As a small business owner intent on carving a niche out for yourself, you must create an image for your brand. This is no easy feat, as your brand is not just about a logo but involves making a clear statement about everything you stand for and everything you offer your customers. When you can create a strong brand identity, it becomes easier to increase brand awareness, helping your target audience become more and more familiar with your brand. At StructureM we offer the lowdown on brand awareness with four brand awareness tips to keep your business top of mind.
What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness boils down to one thing: How familiar your target audience is with your company. When you focus on brand awareness, your campaigns are focused on telling the public who you are and making it clear through a consistent presence. This presence exists across all customer touchpoints, from advertising to the look of your emails and from your website to your social media. When you are successful, your customers put your brand to a face, and they feel comfortable dealing with someone they know.
When you increase brand awareness, consumers recognize your brand a mile away. It’s the bitten apple of Apple, the smiling arrow of Amazon, or the primary colors of Google. People see those images and know immediately what brand they are dealing with. The key is finding a way to differentiate yourself from the competition so well; even if the name of your company doesn’t appear, everyone knows it’s you. The earlier you establish brand awareness, the better it is for your business.
Why Should You Care About Brand Awareness?
So why should you care about brand awareness as a small business? First and foremost, when people see something familiar, it helps instill trust. If you can create a presence that allows customers to engage with your brand, you can create a bond that lasts for life. If interactions are fleeting and nondescript, you don’t make an impression, and your brand gets lost. However, when you present a consistent, positive experience at all touchpoints, customers will learn to trust you, and you establish brand loyalty. You need to care about brand awareness because:
You Create a Personality
This might seem silly when talking about your business, but there’s something nice about dealing with a company you know. It’s like walking into a party alone and always searching for a familiar face. When you can create a brand personality, you also create meaningful connections with customers who find the qualities of that personality really resonate with them. It’s about building relationships and trust so they think of you when they need your service or products.
You Become a Noun
Okay, this might sound weird, but here’s what we mean. You know if you have a headache, you reach for an Aspirin, or if you’ve got a runny nose, you ask for a Kleenex, or if you scrape a knee, you need a Band-Aid? Those brands have reached noun status so that generic items such as a bandage or tissue are now called by the brand name instead. That’s epic success for those brands. Now, you might not reach that level of awareness as a small company, but it helps you see how brand awareness can associate your brand with the product or service you offer.
You Build Brand Equity
Brand equity is a direct result of brand awareness done right. It refers to the value the perception of your brand brings to your customers. Brand equity allows you to charge more for your product or service because people view your brand as premium. It can also allow you to expand successfully because people recognize the name. You can open another shop in a cool neighborhood so customers can find you more easily or open another restaurant to expand your delivery reach. When your brand becomes associated with positive experiences, you build brand equity.
You Attract People to You
As you build brand awareness, you can relax because you start to grow an increasingly larger following and loyal customer base. People seek you out instead of you having to beg for attention. You become the popular kid at school everyone wants to be around, and you are the brand people go to when they need to make a purchase. You become their Coke for cola, Amazon for online orders, or Aspirin for headaches. In other words, you become a staple for whatever industry you represent.
4 Steps to Build Brand Awareness
It takes consistency and effort to make an impression on your audience. There are four steps to successful brand awareness and equity:
1. Create a personality that is more human than business
Your brand needs recognizable personality traits just like a person. It’s the traits people love about a co-worker or new friend: They’re so funny. He’s so quirky. They take the environment very seriously. That is so you. What is it that you want your brand to be known for? How do you want people to describe you? You should make a list of the adjectives you would want people to use when talking about you. Are you an interior designer who wants to be sophisticated, fashion-forward, and experienced? An energy drink that wants to be edgy, exciting, and spirited? Or maybe a bamboo sheet company that wants to be sincere, ethical, and down to earth?
2. Become more social
It’s the outgoing people who make the most friends, get the best jobs, and become the most familiar person at school or in the workplace. This is your goal, so you have to become more social. Luckily even if you are shy, this is easier to accomplish, thanks to social media. Using your personality traits, start posting to social media so people can get to know you better. Your objective is not to sell but instead to create connections with real people.
This is where you show people who you are by sharing interesting links likely to interest your audience, making comments that encourage conversations, following your followers and interacting with influencers, so your brand becomes more recognizable. This is not the time to be hard selling your products or services, but instead to slowly introduce yourself in the most influential circles. When done right, people see you as a trusted face that is social, positive, knowledgeable, and associated with all the traits you decided you want people to see in your brand.
3. Tell a story
Create an ongoing narrative to keep people interested. It’s like binge-watching a new Netflix series where you can’t get enough and need to know what happens next. Your marketing should contribute to storytelling with a focus on truth and letting people know your brand is exciting and real. Are you an interesting character worth talking about? Did your products develop from an unusual situation? Did you overcome an impossible obstacle? Is there interest in the team behind the brand? All of these things contribute a new episode to your series.
4. Create shareable content
Continue to build sharable content with blogs, social media posts, videos, podcasts, white papers, and anything else that will resonate with your audience. Sharable content is today’s word of mouth, spreading your brand story further and further.
When you focus on creating a person behind the brand, you connect with people in meaningful ways, become recognizable to build trust and loyalty and create something worth talking about.
It might seem overwhelming to begin the process of developing a marketing plan. Hopefully, these tips from StructureM helped identify some ways to build ROI and accountability into your plan. If you need a little help building a marketing plan, we’re happy to chat.