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5 ways to increase brand awareness

Nike, Google, and Target—these are just a few of the many brand names that have embedded themselves into our everyday lives and buying habits. When brands are memorable and recognizable, customers don’t have to think twice  about becoming a repeat customer. They are loyal to the brand based on the trust and affinity they have built up over time.

Iconic brands have become so beloved by customers and known to all that they are easily and instantly recognizable.  When we see the golden arches, we automatically think of McDonald's. The red bullseye says Target, without having to say “Target.” Seen the latest Dorito bag? They’ve been around for so long and have gained such a presence that they don’t even have to write their name on the bag of chips any longer. However, when you see the red bag, you know it’s the nacho cheese flavor. If you see the blue bag, then you know to associate that with the cool ranch flavor.

While it takes a considerable amount of time and money to create the level of brand awareness the likes of McDonalds, Target, and Doritos, there are ways for companies of any size within any sector to increase brand awareness and the benefits that come with it. The more recognizable your brand becomes in a positive way, the better potential you have at retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.

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Increasing brand awareness is a multifaceted process and sometimes requires you to promote simultaneously. Ultimately, if you want to build a stronger brand presence, then you have to use as many resources available to you to make sure that your audience knows about you and trusts your brand.  Here are five steps to making it happen:

1. Advertising

Advertising is the vehicle that drives the brand. Essentially, it educates the public about the product or service that your company provides, but also gives personality to the brand. This builds trust between the consumer and your company. No one wants to begin a relationship without being able to recognize the other party involved. Branding is the same way. Through advertising, consumers learn about your company and services provided, but it also builds familiarity. 

Using key performance indicators (KPIs) help to determine which channel is most effective and which are a supporting role. Paid search campaigns have proven to be helpful when building a brand, because it helps to track the success of your campaign. 

Companies can create campaigns to capture people’s attention and connect with people about the causes they care about. Younger audiences are easier to connect with via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. A 2018 study showed that younger audiences remembered more ads via social media than any other form of advertising. This has given companies an opportunity to create some form of social change and reach those younger audiences by discussing the topics that are relatable and relevant to their own.

Measure the effectiveness of your advertising with brand awareness surveys.

2. Referral Programs

Referral programs are a great way to spread awareness about your brand by using current customers to promote by word of mouth. Referral programs essentially encourage current customers to tell their friends and family about their great experience with your brand. If they do, then they typically will receive some sort of incentive. This incentive can be cash, a major discount on certain products or services, or access to an app or program that the customer would have had to pay otherwise.

Koodo Mobile, a wireless home phone service provider, created a program whereby the referrer receives $25 off of their first tab. Additionally, those who were referred receive $25 off of their first bill. Through this program, Koodo Mobile reduced the cost spent on customer acquisition by 167% and had a return on investment 10 times what it was in 2019.

Another example of a referral program comes from the wireless carrier T-Mobile, which took a unique approach to driving more referrals. T-Mobile offered current and new customers the opportunity to own shares in the company. Referrers could earn one share for every successfully activated line. While those who were referred could earn one T-Mobile stock after being referred and staying with the carrier for 15 days. 

While this program was quietly discontinued, it did allow for the company to receive much media attention. This media coverage provided an opportunity for the CEO to discuss other referral programs that the company has, including a $50 MasterCard.

Not only do referral programs assist with bringing in new customers by encouraging current customers to spread the word, but they also save companies from overspending in customer acquisition.

Build brand equity and retain more customers. Get resources to help. 

3. Events

Long ago companies figured out that events that attracted crowds or were televised were prime territory for promoting their brand. Brand names show up on everything from large signs and electronic scoreboards to t-shirts, banners and/or water bottles.

However you decide to sponsor an event will help to get your brand in front of a larger number of people, who could be potential customers and supporters of your company. It also connects your company with that event, and sends the message that your brand’s values and interests are aligned. Sponsoring the right event could help increase your brand in a number of ways. First, a sign of goodwill between the sponsor and the event organizer. Everyone involved in the event will be grateful for the sponsorship and in return would show gratitude, by giving thanks during the event as well as on social media, for example. 

Next, sponsorship will enhance public relations within the community. Community responsibility is one of the goals that many brands strive to achieve, because if the community supports your brand, then others will follow. Examples of some events that brands can sponsor include podcasts, webinars, and hosting Q & A events with top industry leaders. Other examples include sponsoring a sporting event or performing arts. To connect with a greater cause, some brands may sponsor nonprofit and charitable events as well. 

