Your business’s brand defines your public identity and can have a massive impact on consumer behavior. Poor brand awareness gives your competitors a huge advantage, as 46% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from brands they know and trust.
However, standing out from the crowd can be a real challenge — particularly if you are new to the market. Other businesses have already established their reputations and may have a bigger marketing budget than you.
Fortunately, you can still harness the power of brand awareness and loyalty without breaking the bank. A few strategic changes can help you establish yourself in the market and gain loyal customers for years to come.
Understanding Your Brand
A strong brand is key if you want to raise consumer awareness and loyalty. Your attempts to build awareness through brandformance will be completely undermined if you don’t have a clear notion of brand design and valuation.
However, actually understanding your brand can be tricky. As a business leader, you may have a clear idea of what your brand should be, but how do consumers really perceive the company?
Simply put, your business’s brand encompasses everything from logo design to breaking news stories that impact the business’s reputation. It’s the core identity of the company and, as such, has a huge impact on the company’s bottom line. A strong brand can help businesses stay afloat in times of economic downturn and pad profit margins during periods of growth and expansion.
Taking control of your brand image is key to building branding awareness. So, before beginning a brand awareness campaign, be sure to value your brand using methods like:
- Asset Stripping: identify the value of your brand by subtracting tangible and intangible assets from your firm. The figure you’re left with will represent the company’s brand equity.
- Product to Product: how much more can you charge than your competitors for the same product/service? Times the difference in price by the units sold, and that will give you a valuation of the strength of your brand
- The Intensive Approach: management consultancy agencies like Interbrand use a series of calculations to measure and assess brand strength, brand equity, and the role of the brand in consumer decisions. These assessments are usually time-consuming and use a range of qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Once you’ve valued your brand, you can start taking steps to build awareness. Use your brand analysis and valuation to identify weak points in your message and take strategic steps to outperform competitors.
Building Brand Awareness
Now you’ve valued your brand, you should be able to make strategic changes that boost your profile among consumers. Simple steps to improve exposure and elevate your brand awareness include:
- Reward existing consumers with promotional content
- Sponsor local events and charity fundraisers in your area
- Invest in customer service to protect your brand image
You should also run robust search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that bolster the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns. Winning on social media is easier than in the physical world, as you don’t need to pay for print materials like banners, fliers, and newspaper ads.
Aim to improve social media key performance indicators (KPIs) like reach and engagement by unifying your brand story and foregrounding brand values. Social media users don’t want a hard sell and are far more likely to be attracted to pages that add value to their lives. So, rather than posting promotional content, draw up a few storyboards that reflect your ideal consumers using your product or service.
If you’re still struggling to raise brand awareness, you may need to reassess your SEO strategy. SEO can be a complex beast to tackle alone, so try to focus your early efforts on SEO strategies for beginners like:
- Post high-quality, informative content
- Pay attention to the links you use, and try to get your posts featured on other sites
- Use social media to direct traffic to your site
- Keep track of changes to SEO regulations and avoid mistakes like keyword stuffing
These simple changes don’t require a fleet of marketing professionals and will make a big difference to your brand awareness and exposure online.
The Power of Loyalty
Loyal customers are the backbone of any good business. Regular, repeat consumers can help you grow as a business and are key to achieving financial stability as a new company. They give you wiggle room during times of economic uncertainty and can improve your brand awareness through word-of-mouth advertising.
You can build better brand loyalty by upping your customer service game. Simply put, customers will only come back if they feel valued and respected by your brand. Without a robust customer service department, consumers will feel frustrated and turn to competitors who treat them with greater care.
Supercharge the effectiveness of your customer service team by investing in social listening tools to “hear” the voice of your consumers. Social listening tools can detect any brand mentions online and give you a preemptive “heads-up” if your business is trending for any reason. This can help you get ahead of negative reviews and repair relations with customers before they turn to your competitors.
Brand awareness and consumer loyalty are essential for the long-term success of your business. Consumers love buying from brands they know and trust, and are far more likely to spread the word if your company treats them right. Even simple changes, like rewarding existing customers and hosting charity fundraisers, can attract new customers and gain loyal customers for years to come.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor