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What is brand awareness, what does brand awareness do and how do you increase it?

Brands are powerful. They represent a company, its ideals and what it stands for in the minds of consumers. The goal of any business is to get people talking about them – not just through their products but also with word-of-mouth marketing, customer reviews, influencer campaigns and more. That’s where brand awareness comes in: when you have more than just one person discussing your product or service then you’re likely on your way to achieving that goal! In this article, we explore what is brand awareness, what does brand awareness do, and offer some tips on how you can increase it.

What is brand awareness?

Person standing outside a Huge Boss shopEvery strong and successful company should be aiming to develop a brand. A brand encompasses all the aspects we think of when we think of those big successful companies – not just their logo or strapline, but their ethos, what they stand for, who buys from them and how they communicate, both to their consumers and about themselves to the wider world.

A brand is what distinguishes one company in a marketplace from another and it’s usually built on a USP – or unique selling point. Raising brand awareness, therefore, is about connecting with people on an emotional level and making them think of your company, its ideals and what it offers when they have a specific need for a product or service.

What does brand awareness do?

Brand awareness underpins all marketing activity, from posting on your blog to being active on social channels, as well as digital advertising (PPC) and outbound marketing such as TV and magazine ads, direct mail and more. Whatever the activity, you likely want the audience to know who’s behind it.

However, if you’re just starting your company or looking to expand into new markets, you might also want to put together a specific brand awareness campaign, targeted solely at getting your name, logo and USP out there as opposed to just providing information or trying to convert leads into customers.

Your branding should reflect what you stand for and who you are as an organisation, so it’s essential that your brand identity appeals to your customers and in turn inspires them. You want people to recognise your logo or name and associate it with something positive – their experience when using one of your products, the way you make a difference in the community or even just how helpful and efficient they find dealing with you when they need something.

The signs that you’re being successful in your brand awareness campaign include an increase in website traffic, leads and social media engagement. You will start to notice people signing up to your email newsletter, registering enquiries with you, interacting with your social content and attending your events, both online and in-person.

Of course, the real pay off is when you truly become a competitive player in your market and consumers begin to choose you over other providers.

So now you know what brand awareness is and what it does, how do you increase it?

How to increase brand awareness in 7 steps with a brand awareness strategy

In order to drive brand awareness, it’s important to put together a brand awareness strategy. This will cover a range of aspects to ensure you know who your competitors are in your market, where your target audience is and how to reach them. You can then put together a plan of activity including paid but also organic content which will be created on a regular basis across a range of channels.

Steps to increase brand awareness include…

1. Publish quality content often

Over the shoulder shot of someone using laptop and phone for social media marketingThis should be done with the purpose of increasing your audience’s knowledge and interest in your company or organisation, including why they should buy from you and not someone else.

For example, write blog posts that include new information and insight into your industry or how you work with clients. Include valuable videos from experts in the field who share your values so you can spread them through your networks by sharing links or embedding them onto your own site.

Building up your personal and company profile is an important aspect of content marketing. Being active on social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter will help show people what you do and will build trust among potential customers.

2. Find out what makes your audience want to connect with a company

This means finding out about their values and how you meet those. Once you know this then it becomes easier to understand how best to communicate with them, including times of the day, personalisation, specific language and what channels they use. Once you know that, you can pitch your brand awareness campaign at them for the best results.

Above all, however, Facebook and Google discovered that:

“The right message accounts for 80% of a campaign’s success. A company without a brand or brand message simply cannot succeed.”

That means making sure you make your brand’s identity clear in all your activity and do not deviate from the central message.

3. Encourage engagement

An effective way to increase your brand awareness is by running competitions, giveaways and promotions. One of the most popular social media campaigns is to offer prizes or discounts for those who sign up for a newsletter or visit your website. However, you might want to consider offering something special which only those people in your network can access – such as an exclusive discount code just for followers on Facebook. This will incentivise people not only to sign up but also follow you and engage with you online more often.

4. Pay for advertising

If you want to quickly get noticed then investing in some paid advertising is the best way to do it, with brand awareness able to be increased by up to 80% with Google Ads. There are a number of platforms where you can advertise your business for as little as $1/£2 per click, such as the aforementioned Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. These tools will make sure that your brand is seen by the right people at just the right time. With over 3.5 billion searches every day on Google alone, there’s no better place to start than this popular search engine.

This is much more cost-effective than traditional TV, radio or print advertising, but these still have a place, as do things like banner advertising and car wraps, particularly if you want to target a local area.

5. Sponsor an event or use influencers

An easy way to get your name out there is to sponsor an event, competition, or blog content. Sponsorship can help you align yourself with specific values and causes that you feel passionate about.

Influencers are another way to increase your brand awareness as they have a strong following that can help spread the word about your business to people who might not be aware of it otherwise. Make sure they have a strong following and brand themselves, however, and that they are relevant to your products and respected by your target audience. Partnering with the wrong event or individual can cause more harm than good to your reputation.

6. Do publicity

Publicity can help generate buzz about your business. This could include being featured in a magazine or newspaper article or interviewed on a TV show. Press releases are another good option if you want to publicise your company without spending much money, just make sure that you have something newsworthy or relevant to say about your company (such as a new innovative product or technique, or a new launch).

7. Offer something for free!

Everyone loves a freebie, and no matter what your business, there are ways to offer this. Whether it’s a free trial, a discount voucher, a branded promotional item or a free ad-supported version of a paid tool you sell (also known as a freemium model), it’s worth thinking about how you can entice more customers to try you out to see what you’re about before they commit.

By offering something for nothing you’ll be getting the word out about your business and (if done well) you’ll find that people will begin to associate your name with quality goods, great service and value for money. As more people know about you they’re also likely to recommend you to their friends, family or professional network too – a great way to make an impact!

How to measure brand awareness

Over the folder shot of Instagram feedSo now you know how to put together a brand awareness strategy but how do you measure the success of your brand awareness campaign?

There are a number of ways. One is using traditional digital marketing metrics like website traffic, social media engagement and how much word-of-mouth referrals have increased. Make sure you set a goal before you start, for example, increasing your number of followers or signups by X%.

You can also track customer intent – for example if more people are going online to buy products in your industry then this may be because they’ve seen your company or products in their feed.

Customer satisfaction with the brand can also be tracked via monitoring the number of sales made and the trend of repeat custom. It’s also worth noting that customer feedback such as reviews and ratings is another valuable metric, especially if it is positive.

Similarly, loyalty to your brand is a great way to show you are not only improving brand awareness but that customers think you offer something a competitor doesn’t. You can measure this by seeing whether customers are likely to recommend your products or services, tracked via referral discount codes and links in e-mails for instance.

Social media engagement, new follows and mentions also helps track how aware customers are of your brand, as well as those using your hashtags or responding to your posts.

Brand awareness is the key to growth

The power of a brand is the ability to build a positive emotional connection with your customer. Your goal is to create a brand so strong that customers see you as the standout choice in your market – which means you need to build awareness at every opportunity as it truly is the key to growth. Now you have a grasp of the basics, it’s time to put a strategy together, get out and start building awareness of your brand today!

Header image: Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Embedded images: Jules D. on Unsplash, Austin Distel on Unsplash, Erik Lucatero on Unsplash

Wendy Woodhead

Wendy is the Account Director at Copify and a qualified copywriter and proofreader. She has spent six years copy editing and copywriting for B2B and B2C clients and has experience in freelance and in-house arts marketing and digital content creation. Wendy likes to write about language and literature, digital marketing, history, current affairs, and arts and culture. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, reading and writing fiction.

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