Brand awareness is important because it gives companies a leg up on competitors. But it takes an average of 5-7 brand impressions before someone remembers and recognizes a brand. So if you want to be a go-to business whose name rests on the tip of consumer’s tongues, you need to think about how you can build brand awareness for your business.
So what is brand awareness exactly?
Brand awareness is the familiarity people have with your company or organization, as well as its products and services. Think about when you see a logo or hear a tagline and can quickly recall the company it’s associated with. That’s brand awareness – and it is critical to the success of your business.
Lucidpress and Demand Metric’s research report on the impact of brand consistency found that consistently presenting a brand can increase revenue by 23%, on average. So to help you build a memorable, recognizable brand that comes quickly to the minds of people in need of your product, we’re sharing 20 ways you can build brand awareness for your business. We’ll take a look at why each approach works and share some successful examples to inspire you.
1. Post guest content
Guest posting on websites and blogs, other than ones that belong to your business, is a great way to get your name in front of an audience you might not reach otherwise. It gives you access to people who frequent sites and blogs that are relevant to your company and industry. However, these people might not have found you online yet so guest posting it a great way to introduce your brand and increase impressions.
When brainstorming about potential places to guest post, you will want to think about websites and blogs that have something in common with your business. For example, if you sell running shoes, think about guest posting on a fitness company or running app’s blog. You want to guest post on sites where people who are likely to buy from you hang out.
Obviously, direct competitors are a no-go, but companies within your industry which have a similar audience are ideal.
Buffer provides a great example of how to guest post the right way. Way back when Buffer was new, their co-founder went into overdrive on guest posts, which generated a customer base of 100,000 in just 9 months.
2. Referral programs
Rewarding customers for spreading the word is a widely used tactic to build brand awareness. You’ve seen it before. “Refer a friend and earn $10 when they sign up.” It’s a great way to have people share your message for you. Plus, you save advertising dollars and receive an endorsement from those who share out your brand.
Dropbox showed how referral programs can generate new signs ups. When it was a new company, the company gave existing customers 500MB of storage for every friend they referred.
Even if the friend doesn’t sign up immediately, that’s one impression down and just another few to go before you’re remembered and recognized by them.
— Dropbox (@Dropbox) April 4, 2012
3. Create shareable graphics
Infographics and other shareable visual content are highly valuable to consumers, because they provide information quickly and simply. MassPlanner found that infographics are “liked” and shared on social media 3x more than other any other type of content. Taking advantage of that type of reach is a no-brainer. Well-designed, informational graphics can go a long way in building brand awareness for your business.
Infographics may not drive traffic to your site, but they will attract the attention of prospects interested in your industry. It’s another impression for your brand and people will associate your brand name with your field of expertise.
Classy, an online fundraising site, created an infographic to highlight the results of #GivingTuesday 2016. The infographic and its stats gained a lot of traction online.
4. Branded merchandise
Everyone loves freebies, so take advantage of this! Freebies make existing customers – and potential ones – brand ambassadors who share your company name, logo and message far and wide, increasing brand awareness. Try pick an item related to your industry, your brand or which communicates something about what you do.
5. Social media contests
Finding an audience on social media can be difficult. You’re sharing helpful content, answer questions, but still no engagement. What gives?
To expose your brand to a wide audience on social, try running contests.
Ask followers to share a photo or video related to your business – and voila! New people are introduced to your brand and are coming to your page by word of mouth.
Even if they don’t click through, they’ll see your name and logo becoming more aware and familiar with your brand in the process.
Dove’s “Real Beauty Should Be Shared” Facebook contest is a great example of how to stay on-brand while increasing reach and awareness through a competition.
Through sharing a selfie on Facebook, entrants could win a pampered spa weekend.
6. Have a stand-out brand personality
People want to buy from brands who share the same values as them. This applies to millennials in particular. They also feel more comfortable buying from brands that feel authentic.
Showcasing your brand’s personality can help you stand out and form a personal connection with your audience. This will help awareness and forge a place for your brand in consumer’s memories.
In an interview with MarketingLand, Dollar Shave Club’s CMO Adam Webber explained: “We do use irreverence and humor as a really critical mechanism to deliver that relatability. That’s what we really aim to do from a tonality standpoint that I think is different than how brands have talked to guys in the past.”
This approach worked for them. Since launching the brand on YouTube in 2012 with the “Our Blades Are F****** Great!” video, business has boomed. The brand’s personality was loud and its audience heard it – as did the rest of the world.
7. PPC Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising, like Google Paid Search, can increase brand awareness in addition to clicks and website traffic. A study from Google and Ipsos MediaCT found that search ads have a positive impact on top-of-mind brand awareness.
Converse grew awareness of its brand through PPC search ads by targeting keywords that had nothing to do with its product, but which it knew only it’s target audience would be typing into Google.
‘Spelling bee’ and ‘How to talk to girls’ were just two of the terms it used to target school-goers.
8. Remarketing and retargeting
On the same note, the use of retargeting can get your brand message in front of people who are already familiar with your business so you can build a place in their memory. How is this beneficial? It reinforces your brand over others when someone repeatedly sees your message. Remember, the statistic in the intro which says it takes 5-7 impressions before people remember your brand? That’s why remarketing can be highly effective in building brand awareness.
9. Influencer marketing
Similar to guest posting, working with an influencer can get your name in front of a new audience and build brand awareness. Finding people who are passionate about your business, product or service is key to influencer promotions. People pay more attention to user-generated content and reputable influencers than content created by a company or brand. We’ve learned to ignore advertising to a large extent.