Whichever event(s) you choose to sponsor, be mindful of how your brand will be perceived by your audience. If the event is controversial or has the potential to become overly political, you likely want to steer clear. 

4. Social media

Through the use of social media, companies are now in a position to promote and advertise themselves on their own platforms. They are able to reach larger audiences and show themselves in a way that commercials and billboard ads are unable to do. For instance, companies can take their time in explaining the significance of their product and why consumers should purchase it, through a series of social media posts. This also builds a relationship between the company and the consumer. 

What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘organic?’ If natural was one of the words that you thought of, then you are on to something. Organic social media happens naturally, and doesn’t require any form of payment. In other words, companies do not have to pay for organic social media because it uses free tools to engage and interact with their online followers. 

There are many benefits to organic social media, such as being able to engage and communicate with followers directly. When companies engage with their followers, it builds trust and loyalty within those followers, because they know that they are communicating with a real person, and not just a bot. 

While organic social media is a great and useful method to connect with audiences, paid social media is often needed to reach even more people and targeted audiences. Here, companies pay for advertising and social media posts to be displayed on other social media networks.

But why would you pay for social media advertising instead of focusing exclusively on organic social media? First, let’s establish that organic and paid social media work together to achieve the same goal. Paid social media can be used to reinforce the values and messaging that was delivered on organic social media. Furthermore, paid social media allows companies to establish specific metrics that target a certain audience, and will then allow companies to analyze this information. One example of this is Google Analytics. 

Another social media strategy that is growing in importance is influencer social media content. This is a type of social media strategy that uses mentions and endorsements from influencers, or people who have a huge following. Not only that, but influencers are also considered to be “experts” in their field and therefore are trusted by their followers. So when an influencer mentions your company product on their platform, their followers will more than likely respond by trying the product out themselves. 

How are influencers thinking about your branding and brand identity? Get steps for helping you find out.

5. Content

A picture is worth a thousand words, but strong content tells a story. Content helps with branding because it helps customers learn more about the qualities and specifications of your brand. It is what separates your brand from your competitors. There are several types of content that help with building a stronger brand. Here are a few:

Free content

This is a fun way to build your brand because it gives you the chance to create and shape the narrative of your company. Here, you can give your brand some personality and share opinions that will help you to connect better with your audience. According to HubSpot, these are two major components that bring your brand to life by personifying and humanizing your brand. Additionally, free content allows you to connect with your audience in an authentic way by using various platforms to do so.

Freemium content 

When in the early stages of building your brand or trying to sell a new product, it probably isn’t the best idea to begin with asking your audience to pay for something. Instead, you may want to start by offering a free sample or, if an online product, offer access to the product for a limited time, at no cost to them. This is known as freemium content, and this would be considered the bait to reel your audience into getting to know your brand and your company.

We see this happen often with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu where new customers are allowed a trial period to test out the basic or cheapest service before making the decision to purchase it or any of the premium add-on features. SurveyMonkey itself is a good example of the freemium model where you can use its basic tools for free, but our most robust features are available on paid plans.

We also see this in grocery stores, when employees hand out samples of a new food or dish. If the customer likes it, he/she will be more inclined to purchase it in the near future. By doing this, sends a message to your audience saying that their needs are the first priority of your company. It also shows that although your company needs money to survive, money isn’t the main concern of the company.  

Blogs

Considered to be one of the most efficient ways to build your brand, blogs give your brand a personality. Since blogs can be written informally, you can use a tone that better connects with your audience. It also gives you an avenue to build trust with your audience by providing them with your expertise. 

Videos

Videos are great because they tell a visual story. Here, you can get creative and include some unedited footage, interviews with top executives, or use pictures to describe your brand or product.

Infographics

Another great way to engage with your audience, infographics are visually appealing, easy to follow and understand, and audiences tend to find them more enjoyable to read than any other article. Studies have shown that 94% of blog posts with visuals receive more engagement. 

Guest content

You are the biggest advocate for your brand, but validation from others helps to increase your presence and to get your name out there. Therefore, you will need to research content that welcomes guests and create a pitch to that author explaining why your content should be featured on their website or social media platform.

 Start raising (brand) awareness now

Ultimately, brand awareness is important throughout every aspect of business. Furthermore, brands build relationships between new and existing customers with the company providing the service or product.

Need more help identifying your audiences or creating in-depth market research? Check out SurveyMonkey Audience.

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