Have you ever heard people refer to themselves as “Apple people”, “Nike people” or “Trader Joes”?
This can create brand awareness for a brand: they can embed themselves in the lifestyle and buying habits of consumers so they don’t have to think twice before becoming a customer – over and over again.
This guide will help you better understand brand awareness, establish it with your audience, and create campaigns that will allow them to continually grow and change with your business. Let’s dive in.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness indicates how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how well they recognize it. Brands with high brand awareness are generally referred to as “trending”, “buzzworthy” or simply “popular”. Establishing brand awareness is valuable when marketing and promoting your business and products, especially in the early stages of a business.
Brand awareness may seem like a vague concept, and in truth it is. For those marketers and business owners out there who like to measure success by neat numbers, brand awareness is likely to have your feathers disheveled.
Just because it’s not a metric that can be perfectly determined doesn’t mean it has no value. Brand awareness is incredibly important to business success and overall marketing goals. Here’s why.
Brand awareness promotes trust.
In a world where consumers rely on extensive research and opinions from others before making a purchase, brand trust is everything. Once a consumer engages in your brand, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases with little or no foresight – which then bridges the gap between trust and loyalty.
Brand awareness creates this brand trust. If you give your brand name a proverbial face, it is easier for consumers to trust. Brand awareness efforts add personality to your brand and the ability to be sincere, receive feedback, and tell a story. In this way, we as humans build trust among one another. The relationship between people and brands is no different.
Brand awareness creates association.
If you’ve had a paper cut, you must have put a plaster on. If you had an urgent question, you surely Googled it. If you had to make a couple of copies, you probably Xeroxed them. And when you’ve packed for a nice picnic, I’m ready to bet you got yourself a Coke to drink.
Am I right? Most likely. But … notice how some of the above words are capitalized. These are trademarks, not nouns or verbs.
In unbranded terms, Band-Aid should be referred to as an association, Google as a search engine, and Xerox as a copier. However, it is more fun to relate to the brand itself even when we are not using their specific product.
This is exactly what makes brand awareness. It links promotions and products to specific brands and unconsciously encourages us to replace common words with branded terms. And before you know it, simple paper cuts or picnics will do the marketing for us.
Brand awareness creates brand value.
Brand value describes the value of a brand, which is determined by the experience of consumers and the general perception of the brand. Positive experiences and perceptions are synonymous with positive brand equity, and the same goes for negative perceptions.
Here are some valuable things that result from positive brand equity:
- Higher prices due to higher perceived value
- A higher share price
- The ability to expand the business through product or service line extensions
- Greater social impact due to brand equity
How does a brand establish (and increase) brand value? By building brand awareness and consistently promoting positive experiences with the brand. Brand awareness is the basis of brand equity.
Once a consumer knows a brand, they recognize it without help, seek it out to make a purchase, prefer it to other similar brands, and build a loyalty that not only inspires other purchases but also recommends family and friends.
This is why, my friends, brand awareness is so important. It instills trust with your customers, creates positive associations, and creates invaluable brand equity that enables your brand to become a household name and staple for consumers.
This is how you establish brand awareness
Brand awareness among your audience and the general public doesn’t happen overnight. Nor does this happen through a simple advertisement or marketing campaign.
Strong brand awareness is the result of multiple concurrent efforts that go beyond trying to attract paying customers.
If you want to raise brand awareness by running some product advertisements on Facebook, you won’t get far. Not only will the consumer focus on the product (not the brand), but the ad will also have no effect beyond a simple sale.
Here are some ways to build a solid foundation for brand awareness and make a lasting impact on your audience:
Be a person, not a company.
What would you like to know about a new friend when you meet them? I like learning about hobbies, passions, likes and dislikes, and more. I also pay attention to how they talk, what they like to talk about, and what things upset them.
These are the characteristics that your brand should define and promote about itself. To make an impression on your audience, you need to define yourself as more than a company that sells things. How else would you define yourself? What words would you use if you had to introduce your brand to a new friend?
Introvert or extrovert, sociable or calm, all people benefit from social contact and spend time together. This is how we stay connected, learn new things and become known to others.
The same goes for your brand. Just trying to get in touch with others when you’re trying to make a sale or get assistance is not being referred to as anything other than a company with a unique purpose (and that goes for a person too).
To increase your brand awareness, you need to be social. Post on social media about things unrelated to your product or service. Interact with your audience by asking questions, commenting on posts, or retweeting or sharing content you like. Treat your social accounts like you are a person trying to make friends, not a company trying to make money.
