Developing brand awareness is a key function, and objective, of all businesses, yet in its ubiquitousness, is often criminally overlooked. In order to make sales, deliver services and drive equity, customers need to be aware of your business. Subsequently, it should equate that the more effort you put into developing the cognisance of your brand, and building your reputation, your audience, or moreover, committed consumer base, should similarly grow.
Essentially, brand awareness is the degree to which customers associate a brand with a specific product type, triggering an instinctive combination of recognition and recall resulting in your brand becoming almost synonymous with the very product itself. It’s the reason we crave Coca Cola or Pepsi when we’ve got that specific thirst for brown, carbonated liquids, and at it’s most powerful, it’s when the brand not only eclipses the market, but it’s own name, and can be equally as known by its proprietary eponym – sorry Pepsi – Coke.
With an increasingly globalised and over-saturated marketplace, it’s no longer enough to assume your customers will find you based on relevancy alone, it’s imperative to develop strategies to actively reach out to potential and existing customers.
The introduction of social media initiated a new paradigm in terms of brand marketing, shifting the focus from the product, onto the consumer, allowing you unprecedented access to, and direct engagement with, masses of potential customers.
Social media succeeds in creating a dialogue, rather than a diatribe, between your brand and your audience, allowing you to create a tailored brand experience, and them to become participants in your ‘brand narrative,’ building a level of trust and authenticity that traditional marketing and advertising misses. Similarly, this symbiosis offers you unparalleled access to unmediated customer insights, as well as the flexibility to adapt your approach and strategies to immediately fit the data.
By making intelligent choices about your content, and which channels you use to disseminate it, you can not only define your brand more effectively than ever before, but reach a whole new audience with the tap of a screen.
Publish Excellent Content
If you’re not already creating and publishing original content across your website and social media channels, you’re already late to the party. Content marketing is key to driving SEO, is fuel for social media engagement – sharing is caring – and can be effective at establishing your brand as a leader in your industry.
Although, just because everyone is doing content marketing, does not mean that they’re particularly good at it.
Directing your content by offering solutions to industry relevant issues, imparting wisdom and teaching key skills, is an easy and effective method to drive clicks and sales, especially by utilising an onsite blog.
However, one good piece of content does not brand awareness make, it’s imperative that you develop a long term content marketing strategy, scheduling continual posting and promotion to maintain momentum and growth.
Launch a PR Campaign
An effective content marketing campaign is often bound together with digital PR. By placing quality content on influential blogs and websites your brand not only comes into contact with a relevant and wide audience, but tangentially, by boosting up your rankings through relevant backlinks, your website and digital channels are more likely to place in a better – read, more visible – position on search engines.
Similarly, associating yourself with reputable thought leaders, or bloggers with a devoted following, lends your brand authority, reliability, and an existing network to tap into for exposure and sales leads.
Traditional PR, or offline PR, is by no means of any less value than its digital counterpart. Organising a press conference or sending out press releases to print outlets can generate a lot of offline exposure and reach customers who may not have access to, or place priority on following, online channels. Dependent on your target market, developing a targeted campaign that covers both modes of PR, covers a wide a reach as possible.
Peer-to-peer recommendations and word of mouth are the most powerful marketing and advertising tools because people are inherently more inclined to trust recommendations from their peers. The effect of this type of marketing grows exponentially when the advocate has already established their credibility in their industry or field – these are the influencers.
Whether they come in the form of analysts, industry experts, critics, celebrities, high quality content developers or bloggers, their value is in their ability to affect the thoughts, behaviour and actions of people in their networks and communities. A successful partnership with an influencer can not only boost your trustworthiness, but advocate your introduction to a network of potential sales leads, and future referees.
Video Marketing Campaigns
It’s pretty much accepted wisdom that “rich media”, such as video content, is guaranteed to bring you good favour with search engine algorithms, and consumers, studies show that using the word “video” in the subject line of an email increases open rates by 19 percent, click-through rates by 65 percent and reduces un-subscribers by 26 percent.
Developing video content opens up a huge market and dramatically increases the probability of your content getting shared and viewed, and it doesn’t even necessitate a huge budget. With Facebook Live video now reportedly at 8 billion daily views, outstripping YouTube’s massive 5 billion views per day, it’s safe to say that as long as you’ve got a modicum of creativity, video content doesn’t have to have Hollywood financed and finished.
A stalwart of marketing, promotional merchandise has stuck around for so long simply because it works. Everyone loves to get something for free, and incorporating promotional merchandise into social media giveaways is an easy way to get shared.
To maximise impact, and ensure that people are going to get excited about the merchandise, the key is to brand something that is inherently useful, yet visible. Promotional bags, car stickers and any items that travel well are ideal in developing that kind of subconscious brand recognition, especially if your business is targeted in a specific area.
Sponsorship is influencer marketing’s big sister, offering real world exposure with consumer and media propelled longevity.
Choosing an event that’ll bring you into contact with a large amount of your key demographic, or an organisation that’ll reflect well on your reputation, can increase both the relevant reach, and standing, of your brand simply through association.
Sponsoring events, like trade exhibitions, or hobbies, like sports teams, immediately positions you as a brand with authority, and embodies you with the good favour of the event, without much effort on your part.
PPC advertising allows you to target potential customers directly, by associating your brand name with a relevant search, or specific product. Even if the amount of traffic that follows through is, at least at the beginning, negligible, it still asserts your brand as a potential, and visible, option. Often, the key to a good brand awareness strategy is very similar to goal hanging, to always be there, waiting just in reach and ready to convert the slightest touch into a goal.
If you’re working with a low budget, you can still utilise PPC to drive awareness by being clever with your wording, and leaving off the call to action. That way you reap all the benefits of being seen, subliminally or otherwise, without having to pay for clicks.