Brand awareness is all about becoming known for something greater than the sum of your parts. It’s about going beyond what you do or sell, to resonate with people in such a way that they willingly choose you over similar brands, simply because of what you represent.
Establishing a brand that matters starts with having a clear understanding of who you are as a company and figuring out what makes you, you! Before you can start shouting from the digital rooftops, you must first look inwards and identify the unique selling points that set you apart from your competition. Your brand identity defines you, and needs to feed into everything you do, not just in terms of service, but in what you believe and how you communicate.
Reaching the lofty heights of major brands like Nike and Google may seem a long way off, especially with so many brands now vying for consumer attention both online and off - but every brand has got to start somewhere.
All of the best and most well-known brands own what they do. They transcend their product by creating a personality that sets them apart from their competitors. Giving your brand a distinct voice and persona that your audience can relate to is the first step toward making your business more engaging and memorable to consumers. The oversaturation of products and services across most mainstream industries means that, more often than not, it doesn’t matter how good your product is if your brand personality doesn’t get people excited. With so much competition, people will simply go elsewhere as soon as there’s something more interesting, so give them a reason to stick around.
Once you have established a strong brand identity, you can start promoting it. Brand awareness has always boiled down to one thing: word of mouth! Getting people to talk about you and your brand has been integral to marketing a business for years, and what started in town squares, and around office water coolers, has now found a new home online.
Social media has become the platform of choice for businesses looking to grow their brand’s online presence. With 2.5 billion people currently using some form of social media worldwide, it’s safe to assume that if your brand isn’t present on at least some of these platforms you’re missing out on a huge opportunity!
For your social media to really contribute towards improving your brand awareness, you need to be proactive. You must establish your own unique voice that speaks directly to your target market, and then work tirelessly to establish a presence that’s both engaging and shareable.
For some this could mean direct promotion, giveaways and competitions. For others it could be establishing a social presence that is more personable and indirectly linked to the product or service on offer. There’s no right or wrong way to do social, it really is all about understanding your audience and creating content you know they'll engage with.
The one thing that is universally agreed, is that you need to be consistent and active in whatever you do. Post content regularly, and engage wherever possible in conversations about your product or industry; using established hashtags in your tweets to show up in the feeds of people who are interested in your sector.
Obviously the bigger your marketing budget, the bigger and more elaborate awareness campaigns you can create. PR stunts and celebrity endorsements have their merits, if you can afford them, but before you get carried away there are plenty of ways you can stretch those marketing pounds online to help improve your brand awareness.
Ranking on page one of Google is the dream of every business, but with organic SEO becoming seemingly harder to crack, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising represents a smart alternative. Even with a relatively small amount of money behind your PPC campaigns, with the right target keyword research, your business could be appearing at the top of relevant search results in no time.
The same effect can be achieved through social channels. If your brand is struggling for engagement and reach, investing some budget in paid promotion will get your posts appearing natively in the feeds of your target audience. Even if nobody clicks on these ads, just seeing your brand appearing in some of the most widely used places on the internet is a powerful tool for raising your brand awareness.
What makes people want to spend more money on a certain pair of trainers, or shop in a particular supermarket, even if it’s more expensive? The most powerful brands represent a culture and way of life that people want to be a part of. They choose to buy and use products for the association with the brand, a perceived quality and in some cases the feeling of improved social status.
To give your brand this level of credibility can take time and investment. Encouraging respected social influencers in your field to endorse your business in some way can help elevate your brand by introducing it to new audiences. When partnering with reputable individuals, your brand naturally becomes associated with quality, and starts to be used and spoken about as a brand people respect, trust and ultimately want to buy from.
It’s not only celebrities and industry experts that can act as brand ambassadors. Your existing customers are some of the most powerful advocates your brand has at its disposal, and to ignore them would be a waste.
When people hear the real experiences of your customers it resonates on a far more personal level, and helps to establish trust and confidence in your business. Using an independent platform to collect real reviews, from real customers, is a great starting point. Prominently displaying the feedback you gather shows that you’re a transparent business that people are happy to use.
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