Research shows that over 50% of brand awareness is due to online socializing. Being social leads to greater awareness and easy exposure.
Tell a story.
Storytelling is an incredibly powerful marketing tactic, whether you’re marketing products or promoting your brand. Why? Because it gives your audience something real to hold onto.
Creating a narrative around your brand humanizes it and gives it depth. When you incorporate this narrative into your marketing, your brand will inherently be marketed alongside your product or service.
What should your narrative be about? Everything as long as it’s true. It could be the story of your founder, the story of how your company got its first product idea, or the story of how your small business made it in this big world.
People like to hear stories about each other. Authenticity is effective and can lead to a strong increase in brand awareness.
Make sharing easy.
Regardless of your industry, your product offering or your marketing strategies, your target groups can easily share your content. This can be blog posts, sponsored content, videos, social media posts, or product pages. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it can be shared.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to build trust and familiarity with customers. When someone sees a friend or family member recommending a product or service, they take note of that product and brand. Is this brand worth exploring? Do you have any other great products that I can rely on? What are their social accounts like and what are they talking about?
If you make it easy to post about your content, consumers will increase brand awareness for you by simply clicking the share button.
Brand awareness is about impact.
It’s about engaging with your audience in a way that isn’t just asking for money, participation, or loyalty.
Imagine meeting a new person who wanted to be your friend. If they asked about any of the above, you would probably laugh and walk away, right? Not only is this a shallow approach to friendship, but it doesn’t leave any lasting impact on you either.
The same applies to the brand awareness of your audience.
How to increase brand awareness
How about building your established brand awareness and building on that strong foundation? As a brand, what can you do to promote awareness and constantly increase it?
Here are some campaign ideas to increase your brand awareness:
Freemium is a business model that offers a basic product or product line free of charge and only charges for products that are considered premium or company level. This is a popular pricing strategy for software companies like HubSpot and Trello.
By offering a freemium option, customers can get an idea of your brand and product before buying. This is an opportunity to try it out before you buy that can technically take forever (as opposed to a free trial that some companies choose).
It is common to offer a freemium option on the condition that the brand’s watermark is displayed on publicly available parts of the product or service. This makes freemium a win-win situation: the consumer gets the product for free, and the brand gets free advertising when the consumer uses it.
TypeForm is another great example of this. TypeForm offers a freemium option for its survey software. However, customers must add a thank you page with the TypeForm logo and message on it.
Depending on your type of business and product offering, freemium may be the best way to increase your brand awareness with your audience.
Create free content.
Nowadays, creating content is easier than ever. This is a good thing as today’s consumers turn to the internet for all their questions, concerns, and DIY projects.
Content is a fun way to increase your brand awareness as it is the easiest way to display personality, share opinions, and position yourself on topics – two main components that embody and humanize your brand.
The content does not have to be in writing either. You can also create videos, infographics, podcasts (which we discuss below), and more. Sure, written content like blogs and downloadable guides are arguably the easiest, but they are definitely not the only option.
Content doesn’t have to be stored only on your website, either. Guest posts and sponsored content provide an opportunity to reach new audiences and diversify the type of content you create.
If your brand isn’t creating content, you may be missing out on some important brand awareness opportunities. Content offers an amazing way to authentically connect with your audience while getting your brand name in front of people’s eyes.
For more information on creating content, see our guide here.
How many festivals, concerts, trade fairs and exhibitions have you participated in? Such events are usually not possible without the help of brand sponsorships. (Check out a t-shirt, koozie, or string backpack that you probably brought with you from the event. Do you see brand names?)
Sponsoring events is a surefire way to get your brand in front of the hundreds, thousands, or millions of people who are likely to fall into your target audience. From banners to flyers to water bottles, your brand name is everywhere when you sponsor an event.
By sponsoring an event, you can also associate your brand name with an event that matches your personality, interests, and passions. This means that consumers will then associate your brand with that event and its aesthetic and character.
Consider Red Bull. Red Bull is an energy drink. Without brand awareness, we would simply consider it an energy drink. Fortunately, Red Bull has taken its marketing to the extreme – literally – by sponsoring extreme sports events like cliff jumping and motocross. They also sponsor athletes. Now we naturally associate Red Bull with daring and adventure … and believe that if we drink it, we can be the same.
Give your brand a personality.
Treating your brand as a person and defining your narrative are the first steps in giving your brand a personality. The next step would be to incorporate this personality into your marketing efforts.
