You’ve thought up some quality product branding and you have a good sense of what your brand means and how you’re going to present it to the world. Unfortunately, you’ve only taken the very first steps towards creating a brand.
A brand only means anything if it’s recognized by the customer, so the biggest part of the challenge in creating a brand is generating brand awareness. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to build brand recognition.
Here are five easy steps to take on your journey towards brand awareness and towards creating a fully-fledged brand for your product or company.
1. The Big One – Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has to be top of the list when writing about how to create brand awareness.
In 2018, it might be slightly obvious to point out that social media is important, but here goes: where do most people spend a huge chunk of their time on a daily basis? That’s right – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. So, in terms of creating brand awareness, it makes sense to go where your consumer is.
The other huge thing about social media marketing is that it’s a free way to build brand recognition. In the digital era, a big chunk of your time will be spent building a solid social media presence.
Where you need to concentrate your efforts will depend on your industry, but it shouldn’t be hard to find out what the most useful social media platform will be for your brand.
Once there, make sure your presence is regular. Generating regular content is probably the most important aspect of maintaining social media presence. People lose interest quickly, and once they lose the habit of checking in regularly, it will be hard to get their eyeballs back on your brand.
Social media is also, perhaps ironically, the best place to add a little human element to your brand. Brands tweet and post photos on Instagram, but so do regular people.
Adopting a more personal tone can be a great way to gain a loyal following. It’s also important to bear in mind that people go on social media for entertainment – humour can be a great tool if used wisely.
At the same time, Tweeting and posting come with inherent risks. You don’t want to push the boat out too far and generate a Twitter-storm by saying something inappropriate. Or maybe, if you live by the adage ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, you do.
Of course, just as off color comments can trend, so can funny threads and cute videos. Going viral is the holy grail of all social media marketers, and viral marketing is a sure fire way to generate massive brand awareness.
For managing your various social media profiles effectively, you may want to check out the vast range of tools available. Especially if you are a small business or site, automating your posts can be a life-saver when it comes to managing your time.
2. There Is Safety In Numbers
What do companies and products all have in common? They all want to build brand awareness. There is competition involved in business, but consumers are perfectly capable of recognising more than one brand.
Ultimately, Pepsi and Coca Cola’s advertised rivalry helped both companies. Joining forces with another company can be a great way to pool resources and help generate brand awareness.
Of course, especially if you are thinking about sales, the best business partner is one that targets a similar customer, but which doesn’t compete directly with you.
For example, if you are a florist, you can offer an exclusive discount for customers of the local bridal gown shop. This way you are spreading brand awareness to a ready-made customer base.
In the digital world, guest posting is a good example of cooperative brand awareness generation. Guest posting, or guest blogging, essentially means posting your content on another site.
You give the host site free content, and in return, you receive backlinks that can help boost search engine rankings, along with tapping into the host site’s established audience.
If you and the host blog are similar sized brands, you can offer the service in return. This way you can grow together.
3. Get Offline And Venture Into The Real World
It should go without saying that if you are a local store, you need a website to generate brand recognition in 2018. Just in case, it’s worth reiterating that point: there’s no excuse not to get online, and while there you should be generating regular content so as to build your brand.
Conversely, you should also make sure to venture offline, even if you represent an exclusively digital brand.
We spend a lot of our time online nowadays, but there’s no substitute for the recognition generated by real life experiences. Especially nowadays, advertising in old media forms can be eye catching.
If you’re a small business, local advertising can be especially worth it and is surprising affordable.
Throwing a party is another great way to build brand awareness in the real world. Regardless of what kind of business you’re in, you can host some sort of event – a conference, a Christmas bash, or a summer barbeque. Nothing will help people remember your brand more than providing a memorable experience.
At these events, make sure you give away lots of free merch. Giving away branded merchandise is an age old marketing tactic, but it’s a golden one, and having a physical reminder of a brand can be important.
4. Think About PR
Public relations work is the purest form of brand creation. Whilst marketing can be principally about generating revenue, PR is always about branding.
Managing how the public perceive you can be a fine art, especially for large corporate entities.
But PR is also useful when thinking about building brand awareness. Press coverage is great because it is essentially free advertising with a wide circulation.
If you can think of some stunt that will earn you national coverage, then that’s great, but you needn’t aim that high. Especially if you are a local business looking to build brand awareness, getting your name in the local paper can be enough.
Press coverage is also more useful than straight up advertising because editorials usually have more credibility. If you are looking to build a positive brand image, try and think of a story that the media might be interested in telling.
For instance, Airbnb came up with a sarcastic infographic and an introduction video explaining the reason of its new branding approach, when the company changed its logo and received too many criticisms either negative or positive.
Perhaps you have a particularly fascinating foundation story?
Alternatively, you might be launching an exciting new product, or have spotted an interesting new trend in your field. Publishing reports and surveys in your industry can also be a convenient way to get referenced by reporters.
Making an exclusive offer or prize give away is also a great way to generate brand awareness. People love free stuff, and they’ll tend to remember generous brands. Competitions and prize draws can also be good ways to generate hype and brand interest.
5. Pay For It
There’s one more important step in creating brand awareness. That is, considering old school paid advertising.
Leveraging social media can be a great way to generate brand awareness for free, but every social media platform also offers opportunities for companies to spend money.
There’s a reason that even already colossal brands like Coca Cola spend big advertising bucks. It works, and the existence of the advertising industry in the first place means that paid adverts are designed to reach large audiences.
Granted, consumers can be more skeptical of blatant advertising nowadays, but there are more subtle ways to spend money on brand awareness.
For instance, you might consider adding an influencer to your pay books. Paying for social media influencers to spread the word about your product is a great way to generate awareness, particularly amongst a younger audience.
Paid ads needn’t break the bank either. With the advent of social media, even tiny businesses can afford an ad budget. With advances in big data and AI, behavioral marketing has become prevalent and advertising is now scarily targeted at the individual level.
For a local business, targeted, geographically specific ads might be an affordable and highly effective way to generate brand awareness. Many social media campaign options are pay per click, so you can be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Another option is search engine optimization. If your brand is selling a specific product, it might be a good idea to target consumers who search for certain search terms. If this is the case, then placing an ad on Google can actually be a cost effective way of increasing brand awareness.
However you choose to focus on creating brand recognition, a combination of these steps is always a sure fire winner.