Top 9 Ways to Create Better Brand Awareness
What is the X factor that draws us to some businesses and not others? Why do some company names work themselves into everyday conversations and others never get mentioned? Building brand awareness is something that starts the minute you open your doors (real or virtual) to customers and continues as long as you’re in business. Figuring out branding strategies isn’t an easy task.
In a recent global survey of more than 350,000 people, most of them said it wouldn’t bother them if 77 percent of current brands disappeared forever. Experts think the issue is in the personal benefits offered to customers. Businesses aren’t doing enough to showcase the advantages of doing business with them and are too focused on their own bottom line. Part of the problem, though, is simply a lack of communication and failing to increase brand awareness and show people how they make lives better and solve the world’s problems.
Fortunately, creating better brand awareness isn’t a difficult task.
While there may still be people out there who don’t care if your company exists or not, your most loyal fans will care and will do their best to see you continue successfully.
1. Solve Pain Points
Pain points are those problems your customers have that only you can solve. Start by listing out the benefits of using your product. Once you understand the benefits, it’s easier to see the problems. For example, if you sell a cooking gadget, perhaps the problem the gadget solves is lack of time to prepare healthy family meals. Your gadget cuts down on the time needed for prep work, partially solving the problem.
Another way to figure out pain points is by looking at the keyword searches people do before landing on your page or competitor pages. You can use tools such as SEMRush to figure out popular searches. Those searches may reveal the problem people have and the solutions they’re looking for. You could also survey your customers and ask them what they were looking for when they came to your website or visited your brick-and-mortar store.
2. Create a Brand Guide
Consistency is a key factor in brand recognition and building trust with your customers. If they see the same look, colors and message over and over again, then they’re much more likely to remember your brand. A brand guide lays out details such as where your logo should be placed, the exact HEX colors used and even the name of your brand or the font used. This keeps everyone on the same page, from your graphic designers to your marketing department. Build your own brand guide and create a consistent image.
3. Be Seen – Everywhere
There are several old schools of thought stating consumers must encounter your business name six or seven times before they remember you. However, in today’s digital advertising space where people are inundated with advertising from the moment they wake up until they go to bed at night, the number is likely much higher. If you want to stand out, you have to take advantage of both online and offline advertising methods and be seen by your target audience as many places as possible.
Pay for ads on Facebook, send out emails to people who’ve already expressed an interest in your brand, wrap your vehicle with your logo and colors, rent a billboard and participate in a radio interview. Get your name out there in a variety of ways and places to make the biggest impression possible.
4. Go Social
There are more than 2.64 billion people using social media worldwide and the number is projected to grow to 3.1 billion by 2021. Ramp up your social media marketing campaigns with an emphasis on spreading your brand name and what you do for people. You can do this on a page, by asking customers to spread the word or by holding contests.
Come up with posts people are likely to share by focusing on the things you do to help people. If you own a bath products retail store, for example, you might create a series of posts about how to relax after a stressful day. Don’t just focus on selling your products, but create helpful advice for your target audience. Helpful posts with unique information are much more likely to be shared.
5. Team Up with Influencers
The popularity of influencer marketing grows steadily from year to year. About 17 percent of businesses spend more than 50 percent of their annual marketing budget on influencer relationships. However, you can waste a lot of money and not gain much brand recognition if you don’t carefully align yourself with people who make sense for your company.
Look for influencers who have an audience similar to your own. For example, if you sell cookware, look for food bloggers with a big following on social media. Spend time studying what the person does and if they have a tone that aligns with your own as a brand. If they are snarky and your brand image is kind and caring, then they may not be the best choice for your marketing dollars.
6. Take on a Cause
What cause do you care about as a company? Some brands adopt a village in Africa and help ensure they have clean drinking water and other advances. Others care about the local environment and adopt a highway median or spend time volunteering. Perhaps you want to create an eco-friendly company and reduce your carbon footprint. Do be careful about taking on extremely controversial topics as you may turn off half of your customers over some highly emotional subjects.
However, taking on a cause gives you and your employees something to be proud of and garners free press as you accomplish various tasks related to the cause. While you don’t adopt a cause for gain for your business, there are people who will recognize your efforts and remember your brand name.
7. Support Local Teams
Get your name out in the local community and show you care about being a good citizen by supporting local sports teams or youth leagues. It doesn’t cost a lot to purchase uniforms for a little league baseball team but it shows town pride and gets your name out there on the shirts or a banner at the ballpark (depends on the league or school). One example of this is a small local pizza parlor that buys uniforms for a local baseball team and also offers them free pizza after a few games. Because the pizza parlor invests in the youth of the town, the parents are more likely to support the business in the offseason.
8. Involve Employees & Fans
In a survey of consumers, researchers found customers read an average of 10 reviews on the Internet before they feel they can trust a local business. Reviews and referrals have a big impact on how other people see your brand. You can say how great you are and show all the benefits you provide all day long, but people will never find you tooting your own horn as believable as someone else doing so.
Enlist the help of your most loyal customers in spreading the word about your brand. Also, if your employees are also customers and use the brand, ask them to talk it up. Just be transparent with this tactic. Let employees use their own words and ask them to reveal they work for the company but are also loyal users. People will still listen to what they have to say. Revealing they work for your brand shows the consumer they are being upfront about their possible motives and thus they will come across as more believable.
9. Follow Up
Grabbing the attention of people in such a crowded marketplace isn’t easy. Anytime you gain a lead, such as someone signing up for your newsletter or a mailing list in your physical store, make sure you follow up as soon as possible. Send them an offer to try your product for a discount or simply reach out and see if they have additional questions. Depending upon the initial interaction and the type of product or service you offer, you may want to invite bigger potential clients out for lunch or dinner on you.
Building brand recognition takes persistence and creativity. Look at what your competitors do for their branding and try something different or better. Attend trade shows, give talks to local nonprofits, donate to your community, make video tutorials for YouTube and any other thing you can think of that gets your name out there. The more impressions a user has of your company, the more likely they’ll remember you when they need what you have to offer.
Lexie is a web designer and UX strategist. She loves taking her goldendoodle on long runs and checking out local flea markets. Visit her blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.