We don’t need to tell you that it is a tough exercise increasing brand awareness. After all, 89% of marketers claim brand awareness is their top goal. But what we can tell you, that you might not already know, are some strategies you can implement to increase brand awareness. These strategies have been tried and tested by companies worldwide. Have a read and find something new to help you reach your brand awareness goals. Have a read and find something new to help you reach your brand awareness goals.
Ways to Increase Brand Awareness
1. Partner with companies that emit trust
Some brands have worked really hard to get to where they are. Think of any big name like Toyota, Apple, or Nivea. Everyone knows these brands and most find them trustworthy. Why not leverage their strong presence to push your brand out there as well?
Claudi & Fin are a food company selling Greek-style frozen yogurt lollies. A small business on a budget, they decided to delve into brand collaborations on various social media channels. One of their most successful means of collaboration has been Facebook competitions as they find them “an inexpensive way to reach lots of people, build great relationships with other brands and they are also very targeted.”
Claudi & Fin have increased their brand awareness using this tactic and this can be seen clearly in their campaigns. For instance, the brand teamed up with Little Dish to give away a package of food from both brands. Just 9 hours after the competition was launched, the post had a reach of 3,630, and roughly 100 likes and 50 shares. This post performed 95% better than other posts on their page.
If your brand has the opportunity to work with a well-known and trusted brand, take it. People will start to associate your brand with a known one, and if they find this brand trustworthy, then most likely they will also think the same about yours. For instance, if someone sees your brand in partnership with Apple, that person will feel more at ease buying from you because you are now somehow “validated”. The end goal is that when they think of Apple, something in their brain will trigger and think of your brand too. This association will help increase your brand awareness.
Also, big companies have thousands of employees. Those are people who are now aware of your brand, and perhaps potential clients of yours. Double win!
But don’t restrict yourself to just doing partnerships with big companies (which can be hard to get). Smaller brands will also have access to people who don’t already know who you are. The main thing is to ensure you chose the right counterpart: a brand offering a product or service complementary to yours or one that offers something that you don’t. Back in 2006, J.C. Penny Co. began opening Sephora concessions in their department stores to attract younger consumers. By 2016 there was a Sephora in more than 1,000 locations nationwide. Other department stores have followed suit, including Manor in Switzerland and Galeria Kaufhof in Germany. By collaborating with Sephora, these department stores opened themselves up to a clientele who may not have been previously aware of them.
2. Make the most of influencer marketing
Love it or hate it, influencer marketing is going nowhere in 2020. Especially if your brand is targeting a younger age range. A 2020 study by Econsultancy on influencer marketing reported that “61% of consumers, aged 18 to 34, have at some point been swayed in their decision-making by digital influencers.”
Now, there is a catch-22 in influencer marketing. Naturally, if you are using it to increase brand awareness, you want to partner with the influencers who have the biggest following. However, that is not necessarily going to bring you the most value. In an age where authenticity is valued most in retail, micro-influencers are the way to go. They may have a lower reach but, according to that same Econsultancy post, “Micro-influencers overtake top-tier talent, and 61% of consumers say they produce the most relatable content”. If you are going to increase brand awareness, increase positive brand awareness.
Mini Case Study: Zara
In 2019, Zara experienced the benefits of using micro-influencers for their campaigns. The fashion brand launched the #DearSouthAfrica campaign to coincide with the official opening of their online store in South Africa. The day before the big launch, Zara was the only top trending name globally, thanks to the highly-engaged audiences that micro-influencers usually have. The hashtag, which was trending at number 6, reached 6.25 million people worldwide, climbing to 7.88 million by the time of the store launch.
3. Harness the power of content marketing
Content marketing is not just about keyword rankings and backlinks. It is also an amazing way to tell a story. And telling the right story, one that will resonate with your target audience, will result in increased brand awareness.
Joyce Ang of Instasize agrees with us:
"People love to connect with brands on a more personal level so, by telling them your story, you have increased your chances of being remembered.
Another way of achieving recall with your audience is to release consistent campaign imagery. Whenever you post something on social media, you can repeatedly use visual elements like a certain color palette, a border style or pattern, or even a particular font to increase familiarization with potential customers. This is one way of strengthening brand awareness through content marketing."
Other marketing tactics like paid ads can tell people who your brand is and what you are selling, but content marketing can show what your brand represents and the qualities that make it unique. One way to do this is by telling your story online. Provide people with information on how you started, what you believe in, what your company values are, and how you have succeeded to date. People love to connect with brands on a more personal level so, by telling them your story, you have increased your chances of being remembered.
