Brand awareness is a crucial part of your success. It’s the level of recognition that people have with your brand. This begins with people having knowledge about your brand in the first place. If your customers don’t know who you are, you are less likely to earn their trust or attention.
Think about the last time you decided to book a vacation. Let’s say you wanted to book a home instead of a hotel for a more authentic experience. One of the first companies that come to mind is Airbnb. Why? They’ve established a strong brand identity and have developed a global community of people who want to “live like locals.”
This company has perfected the private rental model for vacationers who want to feel more at home when they’re out of town. Anyone who considers booking a private residence for a getaway probably at least thinks of Airbnb, if they don’t go directly to their site or app and start searching. The company has done well to create its own community and establish a strong identity for their brand that is easily visible.
Another example is Coca-Cola. When people want to order a soft drink, this is one of the first brands that comes to mind. People don’t think twice about purchasing their products because they are so well known and trusted. Despite the variety of beverage options on the market today, many people still specifically ask for a “Coke” when they’re thirsty for a soft drink – even with all the research telling us Coke is incredibly unhealthy.
Brand awareness is a continuous effort, a long-term goal, and one of the keys to success for any business today. In the online world, it is much harder to compete for visibility, so building campaigns can prove to be a bit more of a challenge.
Of course, before you can succeed with building your brand’s visibility and recognition, you have to understand just what brand awareness is and how much it can impact your bottom line.
What is Brand Awareness?
Put simply, this is just the level of recognition that a consumer has with your brand. In the examples above, the companies were basically household names, proving that they have done well in their branding efforts.
Brand awareness is simultaneously a long-term goal for your company and a continuous effort that should take place on a daily basis.
This might seem like a slightly vague concept, and one that’s hard to measure, but it is one that every brand needs to master in order to be successful.
Brand awareness is about more than just name recognition. People need to have a true awareness of your brand, including trusting your business to do what they need – whether that’s fixing your tire, eating healthy chips, or enjoying a cold beer on the beach.
In this guide, we’ll cover the best and most effective brand awareness strategies and tools; we know it’s best to learn from example, so here are some brand awareness tactics used by some of the top brands in the world:
Spread Brand Awareness Through Viral Hashtags:
Hashtags are a great way to increase brand awareness on social media. They’ve been a branding tool since they were first created, and they are a great way to build grow visibility on social media channels.
Branded hashtags are those that are created by your brand. For instance, Coca-Cola launched “ShareACoke” which prompted users to share their own user-generated content. How did this work? The brand added the country’s most common names on their bottles, encouraging users to find their own name and to share it with friends and family. Users were encouraged to share their images of the product on social media, using the relevant hashtag.
The result was a massive success, with over 500,000 photos being shared within the first year. The takeaway? Connecting with users on a personal level and creating a powerful call to action can help you achieve higher brand awareness.
Other examples of successful hashtag campaigns include:
· The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (#IceBucketChallenge)
· Lay’s Do Us a Flavor (#DoUsAFlavor)
· Audi’s R8 Campaign (#WantAnR8)
· National Fried Chicken Day by KFC (#NationalFriedChickenDay)
· Charmin’s Tweet from the Seat (#TweetFromtheSeat)
Of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll also find some colossal hashtag campaign fails. Be careful to choose your hashtag wisely, pick a campaign that you think will be popular with your audience, and make sure that it’s something people can really interact with.
Create a Buzz-Worthy Story
When IHOP announced that it was changing its name to IHOb, it captured the world’s attention and quickly became a viral story. The restaurant, known for pancakes, announced that its name would now be “International House of Burgers.”
The brand wasn’t really interested in becoming a burger chain—they were interested in making money, and they knew how to sensationalize it to be effective.
The name change inspired about 20,000 new articles and 36-billion social media impressions. Their hamburger sales even quadrupled due to the campaign. The brand quickly turned into a trending topic, increasing overall brand awareness and sales.
The moral of this story? You don’t have to have a good story. You just have to sell one. Don’t lie to people, by any means, because this will kill any trust that you’ve established. Just make sure that if you’re going to do something, you create a buzz about it.
