We are living in a digital world, but that doesn’t mean your brand only exists online. The ways marketers increase brand awareness are evolving all the time.
As a brand manager, you know the value of storytelling and being visible to the right audience at the right time. You know how many mediums can be used to tell your story, and you’re not willing to put all of your eggs in a single basket.
Offline marketing is the overlooked “basket” of 2021. It’s easy to say your entire marketing budget should be dedicated to things like influencer outreach, content marketing, and social media platforms. While it’s true these are incredibly valuable and worthwhile, that doesn't mean offline marketing no longer has a place in traditional campaigns.
In this guide, we’ll explore the ways offline marketing can increase brand awareness, not just in 2021, but also into the future. We might be in a digital world, but offline platforms are adapting just as quickly — and they’re just what today’s marketers need.
The Power of Offline Marketing
What’s in it for you? Why spend so much time (and money) dealing with offline marketing to increase brand awareness?
It’s true that marketing online is often simpler. You can do it from the comfort of your own desk, these are familiar mediums, and it’s largely digital work.
But the truth is in the numbers:
Direct mail has the 3rd highest ROI behind email and social media
In the UK alone, listeners spend an average of 23 hours per week listening to the radio.
68% of marketers today plan to expand their digital strategy into TV ads
All of these statistics go to show just how powerful offline marketing can be. If you know your audience and where they’re spending their time, you can show up in a big way to increase brand awareness. Now, let’s take a closer look at the specific ways to leverage offline marketing.
How Offline Marketing Can Increase Brand Awareness in 2021 and Beyond
While a lot of brand managers mistakenly see TV as old fashioned, they’re missing the bigger picture. TV is rapidly growing. It’s no longer just local channels and cable television. Today, TV is made up of online streaming services and add-ons, and new options are popping up every day.
So why is TV so powerful?
The biggest reason is that viewers can’t skip ads. Unlike online advertisements, TV ads can’t usually be skipped easily, leading to some of the largest completion rates in the industry. In addition, TV has a lot of other benefits like target audience specifications, time of day, captive audience, and multi-channel integration.
To see an example, just look at Hulu. As one of the leading online streaming services, Hulu used well-positioned TV ads on traditional cable television to advertise its live-streaming offerings. Featuring Anna Kendrick, these ads show an exciting alternative to traditional TV subscriptions. Because these ads appeared where the target customers already are (ie. watching TV), this was the perfect way to increase brand awareness.
Think for a second about the collection of pens on your desk. Odds are most of them are from businesses. That’s because an easy, inexpensive way to increase brand awareness around your brand is through promotional products.
What exactly are promotional products?
The list is endless. Let’s face it: people love free things. Better yet, create a useful product that keeps your brand at the forefront of your audience’s mind.
For some inspiration, look at the well-known furniture manufacturer IKEA. In Canada, IKEA temporarily offered “inspiration boxes” to Montreal residents. These inspiration boxes were functional moving boxes decked out in IKEA furniture designs, promoting their popular merchandise in a useful way.
Though it might feel outdated in the digital age, don’t underestimate the power of networking face-to-face to increase brand awareness. Attending local events, speaking at conferences, or even hosting your own in-person events are some of the best ways to get the word out and create authentic experiences.
People trust other people. Sometimes this gets lost on online platforms.
Reclaim that trust with in-person networking events such as:
Hosted influencer nights
Seak at a conference
Create a seminar
Visit local universities or companies
Attend trade shows
Create a showroom for your product
Carvana, one of the biggest online car selling platforms, created its own event to generate excitement for the launch of a new location. With each launch, the brand invited local writers and influencers from the area for a night of learning about Carvana, testing the technology, and good food. This is the perfect way to build lasting relationships with local leaders.
We’ve all had posters catch our eyes throughout the day. Maybe it was the one you passed on the subway with the bold text and bright colors or the modern display on the side of a local building. Either way, you paid attention.
A startling 65% of consumers can recall visual content after 3 days.
It’s safe to say visual marketing works.
Posters include billboards, street posters, shop signs, restaurant posters, and so much more. People like visuals, and they tell your brand’s story.
You’ve probably already heard the buzz behind one of the most influential and talked about billboard designs in recent years. When marketing the film Deadpool, the marketers chose to use billboards to spell out the title in emojis, capturing the internet’s full attention. As Adweek said, it’s so stupid that it’s genius.
Radio is about more than top 40 bops. It’s big business. When you factor in new mediums like online music streaming and podcasting, this is a Brave New World of marketing opportunities.
We all find ourselves listening to the radio. In fact, over 50% of Europeans listen to the radio at least once per day. That’s a huge audience.
If you’re willing to try one radio advertising, the odds are in your favor. Meal kit service HelloFresh spent $446,000 on radio spots in 2016 alone, and now they have of the largest market shares in the meal delivery industry.
Canvassing isn’t just for political campaigns. Going directly to your target consumer without the interruption of ad blockers or other distractions is still one of the best ways to build real relationships.
How do you canvas consumers nowadays?
One easy way is to simply be where your consumers are. Appearing at businesses, local events, and community locations where your target users already are is the best way to grow your brand awareness locally. While there, be prepared to build rapport and help users visualize the product.
Virgin Atlantic did this in the heart of Manhattan by placing first-class seats where consumers could experience them firsthand. Once they sat down, Virgin Atlantic workers would recreate the experience of flying first class with lunch, champagne, and top-level service. Even if they only were able to have that direct connection with a handful of people, they generated quite the buzz.
The best way to make a local impact is to be a force for good in your community.
Why not make a difference while increasing brand awareness? Here are some simple ideas:
Sponsor or participate in a charity event
Give to a local organization
Host a charity night at your establishment or donate a portion of profits
Create a fundraiser
Giving to charity doesn’t just have a positive effect on your local area, it’s also good for business. A startling 70% of Millennials report spending more with brands that support causes. If giving alone wasn’t a good enough reason, brand loyalty should be.
Recently, Stella Artois created a campaign to provide access to clean drinking water to mothers in developing countries. Known as “Buy a Lady a Drink,” this was a great way to build brand awareness about the beer company while also doing good.
How to Measure Offline Success
Finally, how do brand managers measure the success of these offline campaigns? When brand tracking, you need to ensure you know exactly how to stretch your money further.
Using a brand tracker will help you stay on top of your spending and your success without the hassle. It’s all about knowing and tracking the important KPIs. How aware of your brand is your target audience? Would they consider buying from you? What do they associate with your brand? These things matter to your marketing campaign and can improve it, as AirHelp did with their brand tracking data to fuel a new TV campaign.
Here are some tips for success:
Custom Shortlink - The biggest way to analyze your success is to use a custom shortlink. Using yourwebsite.com/billboard or something of this sort is a great way to offer a special perk to people you’ve interacted with while also monitoring success.
Hashtags - Who said hashtags could online be used online? Including custom hashtags in your offline media is a great way to encourage online engagement.
Surveys - Finally, surveying your physical customers and online customers will help understand their customer journey.
Launch Your Next Offline Marketing Campaign
Offline marketing isn’t old fashioned.
And in the marketing world, change is good. As a brand manager, it’s your job to adapt to meet your users’ needs. Yes, we’re living in a digital world, but people still value the same things they always did. They want to know and trust your brand on a personal level.
That’s where offline media truly shines.
If you’re looking for a way to bring your digital marketing even further in 2020 and beyond, look at the offline world around you. It has more potential than you think.