We don’t need to tell you that increasing brand awareness is a tough undertaking. After all, 89% of marketers claim brand awareness is their number one goal. But we can tell you something you might not know: there are some realistic strategies you can implement to increase brand awareness.
These strategies have not only been tried and tested by companies worldwide, but they’re surprisingly easy to implement. Keep reading to learn our top six tips to help you reach your brand awareness goals.
6 Ways to Increase Brand Awareness
1. Partner With Companies That Emit Stong Trust Signals
Big-name brands have worked incredibly hard to have achieved the level of loyalty and trust that makes them successful. Think of brands like Toyota, Apple, or Nivea — most everyone knows these brands and finds them trustworthy. Why not partner up to leverage their strong trust signals for your own brand?
To demonstrate, let’s look at an example. Claudi & Fin is a food company that sells Greek-style frozen yogurt lollies. A small business on a budget, they decided to try out brand collaborations on various social media channels. One of their most successful means of collaboration has been Facebook competitions, as they find them “an inexpensive way to reach lots of people, build great relationships with other brands and they are also very targeted.”
Using this tactic, Claudi & Fin have increased their brand awareness, which can be seen clearly in their recent brand campaigns.
For instance, the brand teamed up with fellow food company Little Dish to give away a package filled with goodies from each brand. Only nine hours after the competition was launched, the post had a reach of 3,630 impressions, roughly 100 likes, and 50 shares — meaning this post performed 95% better than any other post on their page.
The takeaway? If your brand has the opportunity to work with a well-known and trusted brand, go for it. This way, consumers will start to associate your brand with a well-known one. And, if they find this brand trustworthy, they’ll be more likely to view your brand in a favorable light.
For instance, if a consumer sees your brand in partnership with Apple, they will feel more at ease buying from you. Why? Because your association with a big name like Apple means you are now “validated”. The end goal being: when they think of Apple, something in their brain will spark and they’ll think of your brand, too. This association will then help increase your brand awareness.
Additionally, big companies like Apple have thousands of employees — all people who are now aware of your brand (and perhaps potential clients?). Double win!
However, don’t restrict your brand to partnerships with big companies alone, as they can be hard to get. Keep in mind, smaller brands will also have access to consumers who aren’t currently aware of your brand.
The most important part of any brand partnership is to ensure you chose the right counterpart: a brand that offers a product or service complementary to your own or one that offers something that you don’t.
Back in 2006, J.C. Penny Co. began opening Sephora concessions in their department stores to attract younger consumers. By 2016, there was a Sephora in more than 1,000 locations nationwide. Other department stores then followed suit, including Manor in Switzerland and Galeria Kaufhof in Germany.
By collaborating with Sephora, these department stores opened themselves up to a clientele who may not have been previously aware of them.
2. Make the Most of Influencer Marketing
Love it or hate it, influencer marketing is a necessity — especially if your brand is targeting younger consumers.
A 2020 study by Econsultancy on influencer marketing reported that “61% of consumers, aged 18 to 34, have at some point been swayed in their decision-making by digital influencers.” Now, influencer marketing does suffer from a bit of a catch-22. Naturally, if you want to increase brand awareness, you’ll try to partner with the influencers who have very large followings.
However, that approach won’t necessarily bring you the most value. In an age where authenticity is valued most in retail, micro-influencers are the way to go. They may have a more limited reach but, according to that same Econsultancy post, “Micro-influencers overtake top-tier talent, and 61% of consumers say they produce the most relatable content”.
Therefore, if you want to improve your brand awareness, focus on increasing positive brand awareness.
Mini Case Study: Zara
In 2019, Zara experienced the benefits of using micro-influencers. The fashion brand launched a #DearSouthAfrica campaign to coincide with the official opening of their online store in South Africa.
The day before the big launch, Zara was the top trending name globally, thanks to the highly engaged audiences of their chosen micro-influencers. The hashtag, which was trending at number six, reached 6.25 million people worldwide — climbing to 7.88 million by the time of the store launch.
Now that’s what we call a strong brand campaign!
3. Harness the Power of Content Marketing
Content marketing is not just about keyword rankings and backlinks — it’s also an amazing way to tell a story. And if you can tell your story well, it will not only resonate with your target audience but will also result in increased brand awareness.
Joyce Ang of Instasize agrees with us, saying:
"People love to connect with brands on a more personal level so, by telling them your story, you have increased your chances of being remembered.
Another way of achieving recall with your audience is to release consistent campaign imagery. Whenever you post something on social media, you can repeatedly use visual elements like a certain color palette, a border style or pattern, or even a particular font to increase familiarization with potential customers. This is one way of strengthening brand awareness through content marketing."
While other marketing methods like paid ads can tell consumers who your brand is and what you’re selling, content marketing can showcase what your brand represents and the qualities that make it unique.
