“I Googled this cafe and the reviews are great! Can I order a Coke, please?”
Consider how weird that sentence might sound without the inclusion of the two brands: “I performed an internet search of this cafe and the reviews are great! Can I order a cola, please?”
Google and Coca-Cola are so well-known that they replace their technically correct counterparts in almost every instance. These terms are known as proprietary eponyms, and they are the pinnacle of brand awareness.
Brand awareness is the level of customer recognition of a brand's products or services. It is important for businesses because it builds brand equity, creates brand association, and can be a major factor in determining consumer purchase decisions. Brand awareness is measured through various means such as surveys, focus groups, or brand recall tests.
Brand awareness is more than just general brand recognition: it is intended to evoke a response from your target audience. In other words, your marketing material shouldn’t just get your name out there, it should make your name synonymous with excellence in your industry.
Brand awareness helps you create emotional connections with your customers. It builds trust, establishes positive connections and fosters brand loyalty. Brand awareness is responsible for customers first recognizing and then preferring your brand - and, over time, acting as a brand ambassador to family and friends (“I love my new Nike sneakers!” “I got this on Amazon.” “Look at this feature on my iPhone!”).
This is why brand awareness is so important, and how it benefits any business of any size in any industry.
A good brand awareness strategy utilizes a number of different tactics across a range of channels. Our top ten tips to increase your brand awareness include:
The key word here is ‘invest’. A robust marketing campaign requires great creative content, a thorough roll-out strategy, constant data monitoring and a team to make all the moving parts move. But the juice is worth the squeeze: marketing campaigns are how brands reach a wide audience. They’re impactful and memorable, and convert consumers into customers through multiple touchpoints.
PR (public relations) is the management of how your audience views your brand. News articles, radio spots and television appearances all fall under PR. The biggest benefit PR offers is that it allows you to be proactive about how you want your audience to perceive you.
Influencers build brand awareness by targeting their existing followers with curated product or service content, usually highlighting key features and positioning the brand in a favorable way. It’s worth noting that depending on their number of followers, influencer pricing can vary significantly. Like PR, influencer marketing is effective because the brand is given final sign off on how it is viewed and experienced.
Social media (which includes channels like LinkedIn and WhatsApp) provides a powerful platform to promote your brand and build relationships with your customers. Because of the nature of social media, this type of marketing content is most effective when it is engaging, memorable and, arguably most importantly, entertaining.
Additionally, don’t forget to leverage the ‘social’ side of these platforms. Post various different forms of content (like carousels, interactive polls, gifs or video content), engage with your audience by responding to comments and questions, or run giveaways or competitions. Social media channels offer tremendous reach and the brands that take full advantage of this are the ones that consumers remember.
Good SEO (search engine optimization) is critical to ensuring your content ranks as highly as possible on search engines like Google. It makes your content much more likely to be seen by consumers. After all, who goes to page 2 of a Google search result?
Unlike the other tips on this list, SEO is not directly customer-facing and therefore is something you can improve virtually immediately. Brands can do this by:
Content for content’s sake is a waste of your time and your customer’s. It should be informative and targeted to the specific needs of your audience. Make people want to read the content you create by consistently providing information that is relevant and valuable.
PPC (pay-per-click) ads are an effective way to increase your brand awareness on Google. When a consumer needs a product or service in line with your offering, your website will appear at the top of their search results.
Brands only pay when an ad is clicked, meaning more consumers will see your brand than you are paying for and your spend is dedicated to those that have actually engaged with your URL.
Paid social media works in a similar way, except instead of your brand website, consumers are shown a brand post or advert (this is listed as Sponsored Content on most social media channels).
Examples of PPC adverts. Source: Google
Brand partnerships are common and an excellent way to increase brand awareness, as you’re associating your brand with one that already has an established audience of their own. Open a new tab and Google “Gucci x “, and you’ll have an idea of the power (and range!) of brand partnerships.
