Today in the startup marketing series we are talking about brand and brand awareness. As most entrepreneurs and startup founders know by now, being different from your competitors and grabbing your target audience’s attention is key if you want to ever be successful with your business idea.
Spoiler alert, this is exactly what brand awareness pretends.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is the level of recognition a brand, a service or a product has among consumers and potential customers. A good brand awareness can translate into increased visibility, sales, a higher retention rate and a more loyal customer base as well as other tangible and intangible benefits.
Why does brand awareness matter?
If you want your products or services to be seen in the market above your competitors, it is key for any startup marketing strategy to have a strong brand that just stands out, is cohesive and coherent. What’s more, a high brand awareness can enable you to have an added value and increase the selling price of your offering, providing you with greater margins.
A strong brand awareness is a must before you even start thinking about concepts like brand loyalty. If you think about it, your customers need to recognize your brand before committing to it.
Good brand awareness and brand recognition will make your brand top of mind when it comes to the type of products or services you are offering. You clients and potential customers will recognize your brand, logo, tagline, style and type of communications in all channels.
What’s the difference between brand awareness and brand recognition?
Although both concepts get mixed easily, most startup owners as well as marketing agencies will differentiate both concepts. Brand recognition is the extent to which a target audience can recognize a given brand’s visual identity such as the logo, the products, the colors, etc. Brand awareness, on the other side, is when the same audience, aside from recognizing the visual identity, can also recall emotions, information and other intangible assets of the brand.
Why does it matter? Because those are two very different ideas and although they are intertwined, they both play a critical role in your company’s success.
5 startup marketing strategies and tactics to build a strong brand awareness
1. Build a recognizable and easy to remember brand
A good branding is key for every company. It may even be considered necessary to run a business. You will need to have a clear idea of what your brand will look like and how it will communicate with your prospects and clients. This branding will need to include:
What will your colors look like? What fonts are you using in your social media channels and website? These are all relevant questions that will define the look and feel of your brand and will make it possible for you to gain brand recognition at a later stage.
Some good examples of brand aesthetics are:
Logo and tagline
Often these two items are included in your brand’s aesthetics, but they are so important that we decided to give them a section of their own. Your logo and your tagline are the first things a potential customer will see and are your first point of interaction with them.
You really need to put some thoughts into how you design it and how you word it in order for it to be easy, accessible and adequate for your target audience.
Are you planning to be casual? Or maybe more formal? Are you going to include memes and jokes in your communications or are you gonna stay business oriented?
You don’t need to use exactly the same brand voice in every channel. In fact, being too serious and formal on social media is a risky choice. However, you will need to define your tone of voice, when, where and how you will use it well before you start your business.
You will need to create a brand voice that resonates with your audience and is recognized across channels, be it your social media or your email marketing campaigns. This means, go for the variety, but stay consistent across platforms so you are recognized as a brand.
Image aside, once you have your aesthetics and brand voice, you will need to focus on your values. They will define you as a strong brand and help you connect with your customer in the real world.
According to Edelman Trust Barometer, 58% of people will advocate and buy products from brands if they share their beliefs and values.
However, be careful, word of mouth is a powerful thing and what you do and what you say must be the same. You can’t advocate for climate change if your products are made in factories that are greatly affecting the issue.
2. Create value beyond the basic product
Don’t just sell your products or services, think of ways to improve the experience with great customer service, with a social cause, with some entertainment, education or whichever way you come up with.
This will not help you make new sales, but it will increase your customer retention and will ultimately bring you tons of benefits, both revenue and brand related. Think of a marketing plan that includes content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, UX and other tactics to help you add value to the customer’s journey from start to end.
3. Contribute to the society and your own community
Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty when it comes to brand awareness. Getting close and personal with your values and your customers will not only increase your brand awareness and recognition, but also provide you with valuable insight on who you are working with and who you are selling to.
This can range from sponsoring events or offering corporate donations to a cause to actual charity work in your area. Take the example of Patagonia, where they produce films about causes that resonate with their brand and create awareness in the public while placing their product.
4. Create shareable content
Follow the social media best practices to engage with your public and get in touch with them. But just posting will not be enough. You never know if you will get viral or what piece of content will hit the spots.
You will want to create relevant content that adds value to your customer’s experience and your followers will be ready and willing to share with their friends and family. One marketing strategy that tends to work great is creating giveaways or just adding calls to action that imply tagging friends in a post’s comments.
Plus, remember that shareable content is not only about social media, but can be a freebie or a blog post.
5. Run awareness social and search ads
We know, it’s not the cheapest option and it might not fit into may startups’ budget, but it’s a great option if you can afford it. Most platforms already have an “awareness campaign” option when you start creating an ad, but if not, it’s not the end of the world. A brand awareness campaign is just that, an ad that showcases your brand and products in a non-intrusive way, looking to connect with your potential customers and attracting them with your offer (or a freebie if you have it… Works great, we promise!)
What’s the best way to create a strong brand awareness?
As always, nothing is easy and building your brand awareness requires time and effort. That’s why, unless you have a team dedicated to the whole process, it’s advisable to hire a digital marketing agency that specializes in these matters.
And, if that agency is like us and has experts in other fields, the better, as it will be able to support you in every step of your journey.