It has happened to all of us at some point- when we hear a jingle on the TV in the background and instantly know which company has an ad running. Or when we see a simple swoop or color combo and know what business it represents. These instances embody the concept of brand awareness – and it’s powerful.
But understanding the ins and outs of brand awareness is complex, especially for small businesses or ones just getting established. What exactly is brand awareness, how do you build it, and why is it important for your business? Today’s blog post will cover these facets and more.
What is Brand Awareness?
It all boils down to how familiar your target audience is with your company’s brand and how quickly they recognize it. There’s not one simple metric that can measure brand awareness among your audience, but that doesn’t mean it’s not real.
And to add to the confusion, brand awareness can go by many other names – “hot”, “trending”, “popular”, or “buzzworthy.” But what all those terms really mean is that a company and how they represent themselves to the world is memorable and durable.
Why is Brand Awareness Important?
Brand awareness is a big factor in achieving your marketing goals and growing your business. While your business could certainly survive without it, having strong brand awareness among your target audience is very powerful, for a few key reasons.
It builds trust
There are so many businesses trying to sell us things these days. How many times have you seen a tempting ad on Instagram for something that interests you, only to find out it’s from a less-than-reputable website?
That’s why consumers today tend to make time to research and seek out the opinions of their trusted friends and family to find the right product or service for their needs.
Brand awareness offers a shortcut to gaining that trust, which later becomes loyalty. That’s because brand awareness gives your brand a personality and image of its own, allowing you to tell stories to your customers in an authentic and real way.
That’s how we build bonds with each other as humans – and it’s how brands can build a bond too.
It creates a strong association
It’s really hard to create a strong, positive impression of a business in the crowded, marketing-saturated world we live in today.
Just do a quick count of how many places you remember seeing ads in the last week –
- on most apps on your phone
- on a billboard as you drive or on the subway platform
- on the morning news
- as a banner on your favorite website
- on Facebook
- or sometimes even in the supermarket or a cab or a passing bus
All this marketing ends up being a lot to take in, and, in fact, it’s so much that we often just skip right over these ads automatically and tune them out.
But with a strong brand identity and awareness, the company running the ads doesn’t need to get you to remember who they are – you already know, and you are now reminded of them and can possibly listen to their actual message.
Basically, it lets brands skip a step in the marketing process once they’ve achieved enough brand awareness.
It builds brand equity
Sometimes, having very strong brand awareness is actually a negative thing- just ask Enron! That’s not the kind of awareness you want to have. But in most cases, strong brand awareness offers positive brand equity.
That means lots of people have positive experiences with your brand, and they become increasingly aware of it. They start to recognize the brand without assistance, start to prefer it over competitors, and continue purchasing it over many years and recommending it via word of mouth to friends and family.
And this is why brand awareness is so powerful. It establishes your company as a trusted authority, creates and strengthens positive associations, and builds strong brand equity. Brand awareness helps your company become a household name.
Establishing Brand Awareness for Your Small Business
However, building brand awareness takes time. It’s much more than just running a few ads – it requires a strategy separate from making sales. If you want to increase brand awareness, you need to create a lasting impact with your customers and prospects.
Here are a few of the best ways to create a lasting and positive impact for your target audience:
Have a clear voice
In these social media-saturated times, people often connect with brands based on their voice. Your brand needs to be more than just a company that sells goods or services.
- What other things define your company?
- How would you introduce your brand to people who have never heard of it?
- How do you imagine it speaking to people who come across it?
Your brand voice can be informal or businesslike, cheerful or straight-talking, or any variety of other qualities. But it needs to be authentic and distinctive to stand out.
How are you treating your social media accounts right now? Are you just posting bland, business-related content and then logging off? If so, this is a mistake, because you are not making the most of social media. Using it correctly means being able to reach customers where they are.
In today’s marketing world, consumers expect more engagement and authenticity from brands to leave a positive impression. If all you use social media for is asking for sales and business, that’s not very engaging (after all, how would you feel about a personal account that treats you like that?).
Instead, make a concerted effort to post about other things – ask your audience questions about their lives or their days, comment on posts, share content you enjoy. Of course, there’s a line you don’t want to cross here – this isn’t the space for politics or unhinged rants – but the point is to show that your company has actual humans working at it that your consumers can connect with strongly.
A surprisingly huge amount of brand reputation (more than 50%!) comes from online sociability. Don’t miss out on this chance to engage and bond with your customers where they spend a lot of their time – on social media platforms.
Tell a story
Human beings connect deeply to stories. It’s how we organize our world, retain information, and build connections. If your business can tell a vivid, compelling story around your brand, it helps consumers remember and connect to you.
It also helps humanize your brand, which is vital today. People don’t just want to buy from faceless corporations – they want authenticity and humanity.
What kind of story can your business tell about your people, your products and services, or your community?
What kinds of emotions will you bring about by telling your story?
Find out and build your marketing and advertising around those stories to connect with your target audience.
Make shareable content
Running your own marketing campaigns to boost your brand awareness is great.
But to really get results without spending huge amounts of money on ads, make sure all the content your brand creates is shareable. Doing so helps your loyal customers and prospects raise brand awareness for you.
But, where should you start when thinking about shareable content?
Of course, it all begins with creating content that connects with people – by telling a story and using your own, clear voice. Then, ensure you’re making it super simple for people to share. You can do this by including social media share buttons on your blog posts. Or even by adding videos to your website or social media platforms.
Content is a great way for companies to show personality and share opinions and expertise. Consumers today head to the internet when they have a question about pretty much anything – they pull up a video on YouTube, search Google until they find a how-to blog post, or turn on a podcast.
If you’re out there creating content that resonates with those consumers – and telling plenty of stories to build a connection while sharing information – that raises your brand awareness over time.
And when customers connect with your content, they will share it with their networks and your impact is magnified.
Creating Strong Brand Awareness and Brand Recognition
Brand awareness helps your business cut through the noise of the current crowded marketing environment. It creates a feeling of trust between you and your customers – an authentic bond that they remember and rely on when making purchasing decisions for years to come.
One interesting thing to remember about brand awareness – it’s not necessary for every single company to be known and remembered across the nation and the world. In fact, if you’re a niche business or in a small niche industry, you might not have to create brand awareness among a huge amount of people, as long as they’re all in your target audience.
For example, if you run a business providing repairs and service to lobster boats on the East Coast, you don’t need to have brand awareness among people in Chicago – your target market is small, but that can be to your benefit. Get enough positive word-of-mouth among the lobstering communities around you, and your brand awareness there will boom.
A highly engaged small audience can be more powerful than a broad but only moderately engaged one.
Building Brand Awareness with a Marketing Partner
Now you know how critical building strong brand awareness to the success of your business. But do you have time to do it all yourself while running your small business? You’re already wearing plenty of hats, and adding one more to the pile might not be possible.
But you don’t need to forgo the incredible benefits of brand awareness – you just need to work with the right partner who will create a plan for your unique business and help you get real results you can measure.
Schedule a free business review here to find out how we help businesses grow. You can use these insights for inspiration, and let us do the marketing for you.