With so much technology available today, brands are capitalizing on it to create their own awareness campaigns in a variety of ways. From simple things like companies offering free delivery to those who try their service for the first time to the amazing #WhopperDetour campaign, technology has a lot of ways to help build brand awareness.
Burger King is a great example of a brand that utilized technology in order to increase its brand and product awareness. The campaign encouraged users to download their app and to travel within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant. With the use of geofencing, this allowed consumers to receive a deal on their app for a 1-cent Whopper sandwich. The campaign drove over 1.5 million new app download and created a buzz on social media with the hashtag #WhopperDetour. The use of technology and creativity proved to be a success.
Other Brand Awareness Tips
In addition to the examples above, there are plenty of other ways that you can ensure that you are creating a strong foundation for brand awareness. Keep in mind that this isn’t something that will happen instantly or find success with a single campaign or advertisement. Building visibility and awareness takes time and a solid strategy that is dynamic and robust enough to reach your audience through all channels.
In addition, you should also make sure that you keep the following things in mind to make the most of your branding campaigns:
· Be a Person, Not a Business
Today’s consumer doesn’t want to be another number to a faceless organization. They are getting back to their roots and craving relationships with companies that allow them to get more personal. That personal connection isn’t just a benefit for consumers, but a must-have. If you really want to improve your visibility, interact with your audience and give them a reason to remember you beyond what you sell.
· Socialize on Social Media
Again, people already know that you’re a business with something to sell. They’re not looking to be told that 100 times a day on Twitter and Instagram. Instead, get social and use those personal skills to share content that people can connect with. If consumers feel that connection, they’ll be more likely to consider your business for their future needs. As much as 50% of your online reputation is accounted for through social activity online.
· Make it Easy to Share
Ridicously simple, but make sure your content is easy to share. If you really want to get your brand out there, you have to make all of your content super easy to share. Don’t complicate the sharing process or your content will never stand a chance of going viral. You are trying to get people’s attention and grow the reach of your brand—there’s no sense in trying to overcomplicate the process. Take advantage of word-of-mouth, too, because when you have the Internet on your side filled with good reviews and positive social posts, you may not have to do much of the marketing yourself.
· Give Your Brand a Personality
One of the best ways to build awareness and create a strong brand statement that your audience can keep with them in the back of their mind is to give your brand a personality. Since you’re already being just a person and not a company, the leap isn’t that much farther. Get creative and think about what your brand would be like if it were a person, and then execute a strategy to create that impression or persona in your branding efforts. Look at how much Wendy’s social media accounts soared once they started the trend of “roasting” other fast food brands on Twitter—personality is a big plus.
· Offer Freebies to Build Awareness
If you want to make absolutely sure that people see your brand, regardless of whether they are already interested or not, free stuff and “freemiums” are a great way to go. You can offer free digital content, discount codes, free items that you can mail, or anything else that you want. You could even offer to allow people to sign up for free or download content without paying so that they get a glimpse of what you have to offer and ensure that their money is going in the right place.
· Tell a Story
As mentioned earlier, having a narrative can make a big difference in your marketing efforts. Your audience today is so desensitized by commercials, streaming services, and other constantly-on technology that it can be hard sometimes to get them to just stop and look at or listen to your ad. You have to get their attention. Again, not by lying, but by getting creative and giving people something to latch onto.
The Benefits of Proper Branding
At the end of the day, improper branding could cost your business a lot. However, using branding tools and strategies to your benefit can have the exact opposite effect. While we call these “benefits”, the following elements are far more likely to be reasons that you need branding and brand awareness. Whatever you call them, though, they’re important to know, so read on and take notes.
· Brand Awareness Creates Trust
We’ve already talked about trust a couple of times, but that’s because it is absolutely critical to the success of any branding campaign. No matter how well people know your name, there is such a thing as bad brand awareness. If you develop a strong sense of trust and authority with your audience, you will give them the peace of mind that they have a resource for whatever products or services you offer. When people trust a brand, they’re more likely to refer friends and family, giving you even more to appreciate.
The world we live in today has consumers heavily reliant on online research and other people’s opinions to make purchasing decisions. Therefore, once a consumer finds your brand and makes a strong connection with it, they probably won’t look any farther and you’ll have a repeat customer on your hands. That allows you to create a bridge between trust and consumer loyalty.
