No matter what kind of business you run, you want your brand to stand out from the crowd. After all, the ultimate goal of marketing is to have your target audience think of you when they need a product or service you offer.
But how do you make your mark when there are a sea of others doing the same (or similar) things? What do you do if you don’t have a huge budget to flood the airwaves with your message? Is brand awareness even possible for a small business owner?
The truth is, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to build your brand awareness. What you need to do is find ways to embed yourself into your customer’s lifestyle and purchasing habits. Do this right, and they won’t think twice before turning to your business to solve their needs again and again.
The following guide will help you understand what brand awareness is, how to establish it, and offer some simple steps to help you get started. Let’s dive in!
What is Brand Awareness? And Why Does It Matter?
At a surface level, “brand awareness” simply refers to how familiar people are with your brand and how well they recognize it. But when you dive a bit deeper, it’s easy to see why it’s so important.
When done correctly, brand awareness also means that people know what your business stands for and the type of experience they can expect when working with you.
It’s the state of mind your ideal customer enters when they see or hear your company’s name.
When you’ve done a great job of building your brand awareness, potential customers know they can trust your business. Eventually, they’ll feel a bond with your brand and make repeat purchases with little or no forethought. At this point, you’ll have bridged the gap between trust and loyalty. And that’s where the magic starts to happen.
Loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business. Not only do they consistently return to make purchases from you, but they often also become raving fans – recommending your business to family and friends and helping you continually grow.
8 Simple Ways to Build Brand Awareness
Brand awareness doesn’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen as a result of a single marketing campaign. Instead, it’s the culmination of the things you do every single day. It requires a concerted effort and should be a part of your long-term business plan.
While every business is different, the following eight tips will help you build a solid foundation of brand awareness and make a lasting impact with your target audience.
1. Provide a Great Customer Experience
As the old adage says:
“People will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
If you do nothing else to build your brand, don’t skip this tip! Always put the customer first and always make things right. Today’s consumers have plenty of choices, and they expect an incredible experience. Unfortunately, many business owners just don’t put in the effort to make it happen. If you do, you’ll immediately stand out from the crowd.
Commit to going the extra mile and watch how quickly your brand grows.
2. Be a Person, Not a Company
When you make a new friend, you probably enjoy learning new things about them. What do they like to talk about? What are their passions? What gets them truly excited?
These are the same sorts of questions you want to think about when you’re introducing your brand. To truly connect with your audience, you need to be more than just a company that sells stuff. Think about how you want to define your business. What character traits do you want people to associate with your brand? Once you have your answer, be sure to incorporate it into everything you do.
3. Be Social – In Person and Online
If you’re an introvert you might not like this tip – but if you want to build your brand awareness, you’ve got to get out there and socialize! It’s also important to be authentic about it. If you only try to reach out to people when you need something or you want to make a sale, you won’t have much success.
So, go to that networking meeting and talk about things other than your business. Invite a business acquaintance out for coffee or lunch so you can connect on a deeper level. Post on your social media about things unrelated to your product.
Go into every interaction as a person trying to make friends, not a business trying to make money. A huge part of your brand reputation comes from you, and being social is an important key to your success.
4. Share Your Story
People inherently want to do business with those they know, like, and trust. If you want to stand out from the crowd, share your story. Craft a narrative around your brand, then share it with the world.
Telling your story humanizes your brand and allows you to connect with your target audience on a deeper level. Weaving it into your marketing allows you to promote your products or services and your brand at the same time.
Once again, authenticity is key. Your narrative can be about anything you want… as long as it’s true.
5. Stay Consistent
I’m a big believer in the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” To build your brand awareness, it’s important to stay consistent with your marketing. Unfortunately, most people have short attention spans. If you’re not continually reminding them that you’re around, they may forget you and go elsewhere.
When you’re interacting with the public, always use the same logo, photos, and brand colors. This consistency allows your audience to quickly associate your actions with your brand.
6. Provide Great Value
Consistent marketing doesn’t mean shoving your brand in people’s faces all the time. To make a positive impact and build trust in your brand, it’s important to share value. If you’re willing to share some of your knowledge for free, you’ll quickly become a well-respected, “go-to” person in your field. There are many ways to do this, from writing a monthly blog or sending out tips via email to offering advice and feedback in Facebook groups. Find what works for you and stick with it.
7. Support Your Community
One of the things people love about supporting local small businesses is that their dollars stay right in their hometown. Remind your customers of this by giving back. Sponsoring anything from local sports teams to charity events is a great way to get your brand out in public and remind them that you’re an important part of the community.
Your community outreach may also include hosting events for the public. Whether you bring a food truck to your location once a quarter, host a blood drive or community clean-up, or plan a “pop-up market” with other local vendors, these types of marketing efforts can have long-lasting results.
8. Leverage Local Media
Local media coverage is a great way to make a name for your brand, build trust, and get the word out about all the great things you’re doing in your community. If your business is located in Manatee County, Discover Bradenton is a great resource. You can pitch articles any time you want, or consider becoming a member for even more local brand exposure.
Sending press releases is also a great idea. This allows you to inform other local media outlets about your newsworthy events – like grand openings, sponsorships, new hires, and more. The Manatee Chamber of Commerce also offers a Press Release Submission Tool that allows you to easily distribute your press release to dozens of news outlets with a click of a button.
How Will You Get Started?
As with most things in business, it’s best not to try to do too much at once. Instead, choose one item from the list above and start implementing it. Once you start to feel comfortable, you can come back and keep adding more until you’ve established the ultimate level of brand awareness.
Which of these tips will you try first? I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below!