The Build Brand Awareness Test: Take a look at the graphic below. Recognize anything?
How many of these brands did you know exactly what/who they were after just milliseconds?
Maybe it’s the color or style of writing that catches your eye.
Or maybe the logo itself is recognizable enough that you don’t even need the text or business name that goes with it.
All of these big brands have spent a lot of time and money making sure you know their logo, colors, and what they stand for as a company by heart.
In order to get on top of the competition and stay there, these companies have had to continuously build brand awareness. But what is brand awareness exactly and how can you use it to grow your business?
What is brand awareness?
If people don’t know who you are, they can’t purchase your product or service. Brand awareness happens the second someone remembers your brand from previously seeing something like your logo or company name. When you build brand awareness you are building your reputation. This can help you to acquire new customers, retain old customers and stand out from your competition.
Let’s take brand awareness a step further with brand recognition. After your customer learns your business name the next goal you have is for them to have an in-depth knowledge of your products, services and overall feeling of your business.
For example, you can probably recognize the Starbucks logo from a mile away when you are driving down the highway. You know that the company is currently trying to find alternatives to their classic green straws. They have a point system that allows you to collect stars until you get a free drink. And you definitely have your go-to order memorized.
Before your customers can reach this state of brand recognition you will have to build brand awareness. This will allow you to target customers, generate leads, and close sales.
How can you build brand awareness for your business?
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is brand awareness. People are not going to automatically know your brand after seeing your logo/name once or twice. You have to work for it by building a strategy, earning customers’ trust, and making your presence known on multiple channels. This strategy should be unique and creative so that you can beat out your competitors.
On the surface level, you will need to build a strong brand awareness strategy targeting highly specific audiences and focusing on brand recall and customer engagement.
If you are just starting out you will need to define your target market and develop buyer personas because you can’t target everyone. The more focused your audience is, the better. You want people who will actually engage with your brand. Quality over quantity.
Focusing on brand recall is the core of building brand awareness. The key to brand recall is being consistent on all platforms. There are so many ways you can engage your customers online – from advertising on social media to blogging. Make sure you know which marketing tactics you should use and which to avoid.
Components to add to your branding strategy
Consistency Is Key
You can probably guess at least one reason why it’s important to be consistent. Obviously, it helps people remember your brand if they have seen the same logo on every platform. But consistency can also aid in SEO. If you have a Google My Business (which you should) you will notice that your “NAP” also known as your name, address and phone number is displayed when you search for your business. This should be the same across all platforms.
If you own a law office and your offices name on Google My Business is Law Office of Bill Brown but your name on Yelp is Law Offices of B. Brown this is problematic for search engines. Search engines as well as your customers might view these as two different businesses.
If you as a brand are consistent in everything you do you will become a trusted and reliable source for customers to return to again and again. And you will have a higher chance of ranking in search.
Invest In Advertising
You will no doubt want to invest in advertising. But make sure you use the appropriate channels. Social media and Google advertising are two great ways to build brand awareness for your business.
By now you have probably seen ads on every social media platform. When running ads on social media platforms you will probably have a photo accompanied by some text. You will of course want to have a photo that resonates with your audience with a small amount of text so that Facebook approves your ad but you will also want to include your logo.
Even if it is subtly nestled in the corner of your photo this is a strategy that can help you build brand awareness. You want potential customers to be able to recognize your logo so place it any and everywhere you can.
You can also run ads on Google with AdWords. There are two different options when creating ads on this platform – search and display ads. Search ads are text based and are the ads you are used to seeing when you Google something.
Display ads are the ones you see as banners or sidebars on other websites.
In order to create brand awareness with each type of ad you will need to make sure you are using your brand’s target keywords for search ads and images that reflect your brand for display ads. All ads should be cohesive with each other and with your website. That way, whenever a user sees your ad, they are never confused and never see a break or lapse in branding. The same types of imagery, fonts, colors, and logos across all advertising efforts will significantly build brand awareness.
Using Google advertising and social media advertising in tandem can up your brand awareness game, increase leads and help you close sales! If you forgo online advertising, you will be missing a huge opportunity to build brand awareness. With digital ads, you can track your customers every move as well as your ROI.
