What truly sells a product or a brand is the story behind it… your customers want to know what you and your business are really about — so it makes sense that great brand awareness starts with an authentic, relatable story your customers can connect with.
The good news is you don’t have to spend a lot of money or hire an expensive agency to begin crafting your brand story.In fact, there are several things you can do yourself to communicate the value around your brand, starting with two simple things: pinpointing exactly who you are and why you started your company.
Once you’ve nailed down your brand story, the adventure really begins. and you may need a roadmap. In any business, the strategies for brand awareness can make a huge difference and offer a real competitive advantage.
What is Brand Awareness?
According to Hubspot, brand awareness “represents how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how well they recognize it.” When you are a small or medium-sized business (SMB), brand awareness is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts, and to the business as a whole.
“Brand identity” may feel like a vague concept, but make no mistake: it could be the most valuable asset your company possesses. In a recent post we cited a business survey which reported that maintaining high quality and consistent visual branding led to profit increases of around 23 percent.
In a nutshell: once a person recognizes a brand, they are more likely to purchase that brand without spending a lot of time researching. Those loyal customers are also more likely to recommend your brand to friends and family because they trust your brand.
The Power of Personality & Storytelling
As humans, we all are drawn to a compelling, interesting story…whether it’s about a lost dog that made its way home against all odds or an amazing insurance policy that completely covered the costs of a serious illness.
Often, it’s not the specific content of your own story, it’s the impact, authenticity, and relevance to a customer. When we boil it down, people often choose one product or brand over the other simply because it makes them feel a certain way. For example, a customer may choose one detergent brand over another not because it’s better, but because it was what their grandmother swore by. Brand loyalty often builds because of a sentiment that transcends logo design (although, that is important to).
Why Brand Consistency is Vital
In today’s digital world, your brand will likely start with your website. Once you’ve established your own unique brand story, it’s important that your visual brand (e.g. logo, colors, font style, and other design choices) align with your brand.
Even the words you use in headlines, on your website, social media or email should reflect the image and the story you’d like the world to know.
Consistency, over time, builds trust.. Whether you are sending them email, posting social media, or sponsoring a local event, you need to be true to your brand story.
We consumers can be pretty fickle, and so abruptly changing a part of your brand, messaging or overall design can make customers feel uneasy and signal a sense of broken trust.. When customers become confused, their cycle of buying may be broken temporarily—or forever.
Pay Attention to Your Internal Brand
Many SMBs often forget to take into account the internal branding of a company — meaning, the culture of the employees and workplace that also should reflect your own unique brand story. Anyone who works in your SMB is a brand ambassador, from customer service to sales to the person who fills orders in a warehouse.
When employees work in a place that encourages them to create a culture that matches the external image of the company, good things often happen. And in today’s workplace, (where some or all of your employees may be working remotely) it’s more important than ever to be clear about your internal brand.
Helpful Branding Tactics
When in doubt, consider these strategies to get your brand noticed:
- PPC advertising can be a great way to increase your brand awareness, even if you don’t have a large number of conversions from the ad. Brand visibility is huge, so just seeing your company name at the top of pages will make an impression, even if they don’t end up clicking on the ad itself.
- Consider a remarketing campaign. These ads are served to people who have already been to your website, so this tactic allows you to remind them of your product or service. Depending on your goals, there are several ways to set these campaigns up.
- WordStream suggests using a referral program, which gives customers a perk or gift if they refer someone to your business. This can bolster your value to the current customer and offer a favorable impression for your new and potential customers.
- Another WordStream suggestion is to use impressive guest posters who can deliver ultra-valuable, memorable content. If you go this route, don’t forget to ask for a backlink from your guest poster’s site as well!
- Customer testimonials are often an under-used asset—assuming your business uses them at all. You can feature customer testimonials on your website, on social media, and even in newsletters. If used well, testimonials will establish trust and can drive sales.
The Never-Ending Story
To execute a strong brand awareness strategy, you must remain consistent and focused. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-and-done kinda deal —but the good news is that brand awareness doesn’t live in a vacuum. Everything you and your staff do, from email marketing and online presence to customer relationship management and marketing strategy — it all contributes to your desired brand personality.
So, how strong is your company in its own brand/identity efforts? You can find out quickly by taking our free quiz (only 10 questions!). We’ll also give you a score on Customer Relationship Management (CRM), online presence and email marketing.
And then, if you want more direction, we can set up a short call to help you start your brand awareness journey!
Tomato Fish Is An Indianapolis Consulting Company Focused On Helping Small And Midsize Businesses Make Good Strategic Planning Decisions.