What IS brand awareness? Brand awareness is just what it sounds like...it’s being aware of a particular brand, whether that’s the name or the logo or the messaging. Brand awareness is what you want your customers to have so that they recognize your business, so it goes without saying that the more brand awareness you have, the better.For example, did you know that 94% of people in the world recognize the Coca-Cola label? Even if the name isn’t on it! That’s brand awareness. That’s why when people order a drink, they usually say Coke instead of cola.
Think about how brand aware you are:
- When you sneeze, do you grab a tissue or a Kleenex?
- Do you put a Band-Aid on a scrape or a plastic bandage?
- Are you rubbing Chapstick on your lips or lip balm?
- Is your lunch in a plastic bag/container or a Ziplock/Tupperware?
- Vaseline or petroleum jelly?
- Windex or window cleaner?
You get the idea – brand awareness is huge, and it pervades our language and our behavior and our purchasing.
Why is brand awareness important? Well, think about it. If you can get your brand to be on the tip of someone’s tongue or at the front of their minds, they’ll be more likely to use your business. Having customers recognize your name or logo builds comfort and familiarity, which in time can build trust and loyalty.
Where can I start building brand awareness? Right here, right now! There are countless ways to do this and many of them are basically free. Here are at least 22 quick ideas to get your own ideas rolling on building brand awareness with your business.
- Advertising. Let’s get this out of the way right out of the gate. Nothing really replaces advertising, no matter what kind or what way. Get your name out there anywhere and everywhere you can. Why do you think there are millions of customized pens in the world? They work for brand awareness!
- TRADE SHOWS & EVENTS. The number one (and most effective) means of B2B marketing is good, old fashioned face-to-face interaction, and it's no secret that working a trade show booth at a live marketing function yields unparalleled promotional value. Your business gains immediate access to countless advertising opportunities. In a relatively short period of time, you can utilize your trade show booth to connect with clients, prospects, affiliates and even competitors, all on a face-to-face level, the ultimate marketing achievement.
- Referral Programs. Remember the old shampoo commercial where “I told 2 friends, and they told 2 friends, and so on, and so on” and the faces on the TV screen kept exponentially multiplying to show the benefit of sharing? That’s a referral program. 49% of consumers say friends and family are their top sources of brand awareness, so encourage them to share and reward them for it.
- Social media. A conservative statistic reports that people spend more than six hours per day on social media, which indicates that the internet is not a place to miss if you’re looking for brand awareness. Post delightful content; buys ads if you want to; engage with your audience; and support other like-minded businesses with your likes and comments. And #HashtagLikeCrazy
- Guest blog. This one’s a no-brainer because it’s two birds-one stone. Find someone with a complimentary or like-minded business or service and offer to write a blog for them. They in turn can write one for you. Then both of you will cross-post and tag and your friends and followers will do the same. The amount of traffic that this one small (relatively free except for time) move will garner is a pretty good ROI.
- Infographics. Ah, these are great brand-builders because they can be as elaborate, as simple, as trendy, or as timeless as your brand. They stimulate the visual shopper and the information-driven as well. They can be reused in various arenas and across platforms, too.
- Podcasts. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the gift of gab and have enough content to talk about, go for it. Podcasts are wildly popular and people who love them can’t get enough of them. And it seems everyone loves them. Podcasts are versatile, too, because there is no time length minimum or maximum, you can publish at your leisure, and they cross platforms easily.
- Brand partnerships. This one’s a lot like the guest blogging one, but if you know of another brand that would link nicely with yours (maybe you sell organic peanut butter and you know someone who sells local organic jelly – you get the idea), take advantage of the pairing and give each other a boost. It’s more fun, it’s less work, and it’s effective.
- Giveaways. Everybody loves ‘em.
- Partner with influences. Do you know an influencer? Do you know someone who knows an influencer? Do you know someone who knows someone who . . . never mind. You get the idea. Influencers are aptly named because people listen to them. Maybe partnering is too Herculean a task currently, but even if you can get an influencer to give you a quick sound bite or a written blurb, it’s worth your time and effort to chase it down.
- Be a do-gooder. Participate fully in local events, be a sponsor for community events, sponsor a children’s sports team, organize a food drive or clothing grab or something else charitable in your local area —and if you can tie it to your product or service, even better!
- Contests. Everyone loves the hype of a contest. Research shows that it doesn’t matter much what the contest is or what the prize is. It’s really the adrenaline rush of playing and possibly winning. From raffles to guessing games to something skill-based, build your brand by offering up some friendly competition.
- Car wraps. I can hardly believe these are a “thing.” I remember the first time I saw one – a Volkswagen bug wrapped with an enormous toothy smile advertising a dentist – and I dismissed the gimmick. But they are effective because they get people looking and pointing and talking, and they are memorable.
- Mascot. From the French word for “lucky charm,” a mascot is a crowd-pleaser. Could be an animal or a character or a giant roll of toilet paper. If you can do it, do it.
- Storytelling. As we’ve talked about lots in the past, telling your business’s story is an effective way to capture your audience’s attention and draw them in. Stories are enticing and learning to dramatize your company’s mission or vision will make it stick with people.
- Twitter. If you or someone in your company has a quick sarcastic wit, get on the Twits. Some of THE BEST brand marketing is on there in the form of superior customer service (Jet Blue responds to almost all of its commentors personally), snarky one-up-manship (see Wendy’s and PopTarts), and self-deprecating humor (see Denny’s). Twitter personalities go viral because the conversation can go from informational to absurd in one tweet.
- Focus on values. Now more than ever, companies’ success can be linked to their values. In fact, 89%of shoppers say they remain loyal to brands that share their values. If you can work your team’s values into your branding – whether that’s compassion, fun, or hard work – you might be able to win over some values-driven consumers.
- Stickers. They aren’t just for kids. They are for laptops and water bottles and for spreading your brand awareness all over everywhere.
- Graffiti. It’s still as popular as ever!
- Flash mobs. This one takes perhaps a little more planning and execution, but WOW are they ever spectacular. And you don’t have to do one of the crazy, huge, viral varieties. Get creative and think about something related to your product that would make an impact at a park, a mall, a town square. It’s also a great way to get people involved in promoting your brand.
- Pop-up events. The sudden popularity and ubiquity of these astounds me. One day, I hadn’t heard of pop-ups. The next week, I’d heard of half a dozen. Pop-ups, like the name implies, can be done anywhere with very little set up, which is perfect is your pop-up is weather-dependent or your schedule is uncertain.
- And last but not least . . . skywriting, slogans, publicity stunts, and any other guerilla marketing tactic you can think of to GET YOUR BRAND OUT THERE.
It doesn’t have to be expensive or perfect. Building brand awareness can be as simple as spending an hour in the park tossing some customized Frisbees (er, I mean, flying plastic discs) to passersby.
Photo by Joshua Earle