Social Media Presence
In a digital world, it’s important to have a solid social media presence. Sure you can run ads but you should also be posting regularly. Remember that consistency thing we talked about? That applies here too. There are several things you can do alongside posting to boost your brand visibility.
Reply to comments on Facebook and Twitter! Do you want to be known as a trusted, helpful brand with a great social media presence? Make an effort to interact with your customers. If someone asks a question, answer it. If they have a problem, solve it.
This is what we’re talking about. A snapshot of one of our client’s interaction with an interested customer.
Create a hashtag for your brand on Instagram. Hashtags help users discover products, brands and more through posts that are tagged with hashtags. You will want to use hashtags that are both generic, niche, and branded in order to build brand awareness. If you only use generic hashtags, your posts can get lost in the mix. Make your own hashtag. It may be a while before it takes off but it helps you create an identity and stand out from the crowd.
An Instagram account called Food In The Air has gained 389k followers and has built enough brand awareness to have their own hashtag #FITA and #foodintheair. In this post they also hashtag bagels which is generic but if someone is searching for photos of bagels they might just stumble across their account.
The tone, colors and photos on your social media channels can help you build brand awareness. For example, your Instagram theme can say a lot about your brand. Creating a theme means that all of the photos on your account have a similar feel. Nisolo Shoes has a clean Instagram theme and all of their photos have similar tones. So when a customer sees a photo that looks similar to their theme, they will associate it with this company. Not to mention, having a consistent theme just looks nice, put together, and professional.
Utilize Pinterest! This may seem like an outdated platform but pins on Pinterest will continually generate traffic to your site and are great for giving people insight into your brand. The key here is to have interesting visual content so that you can stand out. Photos of your products, infographics, videos and gifs can all help you build your brand on Pinterest.
Partner With Other (Bigger) Brands
If you are a smaller brand looking to build brand awareness, partner with established brands to have giveaways or even collaborate on a product.
If you are a smaller brand just starting out ready to build brand awareness, it’s time to turn to Instagram and find brands that you would like to work with. Engage with them on social media and once you have built a relationship you can ask them to collaborate. Instagram giveaways are perfect for building brand awareness. It’s a simple way to get your name out there and to meet other brands and influencers in your market.
This blogger and influencer partnered with another brand for a healthy giveaway. Contests like this are perfect because in order to enter, Instagram users have to follow both brands. You can easily increase your follower growth and make people aware of your brand.
This partnership giveaway is between the brands Rifle Paper Co, a stationary and lifestyle brand and Loccitane, a line of natural beauty products. An interesting partnership right? Rifle Paper Co actually designed some packaging for Loccitane’s products. These are more well known brands but they have taken a collaboration to social media in order to gain more exposure.
Even two big brands can work together. Apple partnered with Hermés, a luxury fashion brand in order to give both brands a marketing boost with Apple’s series 3 watch. With this strategy, each brand is targeting two customer bases.
Refer A Friend
If you have a referral program in place this can be a great way to gain new customers as well as increase brand awareness. If someone is already a loyal follower of your brand give them the opportunity to share your brand with a friend.
If your friend tells you about a product and asks you to try it would you? Would you be more inclined to do so if it was free? Blue Apron, a meal subscription box, is well known for their referral program; it’s a huge part of their brand. If you refer a friend, you get a discount and so do they. Everybody wins! These customers essentially become free ambassadors for your brand.
Blue Apron combines a sort of “free” trial with recommendations to give their brand a boost. People who haven’t heard of Blue Apron will eventually have a friend that tells them about it so really Blue Apron only has to build a circle of loyal customers who will spread the word and essentially market for them.
Offer A Free Trial or Special Discount
Everyone loves free stuff. And people especially love to try out a product before the fully commit. Letting people take a test run of your product or service can build brand awareness as well as trust.
Our client’s ad campaign that entices people with a special offer
Instead of a “trial” Spotify offers a completely free version of their service and you don’t even need to put down a credit card.
Although the free version doesn’t come will all of the paid features, it gives customers a taste of the product without the stress of commitment. In March of 2016 Spotify had 30 million paid users. That number has more than doubled. As of January 2018 they had 70 million paid users. Using a free trial to build brand awareness is smart, especially if you can make it commitment free and give users a long test run.
Do Something Positive
There is a lot of negativity in the world so do something positive for your customers. Reply to positive reviews, respond to comments on social media or answer questions that customers tweet at you or come up with your own form of positive branding.
