A Small Business Guide to Building a Brand Awareness Strategy

Employees sitting around a conference table with someone presenting in front of a tv

These days, it can be difficult for a small business to thrive. You have to make a memorable impression on your target audience and continuously work to grow your brand awareness. Studies show that it takes at least 5-7 brand impressions before someone remembers and recognizes a brand. Here is our guide to building a brand awareness strategy that will help your small business grow.

What is brand awareness?

Brand awareness is the degree to which consumers are familiar with the unique qualities or image of a brand. Successful brand awareness happens when you have embedded your brand into people’s lifestyles and habits. A perfect example of brand awareness is Apple. Apple has successfully embedded themselves into the lives of over 100 million people in the United States alone. People will stand in line for hours waiting for the release of the newest Apple products. Talk about customer loyalty. Brand awareness aims to turn your potential customers into customers that don’t even think twice about purchasing from your company.

The importance of brand awareness

Shaking hands and build trust through brand awareness

Builds trust with your target audience

Trust between your brand and your audience is crucial. When people trust your brand, not only are they more likely to buy from you, they are also more likely to tell others about your business, helping to spread awareness. Word of mouth marketing should not be overlooked. When someone is looking to make a larger investment in a product or service, they are likely to do some research before making the commitment. According to studies, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Regardless of where the recommendation comes from, having a good reputation will help build your brand awareness.

Creates associations

If you can create an association between your product or brand and a specific action, you have made great progress with your brand awareness. Think about Google. When someone is going to search for something online, oftentimes they say “I’ll Google that.” Google is technically a search engine, which there are many, but Google is one of the more widely known and trusted search engines. Google effectively created an association between their brand and the act of searching something on a search engine because “Googling” was not a word until Google became so popular that people referred to searching online as “Googling.”

Builds brand equity

Brand equity is a brand’s value. A brand’s value is determined by the overall perception of a brand and the consumer’s experiences with it as opposed to the product or service itself. Brand awareness is the foundation of brand equity and can be established and maintained by consistently promoting your brand and positive experiences with customers.

Ways to build your brand awareness

Maintain brand consistency

Brand consistency is the “delivery of brand messaging in line with the brand identity, values, and strategy over time.” The more consistent your branding, the easier it is for someone to recognize you. 

Real life business example: Coca Cola

Arguably one of the most recognizable brands out there, Coca Cola has not significantly changed their branding since establishment in 1892.

Prioritize customer service

Whenever you hear stories of poor customer service experiences, you remember them. You probably form negative associations with that company as well and are less likely to use them. If you go out of your way to provide top notch customer service and positive experiences, your customers will be happy. Happy customers equal positive reviews and positive reviews equal a higher rating. These happy customers are also more likely to recommend your product or service to others. 

Real life business example: Warby Parker

A senior executive at Warby Parker went above and beyond for a customer he encountered in his daily travels. A customer left a pair of glasses on a train, where he happened to be sitting across from Anjali Kumar, the GC of Warby Parker. Anjali noticed the glasses after the man got off the train and not only did he return them to the owner, he made a fresh pair and replaced the scratched lenses, Now this may be an exceptional circumstance, but Warby Parker generally caters to the customer’s needs in fun and exciting ways. They offer their website users a quiz that they can take to narrow down what type of glasses frame and style is right for them. Once they narrow down the options to 5, they allow their customers to try them on, for free, at home. 

Use social media for growing your brand awareness. Phone with Facebook open next to a laptop

Be active on social media

Boost your engagement on social media by increasing your presence online. The key here is to go beyond just having a page for your business on each platform. Use your profiles to engage with your audience on a more fun and personal level. Paid social media ad campaigns or hosting contests are two great ways to encourage your audience to interact with you. Advertising on social media is a cost-effective option that enables you to target very specific audiences by using details such as age ranges, location, interests, and more.

Real life business example: Peel

Peel is a brand that creates cell phone cases. They use Facebook Video ads to reach their target audience and show them what makes them different from the thousands of other cell phone case brands out there. These social media ad campaigns resulted in a 16x increase in revenue.

Utilize offline marketing strategies

Though we may be in the digital age, snail mail is not a thing of the past. Offline marketing strategies such as direct mail campaigns or branded handouts help increase brand awareness. These strategies work especially well for small businesses based in specific locations. You can print a variety of materials to post up and hand out around town to help spread awareness. From flyers to posters or postcards, there is no shortage of print marketing strategies that will help increase your brand awareness. 

How to measure brand awareness

Once you have established and implemented your brand awareness strategy, you will want to measure your brand awareness to see if your efforts are successful. This can help you gauge what is working and if anything needs adjusting.

Keep an eye on website analytics

Numerous services help you track your website analytics, such as Google Analytics. To specifically track the performance of your brand awareness campaigns, you will want to focus on the direct channel. This tracks the number of people that typed your URL directly into the address bar, used a bookmarked link of your website, or clicked a link in an untracked email or offline document. In other words, direct traffic consists of people who intentionally went to your website as opposed to stumbling upon it by chance. 

Conduct surveys

Get your information straight from your audience by asking your customers how they heard of you. You could also ask a random selection of people if they are familiar with your brand. This will provide insight into how you reach your audience most successfully and how many people can easily recognize your brand.

Tracking analytics on a laptop

Track your online presence

Tracking online metrics such as the volume of mentions and the reach of your brand on social media will tell you how many conversations involve your brand. This will also tell you the potential number of people these mentions will be seen by. 

Brand awareness is not a “set it and forget it” strategy. You should always be working to increase your brand awareness and see what works well for business and what does not. Every business is different, and what works for one, may not work for another.

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