When you use branding to give your brand a human personality, tell a story, and offer sincere solutions, you’re creating a much stronger opportunity for success in branding than if you just try to go put your name in as many places as possible.
· Effective Branding Creates Association
How many times have you gone to do some routine task only to refer to a specific brand in doing so? For example, a lot of people will head to the Internet to Google something, rather than just to search for it. Some people undoubtedly call all soda “Coke,” and all lip balm is referred to as “Chapstick.”
The association, however, is something that is easy to solidify in people’s minds. If you give them a chance to get to know your brand, you may also have the potential to change their mind and get them back to the generic names, or at least to your name.
· Awareness Increases Brand Value
Finally, despite the fact that it may be obvious that increasing your reach will increase your profits, it’s quite true. In fact, brand value is the whole baseline of your business. It doesn’t matter if you reach 500,000 people because if they don’t know what you have to offer or they might not be interested, a lot of that effort will be wasted. When you create a positive perception and brand equity, you will find many perks, including:
· Higher prices as a result of a higher perceived brand value
· Higher stock prices
· Greater social impact due to brand value
· Ability to expand business
Brand value allows you to set forth expectations like higher price points, a higher level of customer service, and other value-added assets that will make your audience feel confident investing in your brand. You will be able to build a sense of authority that is reflective of your brand value and ensure that all consumers know that your brand does offer exactly what they want from a trusted source.
Ultimately, all of these things allow you to turn your brand into a “household name” that will become a staple among your audience and continue to grow on its own through the effects of your brand awareness marketing campaigns.
How to Measure Brand Awareness
For the most part, it’s hard to measure efforts that are designed to increase brand awareness, but you can measure indirect metrics that might help you identify where your brand awareness campaigns stand and how much success you are generating.
The first and foremost way to measure brand visibility and awareness is to see how many people come to your site via direct traffic. This simply means that instead of converting or clicking through from social media or an advertisement, people put in the exact website URL and come straight to your website. If people can do this, then that means that they already know your brand well. Remember, of course, that click-throughs from keyword searches do not count as direct traffic.
Use social media analytics tools to measure your social engagement levels, including likes, followers, comments, and other elements of social media interaction. This will allow you to get an idea of how many people know and socialize with your brand, and can even help you attract new customers through the various social channels. There are plenty of tools out there that can score specific social metrics, such as your Twitter impact or your Instagram followers.
Brand Visibility Surveys
When you are looking for a direct way to see how your awareness efforts are going, there’s no better way to find out than to ask your audience. After all, they are the ones on the receiving end, using your apps and website to find the things that they need. If anyone is going to tell you the truth about your branding efforts, it’s them. These surveys can be created on a number of free and freemium programs, and they can be incredibly helpful in figuring out your next move.
Warnings and Things to Watch Out For
Just as a marketing campaign that is spot-on can deliver impressive results for your branding efforts, there are also a few things that could come up or go wrong along the way. No one can tell you which brand awareness strategies will be the most effective for your brand, but you do have to make sure that you’re not overdoing it. The process is a little different for everyone.
Just as much as you can benefit from using social media for brand visibility, it can also go horribly wrong if you aren’t doing it right. This process is going to take time, as mentioned earlier, and you have to be prepared for that.
Get to Know Your Audience
Right now, the world is in a very strange place. There are more people competing for less business than ever before, and it’s more critical than ever that your brand stands out and you get to know your audience in order to achieve that goal. It doesn’t matter if you are just getting started in brand awareness or if you’re just switching platforms or looking for another strategy, because there are plenty of tools and tips out there to help make the process smooth for everyone involved.
Increasing brand awareness is all about getting people’s attention and giving them another resource that they can use. With the tips and insight provided in the guide above, it will be easy to choose the best branding and marketing strategies, regardless of what business you are in or how creative you think you need to get. There’s a lot more than you can do with branding and social marketing, if only you’re willing to take the time to look.
Brand Awareness: Powerful Campaign Examples
Now that you know more about branding and building brand awareness, you will be ready to implement your own campaigns. This process is a very powerful one that combines perception, marketing efforts, and revenue to create a set of metrics that can suggest how things are better/worse.