Introduction - What Is Brand Awareness?
In the simplest terms, brand awareness means getting the word out about your business and, as a result, what it offers. If a consumer understands what kind of products or services you provide when they see your logo or hear your business’s name, you’re winning the brand awareness game. If your brand awareness is so on point that consumers’ positive perceptions of it result in separating your business from the competitive pack, you’re really knocking it out of the park.
Done properly, brand awareness creates relationships by building trust. If you’re consistent in what you offer and you treat your customers with respect, you’re in the best possible position to not only attract new customers but to retain both new and not new indefinitely. And when existing customers always know what to expect the next time they do business with you, they’ll be more likely to recommend your business to people they directly or indirectly influence.
So brand awareness in essence creates mutualism: Everyone benefits.
Brand awareness also helps with search engine optimization (SEO) by way of familiarity, since people aware of your brand who search on your business name or other branded terms — terms directly related to your brand; if the retailer City Boutique sells women’s fashions, a branded term example would be “City Boutique dress” — will likely find your business more easily.
And then there’s brand equity: the combination of how your customers perceive your business, their experiences with it, and their overall opinions of it. Brand awareness is the foundation of positive brand equity, which has a direct, strong impact on sales because people who feel good about a business are more likely to spend money on its products and services — usually on an ongoing basis.
As your brand develops and matures, it’s important to understand the difference between brand awareness and brand recognition, as they’re similar but notably different concepts.
Brand awareness involves informing and reinforcing that your business exists, offers certain products and services, and has a recognizable personality to it, whereas brand recognition involves recognition by way of the unique visual and audio cues associated with a business. For example, Coca-Cola’s iconic bottle logo and distinctive use of the color red, or the soundbites that have become associated with brands via commercials, such as Nationwide’s “Nationwide is on your side” jingle.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this blog post:
Ways to build brand awareness
Strategies for developing brand awareness
Examples of successful brand-awareness efforts
Measuring your brand-awareness efforts
Using Snapchat to build brand awareness
Types of Brand Awareness
Brand awareness consists of several different facets, each serving a particular purpose and satisfying a specific goal while contributing to the overall brand- awareness big picture. For context, let’s first take a quick look at brand awareness in terms of its role in an engagement tool called the marketing funnel.
The marketing funnel is a simple model used in advertising that reflects the customer journey and provides a foundation for building ad campaigns and other marketing initiatives that tap into that journey. Because of its universal applicability, businesses of all kinds can utilize the marketing funnel to help guide their marketing and advertising decisions and to predict outcomes, including on Snapchat.
The funnel has three stages or levels: awareness, consideration, and conversions. Awareness involves spreading the word; consideration involves getting people to think about a brand or purchasing a product; and conversions involve convincing potential customers to take action and ‘convert’ into actual customers, often via a purchase.
With that in mind, four different types of brand awareness help set the stage for moving into the consideration phase of the funnel.
Brand recall refers to a consumer’s ability to remember the name of a brand in relation to its branding components and its products or services, either on their own or with minimal help. Major brands are major in part because they’ve been able to command brand recall on a large scale.
Brand recognition is the ability of consumers to recall a brand in relation to competitors based on identifying characteristics such as logos, taglines, marks, jingles, packaging, brand colors, stylized advertising, etc. Think talking geckos or brown delivery vehicles.
Top-of-mind awareness refers to a brand or specific product being the first to pop into a consumer’s head when thinking of a particular industry or product category. What’s your favorite grocery store? It’s now top-of-mind.
Brand dominance is evidenced by consumers considering one business to be the main, if not only, source in a given market, so much so that the emotional connection causes the customer to proactively promote the brand even if the customer has nothing to gain. An athlete lives by Nike - Nike’s established brand dominance.
Setting achievable awareness goals aligned with these types is highly important and recommended while traveling through the funnel. When a business is able to establish solid footholds in all four areas, it can fully reap the rewards brand awareness brings.
Most people (66%) say they’ve been inspired to purchase from a new brand after seeing social media images of that brand from other consumers. This increases with Gen Z (73%) and Millennials (67%.), the two generations that make up a majority of people on Snapchat.¹
Ways to Build Brand Awareness
You’re ready to introduce your brand to the world — now what?
