The simplest way to explain brand awareness is to link it to very common scenarios: when you don’t know something and you decide to Google it or when you need an energy drink and Red Bull is normally your first choice, that’s when you know a company has worked on their brand awareness. It’s the familiarity people have with brands and how easily they think about it, recognise it and, effectively, are aware of it. Most importantly, it is what gets prospective customers to buy your product or service and what makes existing ones unconsciously come back time after time.
Brand awareness is telling people who you are and what you do in a way that encourages trust and loyalty. People will go for your product or service, not because you can sell it better than the competition, but because they feel as if they personally know your brand and feel inclined to buy it without you even having to do much to convince them. When trying to grow your business and make more people aware of your product or service, there are some very important steps to bear in mind. Here are some of them:
1. Brand awareness is the very first step into the customer’s journey
We all know that what businesses that provide a service or product want is to, ultimately and quite understandably, well… sell. However, your customers don’t want to feel as though they are simply a means to reach that end goal. For a person to reach the conversion point - a.k.a. selection - stage of the customer journey funnel, they need to firstly feel they can trust your brand. They need to hear about your brand repeatedly so it can be embedded into their minds.
That way, when the time comes for them to choose someone in the market to buy that particular product or service from, they are likely to choose you. Always remember: sales are the very last stage of the customer journey and there are many things you have to do in the middle to bring your audience to that point.
2. Keep a presence on social media
At a time when 50% of brand reputation comes from online sociability, a company that has a strong presence on social media platforms is more likely to become known by different audiences as visibility is created. A big misconception of social media usage is that it is just a tool to advertise your product. Yes, it definitely can be. However, the name is quite self-explanatory: it is meant to be social. In fact, Facebook for instance, tends to suppress the reach of posts if it realises that you are trying to advertise your product or service without setting up proper paid ads. (Well, that’s how Mark Z. makes his money, peeps!)
So, the biggest tip here is: use your social media to engage and socialise with your audience. Humanise your brand and make people see it as a person rather than just a product. Treat your social platforms as if you were trying to make friends and not make business and business alone. Create an approachable persona for your brand and make sure you come up with content that your audience can relate to (perhaps even something to bring out a few smiles and giggles?) You might want to use storytelling as way to be closer to your audience or positive messages that don’t necessarily say “Buy my product/service”. People tend to naturally tune out if they see lots of advertising posts pop up on their newsfeed and scroll right past them. And that’s the exact opposite of creating good brand awareness.
3. Build equity based on your brand awareness
Brand equity is the brand’s value according to customer experiences and overall perception of your brand. If the general result is positive, chances are you can adjust your prices based on it and there will be more possibilities of expanding your business. So, the more people choose you over the competition, the more you can gradually start charging more for your services/products as people are normally willing to pay the price for what they feel is reliable and worth their money.
4. Word-of-mouth is still a powerful tool
Let’s face it, in this digital world, word-of-mouth can be pretty underrated. But it’s incredibly powerful! Would you go for something you’ve never heard of or something that’s been recommended by a friend or a family member? You’d surely go for the latter. And that’s why word-of-mouth can be extremely helpful when it comes to brand awareness. So, make sure you make it extra easy for your content to be shared online so more people can have access to it.
Whatever product or service you provide, always keep in mind that your customers should never be treated as sales figures. You first need to create relationships based on trust in order to get to the conversion stage and brand awareness is an essential step in leading customers to that point.