Nick Greene, Co-Founder and Creative Lead at Apollo Digital, incorporated content marketing into the company's brand strategy, and brand awareness rose significantly for the relatively new company. However, he took a more general approach, focusing less on the company’s story but more on providing useful information on a topic important to his target audience.
“We used this one piece of content to make sure most people in our target audience have heard about us. Here is what we did:
Created EPIC content. We wrote a mega-guide to SaaS marketing. 14k words, 41+ strategies, 50+ case-studies. The key here is to create really, really good content that people will care about
Promoted the hell out of it
This resulted in (so far - we're still promoting it):
Hundreds of upvotes on HackerNews
TONS of love all over the internet / in Facebook groups.”
One important thing to remember from Nick’s story is that content marketing is not just about publishing an article and leaving it online for people to find. With more than 2 million blog posts published daily, it is very unlikely that your article will be found on its own. What Nick did to expedite brand awareness was to share his guide online. With an estimated 3.02 billion social media users by 2021, it can be one of the easiest ways to show your brand to a vast amount of people in a short time.
But is promoting your content on social media enough to increase brand awareness? Sadly not. Take a look at the next point for an extra bump.
4. SEO and brand awareness
The inclusion of SEO in this article will come as no surprise. There are many ways in which to use SEO to increase brand awareness but in this instance, we will focus specifically on targeting long-tail keywords.
It’s as simple as this: high search engine rankings will do wonders for your brand awareness. Not only will your brand be easier to find, the higher you rank, the more credible your brand will be in the eyes of your audience. Bear in mind, however, that this really is a long-term strategy, especially for those coveted first-page spots. But again, it is worth it.
Using the right keywords in your campaigns is key here.
And if you really want to get the most out of search engines, choosing long-tail keywords that are relevant for your industry, are good for local search, and fit with your brand is vital. This is what will happen over time: your target audience will search for a product or service in your business category and will be exposed to your website and brand if they are well-positioned.
Let’s say that your target audience is athletes in the United States. These athletes are looking for a running backpack and type “backpack” in the search bar. According to Ahrefs, this search term has a difficulty level of 42, putting it in the “hard to rank for” range. However, “running backpack water” has a much lower ranking difficulty score. Salomon, Ultimate Direction, Kalenji, Adidas, and Asics took advantage of that and created useful content around that long-tail keyword. When it’s typed into Google’s search bar, this is what appears:
Then, the next time these athletes will look for another running item, there is a higher chance they remember Salomon or Kalenji. The idea behind this is, to not underestimate the power of search engines and the visibility you get from rich snippets and other media visuals in the search engines (be it Google, or anything with a search bar such as Amazon or other e-commerce websites).
Amazon is a company that makes the most out of long-tail keywords. In fact, they generate 57% of book sales due to long-tail product descriptions. They are catching those consumers who are highly motivated to purchase a certain product.
You don’t have to use SEO just to appear in search results for keywords. It is also possible to use SEO to appear in search results and increase brand awareness by focusing on increasing review. That’s what ReputationManagement.com did for a former client.
SEO Manager, Jonas Sickler, told us:
“We focused on improving sentiment in the search results for the brand name as well as on ‘reviews’ of the brand.
"We wire-framed a new customer reviews page on our client's website and provided all technical and content guidance to execute the project. We also helped the company establish a process to earn more reviews across a variety of online review platforms.
"We also provided guidance to address inaccuracies and violations on community web pages that mentioned the brand. As one result, the company achieved a more accurate and sustainable Wikipedia entry that also facilitated a more accurate Google Knowledge Panel.
“Here are the results of our engagement with the customer:
They recovered $32 million in monthly revenue after we flipped their search results from negative to positive.
We established a customer review program that took them from 3 negative reviews to 12,000 five-star 'Excellent' reviews.
We increased the Google click-through rate by 456% on positive branded 'review' content.”
5. Be aware of what is going on around you
All the tips we have provided up to this point all need one additional ingredient to succeed: awareness. Not the brand awareness we have been discussing but your marketing team’s awareness of what is happening in their industry: what does your target audience want? How can you help them?
Teodora Lozan, SaaS Marketer at Socialinsider did just that and earned great results.
