Do consumers know about your brand and what it represents? That’s the crux of Brand Awareness. Do you search on the net or do you Google? Do you use a mobile wallet to conduct a financial transaction or do you PayTM it? That’s the holy grail of what brand awareness can do for you. It can embed the consciousness of the brand and the value it can deliver into the daily lifestyles of the target market. On the flip side, no matter how good your product or how apt the price, without brand awareness there can be no recall and no recognition of your name by consumers.
Brand recognition is correctly identifying a brand by its colors or logo. Brand awareness takes it a step further. It helps you recall the feelings you had about the brand. Like how you recall the smell, and in-fact start craving for fried chicken just by looking at the KFC logo. Brand awareness can enhance customer loyalty and ensure good word of mouth, which subsequently result in increased sales and enhanced brand equity. But how do you generate that brand awareness in today’s distracted world? Here are 5 ways.
- Designing memorable visual assets to capture the customer’s imagination
A half-eaten apple, a swoosh, and a yellow M are more than enough to remind us of these iconic brands. These logos are shining examples of logo design to improve recall and awareness. They belong to different industries but have the same underlying principle. First, they are simple. They try to do more with less. But that’s easier said than done. Even a simple logo must convey the brand story along with the values the brand stands for. Amazon’s logo with an arrow pointing from a to z conveys that that have all the products that the world can offer. A simple swoosh of Nike conveys their “just to it” spirit. To successfully convey that sense in a logo and craft an identity in a symbol one must have a strong understanding of the target audience and how to drive the point home to them.
- Building brand awareness leveraging traditional channels like TV ads, Magazine & radio
The primary advantage of traditional channels is the reach. Compared to other digital channels which are yet to reach large swathes of the population, TV, Newspaper, and radio has reached every nook and cranny of the globe. The key strategy here to make a mark in the customer’s mind is to come up with a simple yet catchy tagline coupled with a hummable tune. Then comes a carefully considered channel selection and repetition strategy to appear in the eye line (ear line?) of the target consumer. Notes like “Haan main crazy hoon” of Coca-Cola and “Abki bar Modi sarkar” played a big role in driving up the awareness of these mega brands.
- Leverage digital channels
The advent of the digital channels has opened a plethora of new opportunities to spread brand awareness amongst the millennials, even without having to pay for the airtime and ad space. Nike leveraged YouTube to the fullest during the 2012 London Olympics. Even though Adidas was the official sponsor, Nike used the digital channel in such a way that many believed that they are the official sponsor. Though digital comes with its own set of challenges, like your content getting lost in a tsunami of content, the problem can be addressed through a scientific approach. Techniques like Google Adwords and SEO help make brand content more visible to the audience that is searching for that information. This is a great way to appear in the eye line of an audience that is searching with intent.
- Double down on social media
To increase brand awareness, one cannot ignore the impact of social media today as a bimodal communications channel. Apart from broadcasting their own messages and what they stand for, social media offers a rare opportunity for consumers to communicate back to the brand as well. Brands get invaluable exposure to the voice of the customer – what they want, their reviews of the brand, their view of competitors etc. One brand that comes up while talking of social media marketing is Red Bull. The brand leverages social channels not to directly promote their products but to feature the careers of sponsored and unsponsored athletes. The social channels convey a sense of the spirit of soaring adventure that Red Bull embraces -and its audience does too!
- Get Influencers and the referrals
For today’s connected generation every product category is replete with influencers who can sway the decision of most buyers. They are the opinion-makers for that product category. Consider the case of Hush Puppies, which had fallen out of favour with consumers and had slipped out of the consciousness of the market. The brand suddenly came back into vogue -back from the brink, as it were. If Gladwell is to be believed, it was because a very famous fashion blogger happened to be at an obscure fashion show where the shoes caught his fancy, and the rest is history. It’s important for a brand to identify the right influencers, have them test the products, and get a comprehensive and unbiased review out of them. Customer referrals too, go a long way in creating awareness. Some reports suggest that 92% of people will trust a reference from another person -even if they do not know that person personally! Brands now actively seek referrals from customers to grow their audience -virally.
These methods will help brands generate awareness. But there are no universal templates. For instance, referrals will work for luxury products, but traditional ads may not. The only universal truth is whatever tactic or strategy you choose to drive up brand awareness, it must be rooted in what the brand truly represents. The authentic message is most likely to resonate with the most relevant audience. And, that’s the best form of awareness.
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