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Customers have to know about a brand, in order to know that they want it.
That’s a pretty obvious statement. Take a look at a diagram of any customer marketing funnel: the journey to conversion always starts with awareness.
But getting customers to become more aware of your brand is no easy feat. That’s mostly due to the incredibly saturated marketplace in just about every vertical. In the US alone, there are close to 8 million online stores. That’s not even counting all the brick-and-mortar brands.
Consumers today are bombarded with brand messages and offers, and standing out is hard. That’s why so many marketers are obsessed with boosting brand awareness, and there is a range of tactics that are known to be useful in doing so.
But before we dive in, let’s understand exactly what brand awareness means.
Brand awareness is a marketing measurement that identifies to what extent a brand is recognized by consumers and target audiences. It can apply to the brand as a whole, or to a specific product, offering or even brand element, such as a logo or slogan.
For example, the slogan “Just do it” has extremely high brand awareness. Vast numbers of people all over the world connect those three words to Nike footwear.
Coca Cola is another example of a brand with awesome awareness levels, from its name, to the brand’s iconic red color, and the script font used in the logo.
One of the challenges of brand awareness is that it is difficult to measure. “Awareness” is subjective, and hard to quantify. In order to measure brand awareness, it is important to include tactics that can be tracked and measured as part of your overall strategy.
Although “awareness” is hard to measure, it is not just an important part of a brand’s performance – it’s absolutely essential.
Awareness is the first step on the road to customer conversion, so getting customers aware of a brand is a necessary ingredient to facilitate sales and revenue.
But brand awareness is much more than that. When a brand has high awareness in the marketplace, it exponentially enhances the brand’s overall success.
Why? Because of all the good things that come with brand awareness, such as more word-of-mouth recommendations (responsible for 13% of overall sales!), increased demand for brand and influencer collaborations, shorter conversion times, and busier lead funnels.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popularly used tactics by digital marketers today to increase brand awareness and monitor it effectively.
An important part of creating brand awareness is becoming a thought leader or authority in your niche. The more authority you have, the more people will notice and share your content, and the higher you will appear in search rankings.
This comes down to the E-A-T concept: Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness. In order to build your E-A-T, you need to figure out what content you can provide that is specific to your niche or industry and adds unique value.
Start by researching which questions people are asking on search engines about your field. Then, create content that explores or even answers those questions. Focus on specific and pointed questions rather than aiming for high-volume keywords.
This way, you’ll identify unique opportunities where you can really grow your reputation, rather than spending time and resources on topics that all your competitors are talking about already.
The Baker Institute is a prestigious Australian research center focusing on diabetes and heart disease. Diet is one of the most important factors for heart health, so the organization offers a range of engaging, informative educational content on the subject.
For example, they produced an interactive online fact sheet about healthy portion sizes, providing practical value to readers about a highly-searched subject, and boosting awareness of the institute’s brand at the same time.
It’s not what you know, but who you know.
This is true in the world of brand awareness too. Boost your brand presence by associating and collaborating with other companies in your niche.
That doesn’t mean you have to knock on your competitors’ doors; rather, identify brands and businesses whose offerings complement yours and together, you can develop webinars, conferences, ebooks, blog swaps and other joint projects.
By promoting them to the audiences of both companies, you get double exposure and open up new avenues for awareness and growth.
Rapaport Tradewire®, the world’s foremost diamond pricing and trading platform, invests significantly in content collaborations to boost its trade name and support brand awareness.
For instance, the B2B company partnered with Sarine Technologies, a diamond technology provider, to create the Diamond Tech podcast series focusing on how technology is changing the global diamond trade.
In a world saturated with social media, influencers are your best brand ambassadors. Influencers are a popular marketing tactic, with close to 90% of surveyed marketers saying that ROI from influencer marketing is as good as or better than other channels.
There’s no need for expensive celebrity endorsements either. Recent years have seen a trend towards “micro influencers”, who have smaller but more niche audiences and are therefore more affordable and ROI effective.
Influencer marketing does not have to cost the earth, and can be an excellent way to boost brand awareness among highly targeted and high potential audiences.
In March 2021, an online frenzy began when popular beauty brand Glossier seemed to be offering 50% off their entire site with the code “friendsofglossier.”
One Twitter user became an accidental influencer when Glossier reposted their funny tweet to Instagram, connecting the huge surge in Glossier purchases with the recent Suez shipping crisis. Today, influencers come in all forms, and can be very effective in surprising and creative ways.
Video storytelling plays into the hands of two natural human instincts: visual comprehension and a preference for narrative. So when it’s done correctly, video storytelling captures audience attention and increases brand awareness in a very powerful and primal way.
Just about every brand is using video today to tell their story. In fact, 92% of marketers believe video is an important part of their strategy, and that’s a good reflection of the overall popularity of video.
This year, it is predicted that people will spend an average of 100 minutes a day watching online videos. That’s a lot of time in which to capture audience attention with great brand video storytelling.
In 2019, a small, family owned hardware store in Wales went hugely viral with a simple video story for Christmas that touched hearts worldwide. The video cost just 100 pounds to make, and garnered over 2 million views!
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Infographics are also a great tactic for building brand awareness because they combine brand authority with a visually appealing experience. Infographics can be used to educate, entertain or inform audiences about different aspects of your industry, niche or company.
