Your brand is everything. It tells the world what they can expect from you, your product or service, and your entire company — that is, as long as people know your brand exists. Broadly defined, brand awareness means people are familiar with your brand, they identify with your company’s messaging, and they align themselves with the values or ideals your brand aligns itself with.
Sound a little “high concept” to be of much use to your company? Think again.
Consider ANY of the brands that people use by name. You probably think nothing of asking for a Band-Aid, Coke, or Kleenex. These are all brand names so well known that consumers use their names interchangeably, even if they’re getting a different brand bandage, cola, or tissue.
Now that’s some good brand awareness. But it wasn’t won overnight. Unlike, say, the Pet Rock, most brands spend decades competing for brand awareness. Some companies spend millions of dollars annually cultivating their brand and developing their messaging through conventional advertising. The good news? You don’t need to spend that kind of scratch or spend years of your life trying to win at brand awareness. You can jump start the process with these four actionable ways to improve your own marketing and win at brand awareness:
Remember the saying that word of mouth is the best form of advertising? Yeah, that’s still a thing.
Using your established community for marketing is an excellent way to build your brand awareness among people that don’t know about you yet. One easy way to encourage this is to create referral programs that encourage people to want to share your brand with others. They find your product or service, like it, and tell their friends, family, and even strangers about it. Why? Because they’ll get rewarded for doing so! Examples of these types of referral programs include consumers earning extra storage from Dropbox or a free month of service from Gamefly. People will gladly tell others, and help spread awareness about your product or service simply to reap these rewards.
There are few things in this world that attract attention like getting something for nothing or deep discount. People also love trying free samples before they buy. Just look at the past summer Build-a-Bear pay your age event that was so successful it caused some overwhelmed stores to close. You can run contests on social media to get people sharing information about your brand. You can offer discounts and freebies to get people to try your product or service in hopes you’ll earn rave reviews and bring in more business.
What is your brand? Defining “the what” in what your product stands for can be a daunting proposition. But you don’t have to look too far to get started… Start by looking in the mirror. You (yes, you), and your own values and ideals are often the most accurate representation of what you want your brand to be. You want your brand to be original and honest. You want to put your own personal twist on your branding efforts. This spin is what makes you unique among your competition and can make all the difference for a company or marketing influencer’s brand. Also, not upholding what your brand stands for can be a big turnoff for your followers. Several influencers have made headlines after fans turned against them because they said or did something contrary to what the fans believed the influencer’s brand to be. Maybe you sell something that you feel has little to do with who you are personally, the point is always remain consistent and be honest when presenting your brand to the world.
Many marketing firms, influencers and rap superstars have gleaned the benefits of creating partnerships with other brands (or The Lonely Island) to help boost their own brand. Collaborations offer an excellent way to increase brand awareness because not only are you reaching out to your established audience but also one that might not be aware of you yet. People enjoy seeing who and what their favorite brands are involved with and might follow a company that shares similar values with a brand they already like and respect.
The Takeaway? Be cool, play nice and when all else fails — give away free stuff to get in people’s good graces. A little reductiontionist we admit, but by being aware of the brand image you are putting out into the world, being mindful of what your ideal customer expects from you, and working to find creative ways to amplify your marketing message you can win when it comes to building brand awareness.
Simply putting a few of these concepts in play together can go a long way toward getting in front of your target market and turning your brand into a well known and common product name.
Shannon McKee is a freelance writer with many years of experience. She credits her ability to write well-researched articles that inform the audience to her time spent earning her business degree. You can find her at https://www.linkedin.com/in/shannon-mckee/
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