Wondering how to increase brand awareness? Ready to embark on a brand awareness campaign? Here we explore why brand awareness is a crucial pillar of growth – and the secrets to enhancing brand awareness for business success.
The ‘why’ of brand awareness campaigns
So, what is brand awareness – and why is everyone talking about it more than ever? In simple terms, brand awareness is how familiar a target audience is with your brand:
The ideal scenario? In competitive markets, brand recognition and top-of-mind awareness are the holy grail. That’s when your brand is the first that comes to a target audience’s minds when thinking about a particular product or service category.
Think about some particular brands that have become household names: Google, Kleenex, Thermos – even Bubble Wrap! Although not all brands want to attain this level of genericisation (when, according to Business Insider, the brand name becomes a generic class of product itself), it speaks to the power of strong brand awareness.
Far from a “fluffy” concept, enhancing brand awareness has a real business impact. It’s the essential step to building brand loyalty and credibility – which can’t happen until you are known and recognised.
Done right, brand awareness translates to trust. That has a serious competitive advantage when it comes to generating leads and conversations – and, ultimately, will influence the decisions of people and businesses when they choose products, suppliers and partners.
Strong and positive brand awareness generates word-of-mouth marketing – and can also help businesses and brands expand product lines (or enter new markets) with the benefit of existing recognition.
And there are dangers in not actively and consistently striving for brand awareness. Research by SoftwareReviews highlights that “brands neglecting to cultivate awareness often grapple with issues such as limited visibility, ineffective reach to the target audience, low digital engagement, and challenges justifying premium pricing”.
How to increase brand awareness
Let’s look at 10 proven strategies to enhance brand awareness – and build your brand value. The good news? These days, there are tools for every business size and budget.
#1 A strong brand identity
A strong, clear and cohesive brand identity will underpin and enhance brand awareness. It’s about making choices that are perfect for your brand (and how you want it to be perceived) and keeping them consistent, always. That includes everything from your logo and colour palette to your print and online designs and packaging. But it doesn’t stop there.
A consistent personality (and ‘brand voice’) must shine through your messaging, communication and interactions. It may vary slightly in tone, depending on the channel, but your compass is always the same. Like everything that makes up your brand identity, it is born from your target audience and your values – and should imprint itself in the minds of customers and prospects.
When brand identity is inspired by strategy – and executed with skill – it will generate recognition and memorability, as well as a distinctive look and feel in ever-growing markets. It also means that, over time, your brand will be easily identified by just a few visual cues – and quickly recognised no matter what the channel (print, poster or social media platforms, for example).
In the words of Alina Wheeler, branding expert and author of Designing Brand Identity:
Brand identity fuels recognition, amplifies differentiation and makes big ideas and meaning accessible. Brands are messengers of trust. Customers are reassured by brands that are recognisable and familiar. Great brand strategy is a basic building block of good business strategy.
Anchorsafe helps building owners and managers to work safer and smarter while minimising long-term risks and liabilities. Years ago, its brand identity didn’t reflect its professionalism, comprehensive offering and true client value. A complete rebrand took it from a product supplier to a specialist advisor and manager. At its heart, Anchor Safe injects continuous safety and ease. Armed with a fresh brand strategy and identity, a full suite of new marketing collateral, and a smart marketing campaign, the company is going from strength to strength. This transformation is a clear example of increasing brand awareness through focused brand building efforts.
#2 Content marketing
Content marketing is a powerful tool for building brand awareness – and a relationship with your audience. According to the Content Marketing Institute:
The beauty of content is that it can be applied across multiple channels: blog posts, articles, infographics, and videos across print, websites and social media channels. And it is proven to pay its way (and more): with research showing that content marketing costs 60% less than traditional marketing and generates three times more leads. Such effectiveness is crucial in creating brand awareness and engaging new audiences.
#3 Social media engagement
A branch of content marketing, a social media presence is now a non-negotiable tool to enhance brand awareness. If you’re not there, your competitors almost certainly are! Depending on your brand (and where your target audience spends its scrolling time), platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube and LinkedIn can drastically expand your reach and exposure.
Remember, you don’t have to be everywhere, all the time. Your digital and social media strategy should integrate with your overall marketing strategy – while delivering content and creative that engages, captivates and connects. Stand-out images, great graphics, infographics and videos matched with thoughtfully crafted, timely and relevant content (including hashtags): they all help create an ever-growing list of followers who are also loyal customers. Use trending topics, engage with followers – and consider establishing a brand partnership or engage in influencer marketing to connect with a larger audience, attract new customers and increase brand visibility.
Social media should be guided by a plan, supported by an ever-evolving schedule, and constantly monitored and refined to remain fresh, relevant and effective. This approach is a cornerstone of an effective brand awareness strategy, ensuring your efforts in social media marketing are aligned with increasing brand awareness and strengthening customer loyalty.