Earlier this year, BMW ran an influencer marketing campaign featuring Instagram influencers. The #RoadtoCoachella campaign highlighted BMW as influencers’ transportation of choice to the popular festival. The campaign put the brand in front of a young audience and exposed BMW to the nearly 50 million followers of @sincerelyjules and the one million followers of @thatsojack.
10. Brand partnerships
Partnering with other businesses to host an event, create a webinar series, do a study or release a joint press release creates visibility for both businesses with just half the effort. It’s a great way to build brand awareness and can be done on a budget.
Lots of brands cleverly use co-marketing to get exposure for their names. A few years ago, GoPro and Red Bull formed a strategic partnership based on shared values. Their most well-known initiative – Stratos – featured Austrian skydiver and daredevil, Felix Baumgartner, jumping from a space pod more than 24 miles above Earth’s surface with a GoPro attached to him.
The event received huge amounts of media coverage across the globe for weeks, bringing the two brands and their logos into the homes of consumers. And who would be particularly interested in record-breaking daredevil stunts? The same people Redbull and GoPro target.
11. Incorporate social media
Social media is a great way to build social proof and increase brand awareness. If someone likes your brand on Facebook, it will pop up in their friends’ newsfeeds and on your PPC ads. If your content is good enough, it will also be shared, retweeted and exposed to an audience beyond your own following.
Sites like Facebook are also great for leveraging testimonials and ratings. Social proof shares the benefits of your business from the perspective of existing customers and assures prospects that your brand is trustworthy.
12. Be consistent
Consistency is key in every aspect of a business. It is no different with brand awareness. In fact, here it’s vital.
In everything you do, your company’s branding should be present. Its name, logo, tone, colors and personality should be coherent no matter the channel. Perfect examples of brand consistency come from Nike and Coca-Cola, which are both unwavering in how their branding is presented.
13. Keyword research and analysis
To build brand awareness, you need to get your business found. Performing comprehensive keyword research and analysis will show you which keywords and key phrases people are searching for to find businesses like yours. Incorporate these into your keyword strategy and optimize your content for SEO to improve your rankings and visibility.
Let your keyword research inform your optimization strategy so you can organically build brand awareness and reap the rewards. If you sell sandals and manage to pop up when people search for this word, it will work wonders for your brand’s awareness and visibility.
This research can be used to inform your search advertising too.
14. Public relations
Yes, old-fashioned PR should still have a home in your brand awareness strategy.
Traditional media still holds trust and it can get your name out there. It can help you shape the public’s perception of your business that other initiatives might not be able to achieve.
A strategic, planned public relations campaign increases the likelihood of media coverage and more people becoming aware of your business.
15. Host events and workshops
Events and workshops are two ways to provide value to your audience. They boost the relationship you have with existing customers, but can also help in familiarize new audiences with your business. Event promotions are often more engaging and attention grabbing than traditional advertising too.
Apple does a great job with events and workshops. Specifically, its Worldwide Developers Conference showcases its new software and technologies for developers. Though most people are aware of this tech giant, the conference has taken place annually since 1987.
Sponsoring an event, a podcast or even a local sports team exposes your brand to people through an already established and trusted channel. Find an industry-related event to make the biggest impact and get your name in front of an audience that might need your products or service in future.
In 2012, New Relic – a cloud-based software platform – sponsored the popular TechCrunch Disrupt conference. The two company’s audiences are quite similar. At the event, the company hosted a Hackathon where attendees quickly built a cool, new product. The sponsorship built brand awareness for attendees, for people who saw the event’s promotions and anyone who saw press coverage or photos after the event had finished.
17. Conduct some research
Whether you put together a white paper of in-depth research or the results of a simple survey, providing industry insights can really create a buzz that will get your name in front of the right audience.
Pick an interesting topic related to your business’ field. One interesting stat can fuel a frenzy of brand exposure from viral posts and media coverage to link backs and references.
18. Offline marketing
It’s easy to forget about offline marketing in our digital world. But when used in conjunction with online initiatives, offline marketing tactics like direct mail and branded handouts can significantly increase brand awareness for your business – especially if it is based in a specific location.
A good example of offline marketing done right is Axe Body Spray’s customized stickers. It took offline marketing online by making it Instagrammable and stayed on-brand throughout.
19. Coupons and discount codes
Who doesn’t love saving money? Offering promotional incentives for people to buy from your business doesn’t just increase sales, but it can get your business seen. People get excited when they save money. And when people save money they tell their friends and family.
They are also great to print out and share at events. A coupon or voucher will pique the interest of many and even if they don’t go on to use the offer to convert, its another impression on a future prospect.
20. Branded links
Last, but certainly not least, branded links are another way to boost impressions and get your brand’s name seen by prospects.
Across the internet, links are the touchpoint between brands and audiences. But many businesses fail to take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their name and use generic short links or ugly long links in their social media posts, emails and other communications.
Using links which feature your brand’s name boosts brand awareness, visibility and trust. Your brand can still make an impression even when a link is taken out of the context of your Facebook page or Twitter account. When a link is forwarded, DMed, shared or copy/pasted, your name will remain to the fore.
To build brand awareness, you’ll need a mix of initiatives and the more clever and creative you can be, the better. The tactics mentioned here will help improve recognition of your business among your target audience. Just thinking and being aware of the need to build awareness will help you build a campaign that will get your brand seen and remembered by prospects.
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