In conjunction with developing and implementing some key strategies (we’ll get to those in a bit), a multi-channel approach is the best bet for accelerating brand awareness. That means looking at the online and offline resources available to you, assessing their relevance, reach potential, and ROI (return on investment) implications, and simultaneously activating those that make the most sense. Some channels to include:
Social platforms were made for building brand awareness, literally and figuratively. Each of the major players offers a similar but different set of possibilities, particularly when it comes to the demographics they cater to and the promotional capacities they facilitate between organic posts and paid ads. You can use Snapchat to increase brand awareness for your business.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) for your website
Search engine optimization is the practice of grooming your website to score as highly as possible with search engines such as Google and Bing through the use of language, keywords, formatting, and layout. Directly related to SEO, search engine marketing involves using paid advertising to ensure that your business is as visible as possible in search engine results. The importance of these two forms of online marketing cannot be overstated as they’re both crucial tools for getting potential customers to find your brand organically. The higher your brand appears in search results, the more it will be seen, bolstering brand awareness like few other options can or will.
Both online and in-person events provide the opportunity to physically present your brand through signage and overall presence, to network with potential partners, and to get a good look at what your competitors are doing with their brand-awareness efforts. Online events tend to be more affordable and offer greater reach, whereas physical events provide for the all-important human interactions that tend to be more solidifying and better for building personal relationships — so both are worth investigating and utilizing.
If your business is local, make a concerted effort to connect with your community by getting involved with groups, events, and the like, regardless of whether or not they’ve got anything to do with what your business offers. Donations, sponsorships, and charity participation are great ways to make a lasting impact and establish your business as a community leader. By conveying that you’re interested in the community’s goings-on, you’ll be able to expand your networks and extend your reach to community members who in turn will be more likely to spread the word.
Once you’ve determined the most promising avenues for your brand, you’ll want to figure out how to use them to your advantage. Some ideas:
Have some fun with your social media presence, and take some risks to whatever degree is appropriate for your brand. Differentiation is a powerful tool for getting attention, standing out in a crowd, and amplifying your brand’s personality. Be genuine in your presentation, conversational in your messaging, creative with your imagery (user-generated video content goes a long way these days), both in your organic postings and your paid advertising campaigns. Interact with people in comments sections and groups as much as possible. Remember: Authenticity and creativity rule in that domain.
Along with consistent branding in your paid social advertising, make sure even your organic content features your logo, color scheme, slogan or tagline, etc. as much as possible. The more people get exposed to your brand identity, the better the chance that they’ll remember you.
Collaborate with other businesses. Put together a co-marketing campaign plan, one designed for online implementation, the other for offline. Then assemble a list of potential marketing partners and pitch them on joining forces for mutual benefit. Once an alliance is struck, you’ll save money using the partnership approach plus establish a relationship that could prove to be a long-term union.
Work with influencers. Invest some time in combing social platforms and asking around to find respectable personalities with considerable followings who are interested in what you offer and willing to advocate for your business. Consider sweetening the deal by offering a discount, freebie, or other promotional device to entice their followers to support you both by patronizing your business and endorsing it to their circles of influence.
Build relationships with local and online media. Create press releases and distribute them as broadly as possible to everything from syndicated news outlets to podcasts (and be sure to follow up consistently until your story’s either picked up or passed over). Make yourself available for interviews and be prepared to succinctly articulate what it is you do and offer via an elevator pitch.
Become a thought leader. Use media and podcast interviews as well as speaking engagements at conferences, guest editorials on relevant news sites, video tutorials, and other types of content to position yourself as a premier, trusted pacesetter in your industry.
And, of course, there’s advertising. It’s a good idea to make a modest investment in running always-on ad campaigns on social media and other platforms (especially search engines), so that you’re consistently putting your brand in front of people. Your advertising messaging should be simple, personable, and reflective of your business’s unique personality, and should always focus on how your business can benefit the people in your target audience. Set a reminder to check your ads and analytics once a month or so to stay on level, and make any necessary adjustments such as updating the headline or swapping out imagery for a fresh approach.
66% of consumers have been inspired to purchase from a new brand after seeing social media images from other consumers.¹
Strategies for developing brand awareness
Be consistent with branding, messaging, and frequency, especially with organic social media content, blog posts, and across your advertising. Social is most effective when it’s consistent, so create a schedule and stick to it. Lean on tools such as MeetEdgar
, or SocialPilot
that allow you to schedule social media content and blog posts — if you’re able to plan ahead, you can use those services to streamline your strategy and ensure you always have fresh content out there.
Build relationships anywhere and everywhere: influencers, the media, loyal customers, or just about anyone else you come across, online or off. Be diligent about maintaining good relationships with people in your circles. You never know when connections might pay extra dividends; for example, a journalist might proactively reach out when they’re assigned a story that’s related to your industry, looking for an interview or quote. Also, strong alliances are exponentially more potent than solo efforts. You could meet someone at a tradeshow whose next startup wants to partner with you, and that could change your business’s entire success trajectory.