#4 Email marketing
When it comes to brand awareness campaigns, email is the gift that keeps on giving. Despite the proliferation of new and evolving channels, email has remained a reliable and highly effective way to connect with customers, drive brand awareness and deliver ROI. In fact, 85% of eCommerce marketers say their primary objective with email is to increase brand awareness. (HubSpot Blog, 2023)
Email’s benefits are many: particularly the ability to tailor messages to different groups of subscribers (who have opted in) based on their interests, behaviours, and preferences. The possibilities are also endless: share updates, exclusive offers and promotions, customer stories and testimonials, and valuable content. The objective is to engage, engage, engage – and drive traffic, enquiries and sales.
The best email marketing needs a skilled and focused approach. Use compelling subject lines, ensure consistent branding and well-designed templates, prioritise clarity and brevity (with links for more information), and include clear calls-to-action. Effective email strategies are key in raising brand awareness and enhancing the customer journey while you start to raise brand awareness.
And the final jewel in the crown of email marketing? Its effectiveness can be easily tracked and measured, providing a detailed understanding of how people are interacting with your emails. The investment in this channel is crucial for understanding important brand awareness metrics and refining strategies for growing brand awareness.
According to a HubSpot blog: the facts speak for themselves, including:
Incorporating referral programs into email campaigns can further boost brand awareness, leveraging the network of existing customers to reach new potential clients.
At Mariart, we work with brands like Playground Centre and Urban Effects to create highly targeted email campaigns, segmented by audience. Analytics measure success and allow for refinement and constant improvement – with metrics including open rates, click rates, downloads, most effective campaigns and most engaged sectors.
#5 Paid advertising
For some brands, it works to utilise both an organic (free) content plan and paid advertising campaigns during popular sales periods – especially if they need to drive awareness and convert prospects, faster. Social media marketing is typically a cost-effective option to provide an immediate and targeted boost to brand visibility. It is critical that paid advertising is used strategically – whether online, offline or both – as part of a wider brand and marketing strategy.
Using advertising campaigns in this way can significantly enhance the brand’s awareness among its target market. It’s important to ensure that the messaging aligns with the brand values and creates positive associations with your brand. This strategic approach to paid advertising helps in measuring brand awareness more effectively, as metrics and insights are baked directly into the social media platforms. Having up-to-date data on these marketing efforts within a dedicated business manager is one of the best ways to measure brand awareness of your product or service.
Partnering with other brands can provide a mutually beneficial, and cost-effective, boost in brand awareness. Campaigns and collaborations (including sponsorships) can extend your audience reach and help you break into new markets. The key is to choose partners whose values align with yours, and ensure ‘win-win’ benefits for all.
Examples include BMW and Louis Vuitton uniting for a co-branding campaign called “The Art of Travel” and Starbucks & Spotify teaming up for the “First-of-Its-Kind Music Ecosystem”. However, it’s not just big brands that can benefit from co-marketing opportunities. According to Inside Small Business:
Partnerships can play an important role in an SME’s marketing strategy. If you find the right partner, they can offer an efficient and effective way to reach new customers and can work at all stages of the marketing funnel. Partners also bring trust and credibility to their audience, which SMEs can leverage and build upon.
Inside Small Business
#7 Host events and seminars
Events and seminars are great ways to increase brand visibility, generate leads, and position your brand as a leader in its field or market. Today, they can be held in person or online, with webinars and live events providing more ease and flexibility than ever. No matter how you do it, they provide unique opportunities to engage with your target audience on a personal level, start conversations, create impressions and build lasting connections. A beneficial by-product is the content generated, which can be repurposed for blog posts, social media and more.
#8 User-generated content (UGC)
More and more, user-generated content is being hailed as an incredibly economical and effective method for enhancing brand awareness and authenticity while often boosting search engine optimisation. UGC is original content, related to your brand, that is created by customers and published on social media or other channels. It can include images, videos, social media posts and updates, reviews (including on third-party sites), and Q&A forums. Running social media contests or campaigns that involve users are great ways to generate buzz and increase your brand’s online presence.
#9 Monitoring, measurement and analytics
You know what they say: If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. It is essential to regularly monitor the effectiveness of brand awareness strategies – to identify trends, measure your impact, make smart decisions and ensure ROI. There are a variety of tools to provide insights: from surveys and questionnaires to social media analysis (or “social listening”) and web analytics (including tracking, referrals and conversion rates). It’s also crucial to keep a vigilant eye on competitor activity across all channels.
#10 Finally, always be guided by your brand awareness strategy
Operating without clear brand and marketing strategies – built on business strategy – will result in brand confusion, dilution or worse: negative brand connotations. Successfully enhancing brand awareness and connection means starting with a well-defined brand, clear guidelines and concrete objectives.
Brand awareness is really the start of the customer (and conversion) journey – that will ultimately (and ideally) lead to purchase and loyalty. So make sure you start right.
Want to work with experienced brand builders, who can help get your brand ‘out there’ – and drive meaningful marketing, compelling creative and sustained returns? We love helping clients go beyond ‘scattergun’ marketing: for clear and consistent cut-through in a saturated market.