How do you ensure that your company gets awareness? And how do you build brand equity?
Difficult questions to answer if you are, let’s say, a startup no one has ever heard of. As a new player in the field, you are eager to earn back all the costs you had and you would rather buy ads to realize conversions as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is rarely going to work.
First, you will need the target audience to become familiar with your brand and the value you can deliver. In other words, it is important to first create brand awareness. Why? Compare it to a clothing store on a shopping street. When you step into the store, a shop assistant comes out with a t-shirt of her choice asking what you think about it. Would you buy it? You didn’t choose it, nor you know the brand or the shop. Hence, the importance to get to know the brand first: what’s its target audience? What message does the brand convey? Do they give the same t-shirt to a child in a third world country for every purchase? These are all factors affecting the choice to purchase.
“A brand is a personality that identifies a product or service”
1. What is awareness?
Your main goal when promoting your brand is obtaining brand awareness. Brand awareness indicates how familiar the public is with your brand, how well they recognize it and to what extent they associate a product with your brand. If you hear cola, what brand comes to your mind? Undoubtedly, Coca Cola. How powerful can awareness be? Take Jacuzzi, did you know Jacuzzi is not a product, but a brand name? The product is a hot tub, but the brand has become so intrinsically linked to the product that the public calls the product by the brand name. This is what we call a “proprietary eponym”.
We can measure traffic, but emotion is an even better element to track. What feeling does a brand evoke in the user? Sentiments are difficult to measure for a data driven growth hacker, but tools like Talkwalker, Crowdtangle or Sprinklr will come handy. However, from a growth perspective, brand sentiment rarely leads to concrete actions.
2. The importance of brand awareness
In a competitive market, strong brand awareness can be crucial to keep your head above water. Customers have a wide range of products, attention is a rare commodity and it is important to stand out. That is why you have to work with brand awareness. Establishing a strong brand in the initial phases will definitely pay off later on. Recognition creates trust and people are more inclined to purchase a product from a brand they know.
Of course, you can easily do comparative research from your phone, but even then, you wouldn’t quickly opt for an alternative, if the product you know solves your problem. A well-known brand gives you security, confidence and convenience. Reviews don’t even matter, because experience made you an expert. Brand awareness gives your brand a personality. You create an image showing that the brand is genuine, open to feedback and that it tells a story. These are the very same characteristics friendships are built on. The relationship between two people and the one between a brand and one person does not differ much in that respect.
3. Brand awareness and brand value
The brand value of a product is determined by the experiences that customers have had with a brand and the customer’s perception of the product’s value. If the experiences and perception are positive, then the brand value is also positive. The same goes for the opposite.
A positive brand value brings enormous benefits, it can make the sales price go up for a larger margin, while the product has remained exactly the same. And because the brand value has risen, the shares skyrocket too. Brand awareness is to thank. Another advantage is the opportunity to expand your product range. These products will get the same benefits with no extra cost. The brand value within them has been built up before. The last advantage has to do with the social aspect. A higher brand value leads to a sought-after product and a sought-after product increases enthusiasm.
When collecting and growing brand value, it all comes down to generating brand awareness and continuously highlighting positive experiences.
Think of Apple, every conference where the latest iPhone is introduced will start with a list of successes achieved: “The Apple Store has reached X billion downloads and the Apple Watch sells better than Swiss luxury brands like Rolex, Cartier and Omega combined.” We are responding to the positive experiences here, and the social aspect too is indirectly triggered by this. Something that sells well is apparently popular and you don’t want to be left behind. Third, the comparison with the Swiss watch brands is interesting. An Apple Watch is in a completely different price segment, but the comparison makes it look like Apple does better than these top brands. The brand value of these luxury watches is very high, by claiming that you do better than them, you influence your brand value positively.
As soon as the consumer is aware of a brand, the product is recognized in the street, shop windows and advertisements. There is an intention to purchase the product, and they pay less attention to the products of the competition. Loyalty is created, and not only it ensures that one consumer makes more purchases, but that the same consumer becomes a brand ambassador. In other words, they talk about the product and may make recommendations to their family, friends and acquaintances.
You now have a better understanding of why brand awareness is so important. It creates trust with your customers, creates positive associations and brand value.
4. How do you achieve brand awareness?
Running a marketing campaign is not enough, it takes a long time. A thorough brand awareness approach requires multiple activities that are not just about sales. Otherwise, the consumer only focuses on the product and not on the brand of the product itself. Make sure that the following elements are reflected in your brand awareness strategy: let your company become human, socialize, tell your story, make sharing easy.
- Let your company become human
When you interact with someone, you want to get to know that person. You want to hear where they come from, where they live, their hobbies and what they like or not. This is the same idea you want to give about your organization. To really leave an impact with the consumer, you have to give your organization these values. Otherwise, you are just a company that sells something, no different from a thousand others. How would you describe yourself if you had to sell “your brand” to a friend?
It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert person, all people can take advantage of human contact and spend time together. By staying in touch with each other you learn new things and you get to know each other better. The same goes for brands. You don’t just want your friends to call you when they need help. And you don’t want a business to contact you only when they want to sell something. Make sure that your brand is present online on the social media channels. Post content that is not directly related to your product. Try to use your social media accounts to interact with your target audience: answer questions, create dialogue and share posts you like.
Storytelling also contributes to the humanizing of your company. Telling stories is something unique that only people do, with the aim of building a social world. Stories used to be necessary for survival, and they have been told for as long as humanity has existed. They make you find out who you are, where you come from, allow you to pass on your values to the next generation and discover new opportunities. Telling authentic, recognizable stories leads to a deeper connection with the consumer.
- Make sharing easy
Make sure that everything your company makes in terms of content is easy to share. Whether it’s product pages or video productions, if it’s easy to distribute, you’re good to go. After all, word of mouth’s power is enormous. Confidence is much higher when a product is recommended by a friend than by a company.
5. Awareness in a nutshell
Awareness is the first step of the funnel and is something you should always be doing while you work on increasing the loyalty of existing users, not instead of it. It is not specifically about brand awareness but it is the main goal you want to achieve before diving further into the other stages. The funnel is mainly about the methods you apply to obtain that brand awareness, read the 19 traction channels blog to know more about ways to raise awareness.