Admittedly, not every brand can partner with Gucci. Smaller brands can accomplish the same by partnering with local companies, SMEs, or community events such as fun runs or festivals.
Although it feels like everything happens online these days, the offline world still exists. Brands can increase their awareness by building an offline marketing campaign (think billboards, print material, posters, flyers or brochures). The benefit of offline marketing is that the bar is generally quite low - when last did an offline advert really catch your eye? By cutting through the clutter and creating captivating content, you can boost your brand awareness.
Although infographics and iconography might not fall into every brand’s style guide, they are valuable when it comes to displaying marketing data, statistics and other consumable content. Infographics can build brand awareness in 3 ways:
Chances are you’ve been exposed to numerous remarketing campaigns before. They work like this: if a would-be customer visited your site but did not convert, remarketing ensures that the same user will see ads for your brand on social media and other sites. If the user clicked on a product, like a pair of headphones, images of those same headphones will pull through to the adverts served.
They’re effective, measurable, and through sheer repetition, position your brand as a flagship provider in your industry.
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Without consistency in design, brand awareness can be severely impacted. Picture the Netflix home screen, or Google’s design of their Google Workspace logos, or a FedEx delivery van versus a UPS van. The fact that you can instantly recall all of these in your mind’s eye shows how design goes hand-in-hand with brand awareness.
This is why brands work so hard on creating a recognizable logo and using distinct brand assets like key colors and fonts. A good brand style guide will have detailed do’s and don’ts to ensure that every piece of branded content - from your homepage to corporate gifting - looks and feels consistent.
However, scaling your design efforts to manage consistent brand exposure across as many different channels as possible is easier said than done. Brands with large volumes of design needs can gain from partnering with brand and design experts such as Superside.
Measuring brand awareness can be done in a number of different ways, each with a different focus and metric. Although it’s impossible to measure exactly how many people are aware of your brand and what their perceptions might be, these measurement approaches can provide key data and insights.
Most brands that have a website (which is most brands) use that as a core tool to convert customers. Is your site traffic increasing in line with your brand awareness efforts? If so, see what’s working and lean into that. If not, use the data to identify what you might need to improve.
A brand’s social media account will come with a wealth of data you can peruse. Look at your number of followers, which posts outperformed others in terms of engagement, and how often people interact with your content.
Unlike reviewing data, these tests work with a focus group. Brand recall tests ask customers if they can remember a particular brand when given a list of other brands in the same industry. Brand recognition tests ask customers whether they can recognize a brand when presented with its logo or other visual cues. Both give excellent, first-hand feedback on how your brand awareness efforts stack up against your competitors.
Brand awareness surveys typically ask questions about how often customers have seen or heard ads for a particular brand, or how likely they would be to consider purchasing that brand's products or services. Unlike a recall or recognition test, a survey can be sent to a much wider audience and therefore provide a more accurate reflection of your overall audience.
It’s no surprise that the bigger the brand, the bigger the brand awareness. However, these 3 examples illustrate how good brand awareness can say everything needed simply by association.
McDonald’s used their iconic golden arches to excellent effect in this outdoor campaign:
Heinz made themselves synonymous with ketchup through these ads:
And Metro Trains in Australia created global brand awareness with their ultra-catchy educational jingle around the dangers of train platforms.
Today's competitive marketplace makes building brand awareness more important than ever. By following the tips and advice outlined in this article, you can give your business the best chance of success.
If you want to take your brand awareness to the next level, see how Superside’s branding services can help your business.
By working with Superside, you can leverage the top 1% design talent to make your brand more than memorable.
Cam is a Content Marketing Manager at Superside, with a background in marketing for Fintech and Finserve. A content and product marketer for nearly a decade, he’s developed a tremendous respect for how design can elevate a marketing strategy. When he's not getting into heated debates about em dash usage, he's probably snootily obsessing over a local craft beer or dangerously obscure wine. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.
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