“We saw a lot of people worrying about Instagram removing the ability to view posts' likes”, said Teodora, “which for social media managers makes it harder to understand the value of external experts or influencers they hired. So we created a free chrome extension that shows this information. We sent the news to a few key publications and the news was quickly picked up by big publications from around the world.
“The result? Major publishers published articles in 5+ languages including Techcrunch. Forbes and Esquire Russia. This, in turn, resulted in over 2,400 downloads.”
Being aware of what’s going on around you should not only adhere to your target audience (although they are most important) but also marketing trends. Take video content, for instance. Online video consumption has been rising globally over the last years, with an expectation of 100 minutes watchtime per day by 2021. Considering 83% of marketers already believe that video is becoming increasingly important, it’s not a trend you want to be left behind on.
See how one brand has used video marketing on Facebook to increase brand awareness.
Mini Case Study: Visit Trentino
Trentino is an Italian holiday region that wanted to reconnect with people in two priority tourism markets: the Czech Republic and Poland after they noticed a fall in visitor numbers. Visit Trentino needed to create effective ads in a short period of time so they decided to adopt existing ads into a new video for Facebook.
The video included branded templates in each scene, a motivational message midway through, and a strong call-to-action at the end. The ads were shown over a three-week period in June-July 2019 to a broad audience. Visit Trentino achieved the following results:
8.3-point lift in brand awareness among people aged 55–64 in the Czech Republic
5.6-point lift in brand awareness among people aged 25–34 in Poland
6. Go offline
Vaishali Badgujar, Content Marketing Specialist at Time Doctor, found the value in conferences for increasing brand awareness.
"We run a conference called Running Remote. It has become the world's largest ever in-person conference focused on building and scaling remote teams. We started it in 2018 and it took place in Bali. It was the first year and we didn't have a big community or partnerships to promote our event.
"Then our co-founder, CMO and co-organizer, Liam Martin decided to appear on as many podcasts as he could to connect with link-minded people and spread the word about Running Remote.
"We discovered that out of all other forms of advertising, podcasts were more effective. Here's Liam's video explaining how we executed this approach:
"Liam appeared on 59 podcasts in 90 days and it resulted in 30 tickets sold for the conference (earned $400 per podcast) and more indirect benefits - built good connections, ended up in getting good partnerships, many podcasters promoted our event on their social media."
Here’s a bonus tip from Kas Szatylowicz, Content Manager at Digital Olympus.
"Out of numerous ways to bring the world's attention to your company, the "offline" methods are probably most underrated, especially in B2B. Increasing your brand awareness using social media or PPC can work well, but here, at Digital Olympus we chose to try the alternatives. What works best for us are industry events. We run a huge conference for digital marketers every year, as well as sponsor and attend others. We also heavily focus on developing our personal brands (e.g. Alex Tachalova the CEO does a lot of public speaking) and connecting that with the company brand. Real-life promotion during the events works extremely well in the B2B world where connections are sometimes everything. We not only increase the overall brand awareness but also gain trust and reach a very specific audience that we are interested in marketing to".
+1 Brand your materials
Here’s one for the offline marketing lovers among you: use branded packaging. According to Packaging Digest: “Studies show that 74% of young adults are more likely to share a photo of their product packaging online and almost 40% of overall consumers share packaging on social media that has an interesting gift-like design.”
The All England Club took advantage of this during the 2018 Olympic summer. On the back of the UK’s success at both the Olympic and Paralympic games, the organization created a carrier bag that would become an object of desire thanks to its association with a popular event as a means to increase their brand awareness.
Track brand awareness and set goals
Unfortunately, many brand marketers fail at measuring brand metrics. Don’t be one of those brands.
It is crucial that you measure your brand awareness levels, not only at the general/national level but at the target audience level too. And don’t forget to measure the brand awareness of your competitors!
Of course, just tracking your brand awareness won’t make it grow. However, it will indicate the direction to take. For example, if you see that your brand awareness is at 6%, but your main competitor stands at 12%, you have now a benchmark and a goal to tackle.
Quick tip: think wisely about the target audience you want to track, and the competitors you want to keep an eye on. If you keep changing your brand tracking set-up, you will miss out on insightful data changes.
This is, of course, not a complete list. There are dozens of ways to boost brand awareness (both good and bad). However, these points are as good a start as any. Just remember: don’t depend on quick fixes to increase brand awareness and certainly don’t take paths that will eventually harm you. Take your time, think long term, and increase brand awareness in the right way with the right people. The benefits will be worth the hard work.