When you market your products and services with personality, you can’t help but increase your brand awareness as your brand will show through. Sure, your consumers will notice the pants or noodles you market, but they will also learn your personality through your advertising.
This is a great strategy when you combine your traditional marketing campaigns with brand awareness campaigns. They don’t always have to be one and the same, but they definitely can be.
Look at Old Spice. (Did you just introduce yourself to the man on horseback? I did.) Their advertisement for their hygiene products is full of personality and humor, and they still mention their products. Not only does the ad affect viewers, a mere mention of the “Old Spice Man” sends consumers back to YouTube to watch the commercial … and to the store to buy a deodorant.
Produce a podcast.
More than a third of Americans 12 and older regularly listen to podcasts. There is no doubt that podcasts play an important role in our lives … and in our marketing efforts.
Podcasts used to be a complicated process created only by people with a studio and a fancy microphone. Now it’s easier than ever to create and publish a podcast. This can do wonders for your brand awareness.
Why? Because podcasts, like written or visual content, provide a way to authentically connect with your audience. Rather than openly promoting your product or service (which we agreed isn’t the best way to increase brand awareness), podcasts provide you with an opportunity to educate, inform, entertain, or advise your audience and in that way Build trust.
Here are some examples of great podcasts from brands you know and love:
See how these brands selected podcast topics related to their 1) general brand message and 2) products or services? That way, they can re-associate the podcast with their brand and further raise awareness.
For more information on podcasts, see our guide here.
Building and increasing brand awareness is a never-ending process, just as maintaining a friendship or relationship never really ends.
Increasing your brand awareness through campaigns gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in marketing and promotional opportunities that you would not otherwise invest in. This means new, powerful ways to connect with your audience.
How to measure brand awareness
How do you know if your brand awareness efforts are working? How do you know if you need to change direction, outperform the competition, or resolve a crisis? As with any other marketing metric, you measure it.
Wait … I thought you said brand awareness cannot be measured!
Aha! You listened. I appreciate that.
You’re right – brand awareness cannot be measured in the traditional sense. However, you can still review activities and metrics that will help you gauge where your brand is in terms of popularity and customer awareness.
Here are a few ways to measure your brand awareness and learn where to optimize your efforts:
Quantitative measures for brand awareness
These numbers can help you paint the bigger picture of your brand awareness. To measure quantitatively, check out these metrics:
- Direct traffic. First, direct traffic is the result of people deliberately entering your URL and visiting your website. Your direct traffic number indicates how much your marketing is asking visitors to visit your website. This is an important metric as many consumers today discover brands through social media, advertising, or by entering keywords for your brand or product. When consumers go straight to your website, it means they recognized your brand beforehand.
- Site traffic numbers. This number just reflects total website traffic, which tells you how much of the general internet population is reviewing your content and spending time on your brand. It won’t tell you exactly where people came from, but it doesn’t matter as they know your brand enough to review.
- Social commitment. Engagement can refer to followers, likes, retweets, comments, and more. It shows how many people know and interact with your brand and how effective your content is. For example, websites like Sparktoro can give you a certain score for your Twitter impact.
Qualitative measures for brand awareness
In this step, your brand awareness gets a little cloudy. Still, this tactic can help you determine who and how many people know your brand. To measure qualitatively, try:
- Search and set up Google Google Alerts. This way you will learn how your brand is being talked about online. You will be made aware of news or mentions of third parties. As your brand grows, your internet real estate will grow beyond your website. So keep an eye on this.
- Social listening. Social Listening monitors social media management tools for organic mentions and engagement. Who is tagging your brand, mentioning it in comments, or using your hashtag in their posts? These tools can help you find out. And the more your audience discusses your brand on social media, the more aware they are.
- Conducting brand awareness surveys. This process involves direct feedback from your customers and audience and can be incredibly helpful in understanding not only who knows your brand, but what they think of it as well. You can publish surveys through SurveyMonkey or TypeForm and share them on social media or directly with your customers. This guide will help you create and apply.
These quantitative and qualitative metrics will help you understand your brand awareness with your audience and the public. It will never be a perfect number, but if you keep your pulse on this measure, you can influence campaigns and stay connected with your audience. Regardless of how you measure your company’s brand awareness, avoid these common mistakes when measuring brand awareness.
Over to you
Brand awareness is a powerful (albeit vague) concept that can have a huge impact on your marketing efforts, consumer perception, and sales.
Follow these techniques to promote your brand and you will find a loyal audience who will recognize your brand among competitors, keep choosing your products, and recommending their friends and family members to do the same.