Apple. Nike. BMW. McDonald’s. Louis Vuitton. These are all household names that the world recognizes. Consumers know their logo, products and mostly associate a specific feeling with those brands- why? Aside from their outstanding products and innovation, these brands arguably have implemented a strong brand strategy and communication, yielding a loyal following of consumers who have already purchased or aspire to purchase when ready.
Why brand awareness matters
What is brand awareness? It’s essentially where consumers recognize or are familiar with your brand, whether it be your messaging, product, or logo. Additionally, brand awareness often sparks a feeling of your audience, whether a positive or negative perspective. Thus, it’s important to practice brand safety when promoting your product or services to maintain a positive experience. Increased (positive) brand awareness is important as it generating and eventually converting leads. The more audience reach and well-known your brand gets, the more likely it’d be that a consumer would buy from your brand.
How effective branding influences interested leads to convert
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you heard of a brand for the first time, it’s not likely that you’d immediately purchase the product, especially the higher the cost is. Like the beginning of any relationship, it takes trust to invest in something new. A 2019 Edelman report shows that 81% of consumers claim that they need to trust a brand before buying from them. To build brand trust, align it along the buyer process; John Dewey introduced that it takes five steps for a consumer to purchase a product or service. Although one would assume that brand awareness only serves steps one to three in the funnel, branding actually serves the entire journey.
Consider HubSpot’s Flywheel model, which appears to be an extension of the traditional buyer journey. Transforming the traditional sales funnel, HubSpot’s flywheel describes the customer’s positive experience as infinite if their positive experience with your brand continues to excel. Instead of straight line, customers don’t end at just that. Happy customers will continue to buy and become promoters or brand ambassadors. This increased loyalty and brand referrals helps your brand awareness grow to attract new audiences. Now that we’ve covered what brand awareness is, let’s look at five steps to effectively grow your brand!
1. Set yourself apart
It’s important to define your identity. So, you’ve got a grand product foundation with excellent service, but what’s your story? Who are you? What are you about? How does your product or business’ mission solve a problem? What is your communication tone? Do you have clear core values? 77% of consumers purchase a brand more than the object itself. For instance, people buy an iPad and not just a tablet, or Beats, not just headphones. Beyond a unique product, consumers at this point buy into your brand, associating emotions or a connection to their identity. How will you set yourself apart?
2. Connect to your (suitable) audience
We as humans love to connect. Whether it be social, professional, or romance, people’s emotions are a driving factor in connecting to one another. This is what should resonate in your brand strategy to grow awareness. Who is your product or service for? Who’s your buyer persona? What problem do you solve, and why should your target group buy from your brand against the various competitors out there? Part of powerful branding is that consumers should connect to a relatable- often emotional- element from your brand. Customer Thermometer’s survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers found that 64% of women and 68% of men have felt an emotional connection with a brand or business. Out of this, the vast majority (91%) of these experiences were positive.
Whether or not a consumer is aware, growing a loyal following of your brand triggers a sense of identity. Take Apple, for instance. Apple often associates their products with “being the best for the best.” An example persona could be Joe, a 30-something expert graphic designer who needs top-notch applications to execute and deliver his high-quality work for his own clients. Meanwhile, Annie, a 40-something year old working mother may find living sustainability while efficiently getting through her day would best relate to an eco-friendly brand like Lettuce Grow.
A Wunderman study revealed that 89% of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values. Your brand serves a greater need beyond a functioning product. As a packaged deal, consumers not only buy products “just to buy” products; people especially buy into a brand these days. With access to researching and comparing competitors online, consumers have full purchasing power. Thus, setting yourself apart from competitors in combination with a great customer experience and product will strengthen your brand’s connection to your target group.
3. Communicate consistently
Consistency is key. With an established brand and a defined target audience, you’re ready to actively start “branding.” From collateral to social media posts, content, pitch decks, advertising, and more, your brand’s message is communicated. At this point, it’s time to be consistent as audience trust and reliability are key. While actively positioning and communicating your brand, be sure to keep up with your brand’s product promise, continuously show how you follow your core values, and listen to your top customers’ feedback. A Facebook study proved that brand loyalty still stands strong as cost, experience, quality, and consistency are the top four qualities people use to describe why they’re loyal to a brand.
Recalling to HubSpot’s Flywheel model, brand awareness follows the entire customer journey, so having a strong brand strategy from start to finish is imperative. Meanwhile, Forbes claims that consistently presenting a brand across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. When positioning your brand, effective communication is key, and what better way than to infiltrate your brand across all existing channels and platforms online? Digital marketing expert Pam Moore claims that it takes 5-7 impressions to even start creating brand awareness. With online content, repeatedly emphasizing your brand message surely helps.
4. Grow your online presence
With nearly 4.7 billion active internet users worldwide, growing your online presence across the web is a powerful way to increase your brand awareness. Of course, traditional brand marketing tactics include events, merch, and billboards. While these initiatives are still powerful to cast a lasting impression, including online advertising and content is a great addition to your marketing mix for ROI success.
For instance, social media alone is a great channel to grow your brand, especially when it comes to users sharing content. We all know that word of mouth is powerful. This translates to HubSpot’s way of identifying happy customers as promoters, which reflect that 62% of consumers share online deals with their friends, let alone brand or product referrals in general. This completely makes sense as there’s a line of trust when people share things they like with friends. This essentially gives you free promotion while growing your reach. Beyond social media, however, there’s programmatic advertising. This not only offers a variety of suitable branded ad formats, but also a competitive advantage of precisely reaching your target group.
Telling a story online
For instance, imagine Instagram’s famous “story” feature. It’s a great branding tool because as an advertiser, you can add various media- static or video- to tell your story. However, this advertising is only limited to the Instagram and Facebook platforms.
Here at plista, we recently launched our own Story Ad product, which enables you to thread and present multiple elements of your brand’s current campaign in just one advertisement. Like Instagram’s story feature, you have creative freedom to tell your story. The advantage? Your displayed Story Ad delivers programmatically across the web with either a vertical or horizontal shape, giving you more range. Even better, through our AI-driven targeting capabilities combined with multiple CTA clickout options, Story Ad appears only on relevant publisher websites, ensuring that you reach the right audience to create a long-lasting branding effect. Plus, with a 30-50% lowered conversion cost, you can focus on your brand message and increase your CTR by up to 38%. If you want to learn more about Story Ad or our other brand-focused ad products, reach out to our experts here.
5. Measure measure measure!
Last, but certainly not least, be sure to measure everything you try out! In a digitalized world, everything is virtually measurable. Be sure to experiment with your branding initiatives, whether it be pushing more video content or optimizing your messaging. You can measure brand awareness with KPIs such as audience reach via blog and/or website visitors, social media post engagement, video views, content reading time, or engagement via clicks, or post shares. Depending on your current goal, you can find the right metrics to measure your brand awareness efforts.