So you want to know how to increase brand awareness? Well you’re in the right place, especially if you’re working with a limited budget, but need to cut through the noise and stand above your competitors.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Whatsapp offer companies a great free-of-charge platform to promote themselves, build their brand and their audience.
Finding the time to feed your profiles and blog can be a challenge but if you’re going to do it you need to be active, which means posting and interacting several times a day. But what to say? Expertise in a particular area can make for a large following. Stay relevant and on-topic and you will garner a valuable and engaged audience.
Don’t forget you need to talk to others to grow your following, which means responding to comments on your social media pages in a timely manner and engaging followers in conversation. No time at all? Check out these 10 tools for automating your social media.
According to research carried out by Hootsuite in December, Starbucks is the best performing brand on social media, closely followed by Chanel, Friskies and Urban Outfitters. So be sure to check out their activity for inspiration. Then read our guide to mastering social mediafor tips on how to become social champions too.
2. Hold an event
Whatever type of business you’re in, holding a live event is a great way to get the attention of clients and prospects. This could be a purely social summer barbecue or Christmas party, or structured around business development such as the launch of a new product or promotion. You could even run a workshop to share your professional expertise.
Holding a live event gives you valuable ‘face time’ with potential customers and offers the opportunity for them to experience the look, feel and personality of your brand. You can always adopt a theme to add interest, such as a 1920s cocktail evening or a vintage tea party. Consider raising funds for charity at your event – it’s the perfect way to give back as you get.
3. Launch a PR campaign
Gaining press coverage is essentially like getting free advertising. But it’s actually better than that, because editorial has more credibility and is more likely to convince potential new customers to check you out. The hard part is coming up with a newsworthy angle, and this will depend on whether you’re targeting local or national media, print, TV or radio.
Perhaps you have a great personal story to tell about why you started your business, maybe you’ve launched a unique new product or have identified an interesting sales trend? Conducting surveys in your specialist field and publishing the results can offer a credible line for journalists or why not try a spot of responsive PR, looking out for relevant journalist requests you can respond to?
Another top tip is to search Twitter for opportunities using the following hashtags: #pressrequest or #journorequest.
4. Exhibit yourself
Exhibiting can be a highly effective way to showcase your brand to hundreds of people in your target market. However, it can be expensive, so you’ll need to prepare carefully to ensure you realise the best return on investment. It’s not always a case of ‘build it and they will come’, you need to go further to attract people to your stand – and keep them there long enough to discover your brand and absorb your message.
Organising a competition or giveaway is a great way to attract attention. Who doesn’t like getting something for nothing? Quirky or useful branded gifts such novelty items that can be passed on to the kids, or food and drink, will always be well received. A promotional tote bag is another good idea – turning your recipients into walking billboards. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this advice on how to do brand activation at events.
5. Join forces with another business
There’s power in numbers – if you can identify other businesses targeting the same kind of customer as you, but not directly competing there’s an opportunity to join forces for mutual benefit.
For example if you’re a florist you can offer an exclusive discount for customers of the local bridal shop. For you, it’s a great way to attract new customers. For the established business it’s a way to reward their customers at no expense and with virtually no effort.
6. Sponsor something
Sponsorship of an event or product is another proven way to reach a target audience and increase brand awareness. Sponsoring an event can entitle your company to exclusive face-to-face time with attendees as well as overt branding opportunities.
But choose wisely – what you choose to sponsor should be relevant to your target market and ‘on message’. Be sure to steer clear of any PR disasters – Nestlé’s sponsorship of a health conference in 2014 led to the event being cancelled after senior NHS figures urged a boycott over the food and beverage company’s promotion of infant formula in the developing world.
To help you make the right sponsorship choice visit Sponsormonster, a free to use service which matches potential corporate sponsors with sponsorship opportunities that meet their marketing criteria.
7. Organise an experiential stunt
For companies targeting consumers there’s no better way to raise brand awareness than getting out on the street and engaging with potential customers.
Experiential campaigns can work for both B2B and B2C companies too.
From a pop-up on the street to hiring performance artists, organising a flash mob to engaging people with VR headsets, the only limit is your imagination. And if you’re not sure where to start, why not check out these 23 examples.
8. Invest in promotional merchandise
Small corporate gifts are a great way to thank customers for their business and reinforce your brand at the same time. You can provide branded pens for pennies and it will put your company name and contact details at your customers’ fingertips for months to come.
But don’t scrimp too much, cheap and cheerful can be a false economy. There’s no point giving a really cheap pen which is going to run out of ink really quickly – not only will your brand exposure be short-lived, giving low quality items reflects badly on your company.
The more creative you can be with your gifts the better. Something unusual or personalised will delight the recipient and may lead to them posting about the gift on social media, earning your brand extra glory.
With stats like that, the chances are your target audience are at least occasionally watching videos online, and with social networks competing for video views, they’re giving more prominence to video as a format on their platforms.
This means if you can great great video content for your brand, there’s a good chance that a) you’ll have an audience that wants to watch it and b) the social networks will be happier to show it to their users.
10. Try content marketing
The idea of content marketing has been around for a number of years now, but there are still large numbers of businesses who haven’t jumped onto the trend yet. The benefits are numerous, from increasing organic search traffic, to generating more leads, to shortening the sales cycle, to becoming a thought leader in your industry.
If you’re looking to build brand awareness, then blogging regularly could be a tactic that works as well for you as it has for thousands of other businesses who are already actively content marketing.
These are just 10 ways to build your brand awareness! With a little imagination and an understanding of your customer, the sky (and your budget) is the limit when it comes to getting in front of your target audience this year.