generate less general traffic but will help people who are really looking for the kind of products or services you offer. This, in turn, will generate more conversion than general SEO strategies.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change
As a final thought, you should be aware that in order to thrive in the modern world, companies need to adapt to the ever-changing markets and circumstances. Be on the lookout for new trends, marketing tools, or branding solutions. In addition, while how a company is perceived is important, how your clients perceive your brand is actually what will influence the financial performance of your business. So, be attentive to the voice of your clients. If you think it is time to introduce some adjustments, don’t be afraid of it. Learn to embrace change and move forward so that your business can continue to thrive and prosper.