Infographics are incredibly versatile too. Promote them on a website, blog or social media pages, or print as posters or other hard-copy collateral for use in brick-and-mortar stores or in-person events.
Check out this timeline infographic about Uber's company history. It’s a great way to boost awareness of interesting facts and tidbits about the company, while strengthening the brand’s look and feel in the mind of the viewer.
You can customize this infographic template to share your brand's story in a similar way.
In the past three years, podcasting has grown by nearly 40% in the US, and over half of Americans have listened to a podcast before. Many companies are turning to podcasting to get heard by more audiences and build awareness of their brand.
The reasons why podcasting is so effective for brand awareness are the same as other tactics – just in audio format. Podcasts help brands build authority and leadership by exposing listeners to new discussions and original ideas.
They strengthen brand recognition by drawing audiences and creating buzz and attention. Create your own podcast, host guest interviews or get interviewed on another podcast as their guest. All of these will do a great job of increasing brand awareness.
Podcasts are incredibly versatile, and can cover any topic under the sun, from business to bodysurfing to beauty.
The cosmetics brand Sephora had a popular podcast called #Lipstories, focusing on fashion, influencers and lifestyle. It’s a great example of how podcasts can be crafted for every kind of audience.
The problem with digital advertising is that consumers today are thoroughly tired of it. People are exposed to so many ads that they even develop what’s known as “banner blindness” – they just stop noticing them altogether. This makes it difficult to use digital ads for brand awareness.
Native advertising is a great solution for brand awareness because it combats banner blindness with non-intrusive, high quality ads that actually get audience attention.
Native advertising is increasing in sophistication, with new and effective ad formats released all the time. For example, native social ads mimic the look and feel of the user’s social feed, but this time on the open web, outside of the walled gardens of social networks.
Samsung ran a campaign using native social ad formats for its intelligent cabinet steamer, AirDresser™ in Italy. The campaign achieved 75% higher viewability rates with native social ads on the open web than standard native ads. Getting noticed in this way is the precise key to increased brand awareness.
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The saying “SEO is dead” could not be more wrong. In fact, SEO is becoming more important all the time, especially as Google continually works to improve its search functionality and user experience for real-world users.
For a long time, SEO has been about much more than just keywords. Mobile responsiveness, good quality content, and smooth navigation are all factors that impact a website’s search ranking.
For brand awareness, SEO is also important for a simple fact: the better your SEO, the higher you’ll rank in search results, and the more visibility you’ll get among people searching online.
During the COVID-19 lockdowns, one thing was clear: people were going to be watching a lot of Netflix, and they might just be wanting a VPN to watch shows not available in their region.
So, NeoMam Studios worked with VPN provider Surfshark to create an SEO-rich content campaign that would drive referrals to the site. They researched and published an article on Surfshark’s blog, “Which Countries Get the Best-rated TV Shows & Films on Netflix?”
The article is packed with visual illustrations and interactive data to make it even more readable and engaging, helping to boost the SEO even further.
Having said that, SEO is not necessarily enough to get the visibility that will truly boost brand awareness. Paid advertising is going to get many more viewers to online assets than relying on organic traffic alone.
PPC ad platforms also enable brands to target relevant audiences in a sophisticated way, and that means more opportunity to promote the brand to audiences and on websites where it is really going to make a difference to awareness levels.
PPC is not just about display ads anymore. Intrepid Travel was looking to boost brand awareness among their key demographic of 25-40 year olds. Where to find them? On YouTube, where online travel videos are hugely popular.
The company created a video series called “Beyond Borders” for their YouTube channel, focusing on cities, interests and demographics, rather than just different countries.
These videos were promoted via Google display ads to the target audience, and the results were dramatic: 100% uplift in organic search traffic and a 750% increase in direct search traffic.
There is no tactic more powerful for brand awareness than word of mouth recommendations. Over 90% of people say that family and friends are the most trusted source of advertising.
Brands should be investing in promoting reviews and testimonials in every way they can, and at every opportunity, because they are a fantastic way to promote awareness among social circles of existing customers.
Testimonials don’t have to include long reviews; even star ratings have a strong impact. This is evident on the FitFlop footwear brand’s official Amazon store.
The brand builds awareness by promoting related products along with their star ratings, adding confidence and positive associations for viewers.
There is no such thing today as brand awareness without social media. There are currently 3.6 billion people worldwide on social media, and the number rises every year.
The trick to social media marketing for brand awareness is focusing efforts on the right platforms and in the right way. Make sure to invest in social media campaigns where the target audience is most active.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the place to be. For B2C, Facebook is a good choice to target Gen X and Gen Y, while TikTok is the hub for younger consumers. A mix of organic and paid posts, live events, video posts and more is a great way to cover all the brand awareness bases.
For independent filmmakers, promoting their films and getting widespread exposure is tricky.
With social media, however, one company is achieving solid brand awareness with a simple sponsored video ad of the trailer, including a CTA to visit the website and buy the film, and targeted to relevant audiences of course.
One of the most important things to remember about brand awareness is that it takes time. It won’t happen overnight, and deep brand awareness often takes years. After all, Coca Cola has been around for more than a century, and Nike is close to 60 years’ old.
That doesn’t mean you can’t expect good results even after a few months. Try a mix of the brand awareness tactics listed above, and keep at it consistently.
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