One way to do this is by telling your story online. Provide people with information on how your brand started, what you believe in, what your brand values are, and how you’ve succeeded to date. As Joyce explained, consumers love to connect with brands on a more personal level — which can be achieved through artful storytelling.
Another example comes from Nick Greene, Co-Founder and Creative Lead at Apollo Digital, who incorporated content marketing into the company's brand strategy. Subsequently, brand awareness rose significantly for the relatively new company.
However, Nick took a more generalized approach — focusing less on the brand story and more on providing useful information on a topic important to his target audience.
“We used this one piece of content to make sure most people in our target audience had heard about us. Here is what we did:
1. Created EPIC content. We wrote a mega-guide to SaaS marketing. 14k words, 41+ strategies, 50+ case-studies. The key here is to create really, really good content that people will care about. 2. Promoted the hell out of it
This resulted in (so far - we're still promoting it):
5,000 traffic in 2 days
Hundreds of upvotes on HackerNews
TONS of love all over the internet / in Facebook groups.”
One important thing to remember from Nick’s story is that content marketing is not just about publishing an article and leaving it online for people to find. With more than 2 million blog posts published daily, it’s very unlikely that your article will be found on its own.
What Nick did to expedite brand awareness was to share his guide online. With an estimated 3.02 billion social media users by 2021, it can be one of the easiest ways to share your brand with a vast amount of people in a short period of time.
But is promoting your content on social media enough to increase brand awareness? Sadly not. Take a look at the next point for an extra bump.
4. Utilize SEO for Brand Awareness
The inclusion of SEO in this article should come as no surprise, as there are many ways in which SEO can increase brand awareness. However, in this instance, we’ll focus specifically on targeting long-tail keywords.
It’s as simple as this: high search engine rankings will do wonders for your brand awareness. Not only will your brand be easier to find, but the higher you rank, the more credible your brand will be in the eyes of your audience.
Bear in mind, however, that this really is a long-term strategy — especially for those coveted first-page spots. Still, it’s worth it. And the key to success? Using the right keywords in your campaigns.
And if you really want to get the most out of search engines, choosing long-tail keywords that are relevant for your industry, are good for local search, and fit with your brand is vital. This is what will happen over time: your target audience will search for a product or service in your business category and will be exposed to your website and brand if they are well-positioned.
Let’s consider an example: Say that your target audience is athletes in the United States. These athletes are looking for a running backpack and type “backpack” in the search bar.
According to Ahrefs, this search term has a difficulty level of 42, putting it in the “hard to rank for” range. However, “running backpack water” has a much lower ranking difficulty score.
Brands such as Salomon, Ultimate Direction, Kalenji, Adidas, and Asics have already taken advantage of this keyword gap and created useful content. Therefore, when it’s typed into Google’s search bar, this is what appears:
Using this tactic, when athletes search for another running item, there’s a higher chance they’ll remember Salomon or Kalenji. The takeaway? Don’t underestimate the power of search engines and the visibility you get from rich snippets and featured snippets — be it Google, Bing, or anything with a search bar, such as Amazon.
Amazon is another great example of a company that makes the most out of long-tail keywords. In fact, they generate 57% of book sales due to long-tail product descriptions, meaning they’re catching consumers who are highly motivated to purchase a certain product.
Furthermore, SEO is good for more than just appearing in search results for long-tail keywords — you can also use reviews to increase your appearance in search results and improve brand awareness. And that’s precisely what ReputationManagement.com did for a former client.
The brand’s SEO Manager, Jonas Sickler, told us:
“We focused on improving sentiment in the search results for the brand name as well as on ‘reviews’ of the brand.
We wire-framed a new customer reviews page on our client's website and provided all technical and content guidance to execute the project. We also helped the company establish a process to earn more reviews across a variety of online review platforms.
We also provided guidance to address inaccuracies and violations on community web pages that mentioned the brand. As one result, the company achieved a more accurate and sustainable Wikipedia entry that also facilitated a more accurate Google Knowledge Panel.
Here are the results of our engagement with the customer:
They recovered $32 million in monthly revenue after we flipped their search results from negative to positive.
We established a customer review program that took them from 3 negative reviews to 12,000 five-star 'Excellent' reviews.
We increased the Google click-through rate by 456% on positive branded 'review' content.”
5. Be Aware of What is Going On Around You
All the tips we’ve provided up to this point need one additional ingredient to succeed: awareness.
Now, we don’t mean the brand awareness we’ve been discussing — we’re referring to your marketing team’s awareness of what’s happening in their industry. What does your target audience want? How can you help them?
Teodora Lozan, a SaaS Marketer at Socialinsider, did just that and earned great results.
