Being the first name that comes to mind when people need a product or service is the cornerstone of brand awareness. Most companies try to throw a lot of marketing at the idea of expanding name recognition without stopping to consider exactly what brand awareness means. Businesses can make their advertising budgets work for them by looking at a few crucial factors.
It can be challenging to track the return on investment for advertising. Brand awareness is an even more obscure term. Yet, with the right mindset, companies can improve their image and gain a bigger following.
Why Is Brand Awareness an Issue?
The United States Small Business Administration estimates there are 33.2 million small businesses in the country. With competition in nearly every industry and a limited customer pool, if no one knows who a company is or what they do, the business risks getting lost in the crowd.
Even if a brand doesn’t have direct competition in their area, people are busy and companies must compete against time constraints and attention spans.
If an organization doesn’t build brand awareness correctly, it might miss out on growth opportunities. Fortunately, there are a few things brands can do to ensure people come to them to resolve pain points.
Some businesses are likely already trying a few of these tips, while others may still need implemented.
1. Build Trust
Building trust with an audience isn’t anything new. However, the ways a brand goes about building trust can make a difference.
While companies want people to know their name and think of them when they need a product or service, the wrong type of attention can be detrimental.
Ask questions such as:
- Do customer service policies align with creating trust between the company and consumers?
- How adept is the brand at following through on promises? If there’s a warranty, how far will customer service reps go to ensure things are made right?
- Do salespeople follow up with customers once they’ve made a purchase to ensure satisfaction?
The customer experience (CX) can’t be overstated. People who are happy with a brand tell others, creating strong word-of-mouth advertising companies can’t buy.
2. Meet Consumer Preferences
Survey customers frequently to figure out exactly what they want from the brand. Leaders might assume something as simple as an emailed gift card is just as good as a plastic one. However, surveys show over 50% of consumers prefer a physical gift card over a digital one.
Knowing customer preferences even on little things can make the difference between a positive and negative brand image. Take the extra effort to give clients what they want.
3. Improve Shareable Content
How sharable is content on the company website or social media pages? Ideally, trending topics appear regularly and are easy to share with the click of a button. Take the time to walk through each step of the buyer’s journey to see what might make sharing more likely.
The more people who see a brand’s content, the more will know about the company name and be likely to purchase or share content on their own.
Articles and posts don’t just go viral magically. Marketing teams think through the best approach, write excellent pieces and share them with the right audience.
4. Tell a Story
Who doesn’t love a spell-binding story? What tales are of the most benefit to an audience? For example, if a company wants people to see how much they’ve grown, they might share the story of where the company started and how far it’s come.
If a business wants people to see they’ll go above and beyond for their clients, they would share testimonials and case studies of how they helped other customers.
Storytelling captures the imagination. Don’t say, “Our brand is great. Buy from us!” Say, “Let us show you an example of how we helped Person A, Person B and Person C.” People respond and relate to real stories.
5. Be Consistent
Brands that say the same thing all the time are often seen as more reliable. Consistency means using the same logo, colors, fonts, brand personality and policies no matter where the customer encounters them.
The first step to consistency is creating a brand style guide to ensure no matter who works on marketing everything is the same.
Whether users encounter the company on social media, via the website, on a YouTube video or by coming into a brick-and-mortar establishment, they should get the same sense of the brand.
The effort to remain the same through all engagement channels helps establish who the company is and what they mean to the user. Think about the companies people are most loyal to.
Those who drink Coca-Cola don’t want Pepsi, for example. What are the things the mega corporation does to ensure that level of loyalty? How are they consistent enough to warrant such devotion? How can other brands repeat their efforts?
6. Engage Customers
A brand’s customers are their most powerful spokespeople. Turn current buyers into raving fans who will tell others about the company and why they love it.
How can a business engage customers? Create loyalty programs, offer insider incentives, reach out via social media comments, send personalized emails and segment the audience so messages are always on point.
Look at every interaction through the eyes of the consumer. What are their expectations? Don’t just meet them but exceed them in ways the client never expected.
One example often cited is when Zappos had an order for wedding shoes that didn’t fit the best man.
Even though the issue was not their fault, they overnighted new shoes to him to ensure she had what he needed for the special day. Going above and beyond for customers gives a brand the reputation of caring.
7. Choose a Color Palette
Color can evoke emotions in the viewer. Knowing a few basics of color psychology can make the difference in how well people relate to a business. Blue can be reassuring, red evokes excitement and green makes one think of earthy things.
Don’t forget to incorporate a color palette into images, as photos can be a powerful tool to capture reader imagination. Even the hue of a call to action (CTA) button can make or break your relationship with customers and enhance brand image.
A CTA should also use language targeted at the audience it’s intended for. If promoting to a younger crowd, use bold colors. To encourage trust, go with more traditional hues, such as royal blue.
8. Study Social Algorithms
Spend time looking at how well social media works for the brand. Post frequently and about topics the target audience cares about. What are the pain points of typical customers? How can you address them in your posts and content you share to the wall?
Most social media platforms offer in-depth charts and data to help companies figure out the best time to post, how to refine the audience and what content needs a boost.
The better a brand understands the effectiveness of different campaigns, the more traction it will get with audiences on each platform.
9. Choose an Emblem
A logo can make or break brand awareness. One example of a company that uses their emblem to the fullest is Nike. Nike doesn’t even use their name in most advertising but just a very basic swoosh symbol.
People know it is Nike because they use the logo everywhere. Add a company logo to any promotions, online presence and brick-and-mortar locations. Put it on shopping bags, invoices, email headers and anywhere else one can think of.
Ideally, the logo will have something to do with the industry the business is in. For example, a real estate agent might use the outline of a home in a specific color or with their initials in the center.
A company emblem should stand apart from competitors but also be recognizable for what the brand does.
10. Give Back
Companies that contribute to their local communities and the world gain a positive image from their efforts. The first key is to find something the business stakeholders care about.
If the leadership is passionate about cleaning up local ecosystems, then tap into that desire to improve the world around them and adopt a few ecosystems in the area to invest in.
Whenever faced with several potential types of projects, choose the one the most customers would care about as well. If a company sells educational products, customers might care about a program to feed hungry school children breakfast every day.
Finding the middle ground between what the company leaders care about and what matters most to customers helps improve brand reputation and loyalty. People are willing to invest in a company that adopts a cause near to their hearts.
Reset Your Thinking About Brand Awareness
Most companies have probably been doing a lot of things right when it comes to brand awareness. As with any business endeavor, there are always areas to improve and tweak.
Knowing where one stands in the areas above is an excellent starting point to ramp up brand awareness and develop a positive reputation in the community and beyond.
About the Author!
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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