6 Proactive Ways to Build and Increase Brand Awareness
Brand awareness directly impacts how many customers your business generates. It’s among the most important things to focus on when running a business. But, increasing brand awareness does not happen overnight.
You need a great strategy to help you stand out in the sea of competitors.
One of the most effective means of achieving this is by using content marketing. In this comprehensive guide, you’re going to discover how to grow your brand awareness and impact your current marketing efforts in a positive way.
By boosting your brand awareness you’ll also increase customer perception and revenue.
What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is the level with which your key audience is familiar with your brand. It has to do with how popular your brand is, and how well the people in your target audience recognize it.
When marketing your business, products, or services, it’s important to establish brand awareness – particularly in the early stages of your business. While the concept of brand awareness may seem like a vague one to a lot of people, in truth, it carries a lot of value.
Of course, most of us would rather deal with metrics that have nice, tidy numbers.
It’s easier to judge success that way. But when it comes to brand awareness, there’s no way to perfectly determine that metric, and that ruffles most marketers’ feathers.
Still, this is a very important aspect of every business’ overall marketing goals and a major determining factor in its success.
Why Is Brand Awareness Vital For Business Success?
It Establishes Trust
Consumers today rely on others’ opinions and extensive research before they make even the simplest purchases.
This means that brand trust matters a lot.
Once bonded to your brand, a consumer is more likely to make repeat purchases with very little, if any, forethought.
This bridges the gap between loyalty and trust.
There are many ways in which we, as humans, build trust, and your brand awareness efforts encompass a lot of them, including giving your brand a unique personality, offering your brand an outlet to tell stories, be sincere, and receive feedback.
It Creates Association
Examples of association:
When you need to blow your nose, do you use a Kleenex?
When you have a question, do you Google the answer?
When you’re thirsty, do you grab a Coke?
If you need to make copies, do you Xerox them?
And if you get a paper cut, do you put a Band-Aid on it?
You most likely answered yes to all those questions.
But did you notice that the words Kleenex, Google, Coke, Xerox, and Band-Aid are actually BRANDS and not verbs or nouns?
Most people refer to these brands even when they are not actually using their specific products.
For instance, you could search online using a different search engine but still say you ‘Googled’ the answer. Or you could use any old copier, and say you ‘Xeroxed’ the copies.
Such examples are why brand awareness matters.
It’s a great way of associating actions and products with specific brands. This subconsciously encourages people to replace common words with those branded terms.
It Builds Brand Equity
What is brand equity? It’s the way in which a brand’s value is described.
This is determined by customer experiences with the brand, as well as their overall perception of that brand. So, this means that a positive customer experience and perception will equate to increased brand equity.
The same goes for any negative notions. There are many things that positive brand equity can do for you.
One of them is that higher perceived value means higher prices and the other is a greater social impact thanks to brand name value.
But How Do You Establish Brand Equity?
The only way to do that is to build brand awareness, and then work to consistently promote positive experiences with that brand. You cannot have positive brand equity without a foundation of brand awareness.
Once your customers are aware of your business, and what you offer, they will start to recognize it easily and seek your business out to make purchases.
When your customers prefer yours over other similar products, it paves the path to establishing loyalty that spurs on even more purchases and inspires them to recommend your products to friends and family.
So, now you know why brand awareness is important for your business.
It’s a great way of establishing trust with your prospects and customers. It creates positive associations, and it builds brand equity which allows your business to become a consumer staple and household name.
If you’re just starting out or if your business or blog is still small, you may be wondering if this is even necessary for you. The answer is: Only if you plan on competing successfully online and growing your business!
How to Build Brand Awareness
Establishing brand awareness among the general public (and your target audience, of course) does not happen instantly. You won’t be able to do that from a single marketing campaign or a few ads on Facebook.
If you want strong brand awareness, you have to commit to multiple, simultaneous actions that extend far beyond trying to generate paying customers.
Listed below are some of the ways of establishing a brand awareness foundation that will have a lasting effect on your audience.
1. Don’t Be a Company, Be a Person
If you want to leave a really strong impression on your audience, don’t define yourself as simply a company that sells stuff. Find other, more impressive ways of defining yourself.
Imagine you had to introduce yourself to a new friend:
What kind of words would you use?
When you get to know someone new, what sort of things do you want to discover about them?
Is it their passions, their hobbies, likes and dislikes?
In the same way, your audience wants to know more about those things where you’re concerned. Talk about those things and other stuff that gets you excited.