“We saw a lot of people worrying about Instagram removing the ability to view posts' likes, which for social media managers makes it harder to understand the value of external experts or influencers they hired. So we created a free chrome extension that shows this information. We sent the news to a few key publications and the news was quickly picked up by big publications from around the world.
The result? Major publishers published articles in 5+ languages including Techcrunch. Forbes and Esquire Russia. This, in turn, resulted in over 2,400 downloads."
Remaining aware of what’s going on around you should not only apply to your target audience — although they are most important — but also to marketing trends.
Take video content, for example. Online video consumption has been rising globally over the last few years, with an expected 100 minutes watch time per day by 2021. Considering 83% of marketers already believe that video is becoming increasingly important, it’s not a trend you want to ignore.
As an example, let’s take a look at how one brand has used video marketing on Facebook to increase brand awareness.
Mini Case Study: Visit Trentino
Trentino is an Italian holiday region that, after noticing a fall in visitor numbers, wanted to reconnect with two primary tourism markets: the Czech Republic and Poland.
In order to achieve this goal, the Visit Trentino campaign needed to generate effective ads in a short period of time. Therefore, they decided to transform existing ads into a video for Facebook.
The video included branded templates in each scene, a motivational message midway through, and a strong call-to-action (CTA) at the end. The ads were shown over a three-week period in June-July of 2019 to a broad audience.
Visit Trentino achieved the following results:
An 8.3 point lift in brand awareness amongst consumers aged 55–64 in the Czech Republic
A 5.6 point lift in brand awareness amongst consumers aged 25–34 in Poland
6. Go offline
With so many brand marketing techniques revolving around the digital world these days, we often forget the value of going offline.
Vaishali Badgujar, a Content Marketing Specialist at Time Doctor, found conferences to be of great value when increasing brand awareness.
"We run a conference called Running Remote. It has become the world's largest ever in-person conference focused on building and scaling remote teams. We started it in 2018 and it took place in Bali. It was the first year and we didn't have a big community or partnerships to promote our event.
Then our co-founder, CMO and co-organizer, Liam Martin decided to appear on as many podcasts as he could to connect with link-minded people and spread the word about Running Remote.
We discovered that out of all other forms of advertising, podcasts were more effective. Here's Liam's video explaining how we executed this approach:
"Liam appeared on 59 podcasts in 90 days and it resulted in 30 tickets sold for the conference (earned $400 per podcast) and more indirect benefits - built good connections, ended up in getting good partnerships, many podcasters promoted our event on their social media."
To close out this point, here’s a bonus tip from Kas Szatylowicz, Content Manager at Digital Olympus.
"Out of numerous ways to bring the world's attention to your company, the 'offline' methods are probably most underrated, especially in B2B. Increasing your brand awareness using social media or PPC can work well, but here, at Digital Olympus we chose to try the alternatives. What works best for us are industry events.
We run a huge conference for digital marketers every year, as well as sponsor and attend others. We also heavily focus on developing our personal brands (e.g. Alex Tachalova the CEO does a lot of public speaking) and connecting that with the company brand. Real-life promotion during the events works extremely well in the B2B world where connections are sometimes everything.
We not only increase the overall brand awareness but also gain trust and reach a very specific audience that we are interested in marketing to."
Bonus Tip: Brand Your Materials
Here’s one for the offline marketing lovers among you: use branded packaging.
According to Packaging Digest, “studies show that 74% of young adults are more likely to share a photo of their product packaging online and almost 40% of overall consumers share packaging on social media that has an interesting gift-like design.”
The All England Club took advantage of this during the 2018 Summer Olympics. Riding their success at both the Olympic and Paralympic games, the organization created a carrier bag that — thanks to its association with a popular event — would become an object of desire and a means to increase their brand awareness. Two for one!
Understandably, many brand marketers struggle to effectively and accurately measure their brand metrics. But you don’t have to be one of them!
Keep in mind, it’s crucial that you measure your brand awareness at all levels — not just at the general population level but also at your target audience level. And don’t forget to measure the brand awareness of your competitors!
Of course, just tracking your brand awareness won’t make it grow. However, it will help you figure out which direction to go. For example, if you see that your brand awareness is at 6%, but your main competitor stands at 12%, you have now a benchmark and a goal to strive for.
A quick tip: think wisely about the target audience you want to track and the competitors you want to keep an eye on. If you constantly change your setup in your brand tracking tool, you’ll miss out on insightful data changes.
This is, of course, not a complete list. There are dozens more ways to boost brand awareness — both good and bad. However, these six points are a great place to start.
In closing, don’t depend on quick fixes to increase brand awareness, and certainly don’t take paths that could eventually cause harm. Take your time and think long-term and you’ll be able to increase brand awareness the right way with the right people.