Dominos launched a brand awareness campaign called Paving for Pizza where they went around fixing potholes in the road. They made a positive impact and found a way to incorporate their logo! You don’t have to go to this extreme but people recognize when you do something good. This can build positive brand awareness and could influence potential customers future buying decisions.
Another great way to build brand awareness is to provide value to your customers by writing a blog! The key to having a healthy blog is upkeep. You should be blogging weekly in order to keep your audience engaged. This can be tough to keep up when you’re running a business, so check out blog writing services that might be a better solution for you. In addition to blogging regularly you will want to have topics that provide value to your potential customers. Research what questions your customers are asking and then answer them in the form of a blog.
Your blog should be full of useful information not only for your readers but also for search engines. Search engines are smarter than you might think. They don’t just focus on keywords and meta tags; they take into account how useful your blog will be to readers. Writing blogs for SEO can be challenging but with the right keyword, you will be able to outrank competitors.
Another strategy to build brand awareness is to simply entertain your customers. Chubbies is a clothing brand that has built an enormous following. Their marketing goal is to target the younger generation but also to be as entertaining as possible. They connect with their audience on a personal level and their brand is known for this.
Their main focus is on posting great content that will entertain their audience and make them laugh. Without this fun, carefree content the Chubbies brand might get lost in the mix of other clothing companies that sell similar products.
Brand awareness is all about making sure your audience see your logo, ads, company name, etc. Retargeting is the only way to win back those customers who may have visited your site or even put something in their cart but didn’t convert.
Retarget your customers wherever you can! You will most likely be able to pinpoint where in the buying journey your customers fall of the map. This is where you need to implement a retargeting strategy that allows you to build brand awareness and reel those customers back in.
We used retargeting ads for this gym client to better reach potential clients.
There are several forms of retargeting. You can gather data from customers who visit your website and then use that date to retarget them with social media and Google ads. You can also use email to retarget customers. Abandoned cart emails are some of the most popular ways to retarget. They politely inform customers that they have left something behind and encourage them to keep shopping.
Do you know how many of your customers make a purchase the first time they visit your website? It’s rare for a customer to convert the first time they interact with your brand. This is why you need to utilize retargeting. If not you are missing out on potential sales. Use retargeting as an opportunity to build a relationships with potential customers.
Brands with high level brand awareness
Once you have gained a following of loyal customers you have made it! You never have to worry about advertising or building brand awareness ever again right? Nope. Even the biggest brands out there continue to redesign their branding strategies in order to stay on top.
If you heard the words “Just Do It” what comes to mind? Probably the brand Nike. Their motto is recognized worldwide. They have built their brand around this motto and tend to market experiences rather than just a brand. Essentially they are selling products that will help you reach your goals. If you purchase their shoes, clothing or accessories they will enhance your experience.
Ever told someone to “Google it.” Google as a brand has so much awareness and recognition that their name is used in place of the word “search.” This is possibly the highest level of brand awareness but they didn’t stop there. Google made a logo change in 2015 that many people didn’t care for. But people continue to recognize their iconic colors and name. This rebranding effort still has the same clean look but in a font that is legible on smaller devices and three years later we don’t even remember that they changed anything.
They are also known for replacing their logo in order to draw attention to historic events and people like Gerda Taro, a German war photographer. Google, although they are already established, still uses techniques like this in order to engage and retain their users.
Coke has built its brand around not selling coke. They are selling happiness. Their open happiness campaign rolled out in 2009 and has had a huge impact on their brand. Their next huge branding campaign, “Taste the Feeling” made an appearance in 2016.
Both of these campaigns are selling feelings, not the product itself. These rebranding tactics can give a brand a fresh look while giving customers a new appreciation for the products they offer.
Each of these companies has a unique take on branding with iconic slogans, colors, or ways of marketing that have allowed them to continue to build brand awareness throughout their existence.
In order to build brand awareness, you need to have a strategy in place that allows you to continually grow your brand. Awareness isn’t just a one-and-done tactic. Successful businesses continue to iterate and redesign even if they are big brands like Google. If you are ready to start building brand awareness for your business, let us know! Contact us and our experts will craft a specialized campaign that targets your unique customer base complete with advertising, retargeting, and everything in between.