These are the traits that make for a memorable brand.
2. Socialize – A Lot!
Whether you’re quiet or outgoing, you still benefit a lot from spending time with other humans. That’s how people learn new things, stay connected, and get to know (and become known by) others. The same applies when it comes to your brand.
If you only connect with people when trying to make sales or get support, then you’ll have a hard time being known as anything other than a business with one single intention.
Actually, that goes for people, as well.
In order to raise people’s awareness of your brand, you have to be very social. Post regularly on social media about things that are unrelated to your business or products. Interact with the people in your audience by commenting on posts, retweeting, sharing other content that you like, and simply asking questions to encourage conversations.
If you treat your social media accounts as if you were a person trying to make new friends – as opposed to a business out to only make money – then you’ll have a bigger impact on your audience.
According to a lot of studies, over 50% of a brand’s reputation comes from its social activities online.
3. Tell Stories
Storytelling is an extremely powerful marketing tactic.
Whether you’re promoting your brand or marketing products, it gives your audience something real to latch onto. By telling a narrative around your brand, you effectively humanize it and give it depth.
When you’re able to weave the story into your marketing, you’re inherently marketing your brand right alongside your product or service, whereas ads are mostly just focused on marketing products and services, and not your brand.
They do nothing for your brand beyond the sale.
So, you’re probably wondering what your narrative should be about.
Anything, really, as long as it’s true. You can have a story about the business’s founder. It can be a tale of how your business was built from scratch, or how you had your first product idea – anything.
Maybe you could make your story one of ‘the little engine that could’ and relate how you made it in this big world. After all, everyone loves the underdog!
Whatever you decide to tell a story about, authenticity will go a long way in boosting your brand awareness.
4. Make It Easy to Share
Make it very easy for people to share the content you produce.
No matter what your marketing strategy or product offering is, and whatever industry you’re in, make sure the content you publish is shareable. This includes blog posts, videos, sponsored content, social media updates, product pages, etc.
One of the most effective means of establishing familiarity and trust among your customers is word of mouth marketing. If one person sees a family member or friend recommending a particular product or service, they take notice of that brand.
They wonder if that brand is worth exploring, and if they have other great products that can solve their problems. Make it easy for consumers to raise awareness of your brand by simply clicking the ‘share’ button.
Just imagine meeting a new person that you wanted to be friends with. If they asked you for any of the things mentioned above, you’d probably laugh - before you walked away, right?
That’s a very shallow approach to friendship, and it doesn’t leave a positive or lasting impact on you. The same applies when establishing awareness for your brand among your target audience.
How to Increase Awareness of Your Brand
You now have a firm understanding of how you can start to build your brand awareness foundation, but how do you go about building on that foundation and expanding on the established awareness?
What are the ways for businesses to constantly campaign for, and increase brand awareness?
Below are a couple of ideas that you can use:
5. Offer Freemiums
Freemium refers to a business model where you offer a basic product or service for free. You only charge for products that are deemed premium or enterprise level.
This pricing strategy offers your customers a chance to sample your brand and product without having to commit.
This is one of the best ways of raising your brand’s awareness among your audience as this sort of opportunity technically lasts forever (compared to free trial periods that expire).
You can add your brand’s watermark on all the public-facing aspects of the products or services that you give for free which makes it a win-win situation.
Your customers get a free product, and your brand gets free advertising.
6. Create Lots of Free Content
Creating content these days is easier than it’s ever been!
This is a good thing, since people turn to the internet for answers to all kinds of questions, concerns, and do-it-yourself projects. You can use content as a fun way of boosting brand awareness.
It’s the easiest and most effective way for you to show your personality, share your opinion and take your position on various issues – all of which are major components when it comes to personifying and humanizing your brand.
And remember, not all content has to be in written form. You can have videos, infographics, and podcasts. Of course, written content such as blog posts and downloadable PDFs are the easiest to create, but they are far from the only option.
Also, the content you create doesn’t have to reside only on your website.
Sponsored content and guest posting offer even more opportunities for you to get in front of a whole new audience and diversify the types of content that you create.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of people in the Internet marketing world and various other niches who have made names for themselves and built million dollar businesses online by creating their personal brands from scratch – and you can do it, too.
People like Neil Patel, Peep Laja, Dan Norris, and Emily Weiss have done it, and if they can start from nothing and end up running such successful blogs, you can do it, too!
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Updated: originally published January 23rd 2019