Use video as much as possible. Video works
with both organic and paid social media posts. You might want to become a video blogger and start a YouTube channel
where you establish your thought leadership and further amplify your brand. Many blog solutions allow you to pull videos into posts, too, so you can use them there as well. And most advertising platforms allow for video within select ad formats, which tend to perform better universally.
Cross-share content between channels. Writing a guest editorial? Make sure you mention it across your social media accounts
. Got a video ad in play? Create a short making-of reel for use on YouTube and your blog. An awesome review just came in? Add it to your website testimonials and your next newsletter. In short, repurpose useful, relevant content everywhere you can. In so doing, you’ll have the chance to reinforce your brand with expected and unexpected subsets of your target audience while providing them with a more cohesive customer journey.
Examples of successful brand awareness efforts
“Once you’ve built a brand, selling becomes way easier.” Blissy co-founder Vahe Haroutounian’s insight may seem obvious at first listen. But in his case, it’s been thoroughly proven by outstanding sales results.
Blissy entered the home bedding market in 2019. They quickly came to realize that their flagship product — an antibacterial, 100% pure mulberry silk pillowcase — was frequently being gifted by parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren.
Understanding that their target audience skewed heavily toward young people, they kicked off an awareness advertising campaign on Snapchat targeting that demographic with largely user-generated video ads showing peers enjoying their product.
Along with showcasing their pillowcases, they knew that Snapchat’s users have a proclivity to share brands and purchases they’re excited about, so they made sure to include their logo throughout their video ads to actively associate the brand with their product and blissful sleep.
“Snapchat has been the best platform for us in terms of brand reach, you truly get the most impressions for your money,” Vahe reported. “With Snapchat we get 5X the impressions for the same marketing budget, which is an easy transition to sales.”
Founded by computer engineer and former commercial airline pilot Sima Mosbacher, Moitié Cosmetics joined the beauty products market in 2018 with the goal of helping women build confidence with their products.
Moitié’s initial Snapchat awareness campaign ads focused on their eyelash products, employing user-generated video snippets that showcased customers wearing their lashes. The combination of brand elements and real-world application within those advertising vehicles proved to resonate with customers, with brand awareness translating into popularity and sales.
Mosbacher sums it up this way: “I recommend [Snapchat Ads] to all other small businesses because it’s so easy to use, and people are going to recognize you and say that, ‘Oh, I definitely know it because I saw it on Snapchat.’”
Measuring your brand awareness efforts
Just like every other marketing initiative, setting measurable, realistic goals is imperative for determining what’s working (and what’s not) in your drive for brand awareness. More than 75% of marketers say they don’t know how many people in their target market are aware of their brand, and almost 70% say they don’t even know how to measure brand awareness.²
Starting with the obvious, optimizing your website for SEO and the best user experience and maximizing your presence on social media are readily attainable.
Once your brand is fully represented in the online world, a wise next step would be to focus on easily measurable, metrics-based goals, largely driven by your advertising activity: attract X new visitors to your website over the next month, or increase organic shares of your social content by X percent.
Keep in mind that whatever objectives you choose based on the end results your business wants to achieve, you want to take every opportunity to expand your awareness universe — every person sharing your brand exponentially increases your exposure, typically at no (or very little) cost to you.
With your goals in motion, you can use brand-mention tools
(also called social listening or social media monitoring tools) and brand-recall tests
— both of which are tied to the awareness types mentioned earlier — to see how your efforts are panning out and to inform your awareness campaigns and overall advertising evolution.
Brand-mention tools enable you to track online conversations, sharing, and overall reach.
Brand-recall tests measure pre-purchase awareness, using surveys to derive samples of customers whose knowledge of a brand or product category is tested. These can work in conjunction with brand-effects tests which measure brand health.
Using Snapchat to build brand awareness
Brand awareness sets the stage for driving customers to your business, cultivating loyalty, and, as a side benefit, creating a free, secondary marketing apparatus for your business based on powerful word-of-mouth influence.
Fuel your brand’s personality upfront with a strong visual identity, develop it from there, and get it in front of the world. Make your brand recognizable and preferred, and your business will grow — that formula creates the hardwiring for a successful outcome every time.
If you have products or services to sell to a younger crowd, Snapchat is the ideal place to launch the brand-awareness advertising chapter of your business’s story. 9 out of 10 young people use Snapchat², opening our app over 30 times daily² to actively share their lives with close friends and family via more than 4 billion daily messages.³ We’ve got the online eyes your brand needs access to.