When you need to cover up a cut, do you ask for a bandage or a Band-Aid? When you see candy-coated chocolates in your Trail Mix, do you automatically call them M&M’s?
When the brand is so familiar that we often substitute the name of the brand for the common name of the product (like Kleenex for facial tissue), the brand has become a proprietary eponym. Imagine your brand so familiar to people that people use the name of your brand to mean the generic term for the product!
This is brand awareness at its highest level. Although most of us may not reach the level of proprietary eponym, we at least want people to know who we are when they see our brand. We want people to remember who we are and what we do. For instance, Dr. Pepper is a familiar brand, but people don’t often replace the generic term for soda with Dr. Pepper like they do with the term Cola or Coke (derived from Coca Cola).
The most common way to build brand awareness has been the use of display ads. These are still being used in the days of the information age because they tend to generate more clicks. However, there are other ways you can get your brand in front of people’s faces besides just using a display ad.
You won’t become a familiar brand overnight, but there are ways to build brand awareness over time that will make you a lasting memory in people’s minds. The following are 20 ways you can build your brand and make a lasting impression on consumers.
You may not reach the level of proprietary eponyms like Kleenex and Duct Tape, but you can become a familiar brand that’s worth being supported by consumers. Dr. Pepper may not be Coca Cola, but many consumers still support the Dr. Pepper brand because it gives them another option they’re familiar with concerning that industry.
That said, here are 20 strategies that will have you well on your way to becoming an established brand:
1. Give Your Brand Unique Personality
Nothing sets you apart from the rest of the competition like good ole-fashioned humor or some other unique approach to promoting your brand. If your industry allows room for humor, then go for it because it will make a lasting impression on consumers.
You’ve probably already heard of Poopouri and the Old Spice commercials that inject humor. And now, the new viral sensation in the unique category is the Charmin “Enjoy the Go” campaign. In this campaign that uses a humorous jingle, Charmin has gone from being “squeezably soft” to becoming the best thing to give you a “Shiny Hiney.”
Who doesn’t love freebies? Put your brand on pens, coffee mugs, koozies, keychains, etc. to get your brand in front of freebie lovers at local events.
3. Freemium With Credit
There are several online products out there that have freemium offers for their users. The freemium option usually has a watermark or credit line, and there is always a paid version of the software that gives users the option to exchange the watermark with their own logo.
Because there will be many users that only need the free version, it will give your brand a lot of exposure each time they use their free account. Not only will it draw more users of the free version, but it will also compel users to check out your paid versions.
In short, having freemium products greatly increases brand awareness and directs your business to potential customers.
4. T-Shirt Marketing
People love t-shirts—especially ones that have logos. And what better way to satisfy this crave for t-shirts in the modern wardrobe than to make people aware of who you are? According to an article by Matt Brussels, Founder of The T-Shirt Bakery, T-shirt marketing is a great place to start when it comes to establishing brand awareness because it’s cost-effective and the campaign lasts a very long time.
5. Impressive Guest Content
Producing great content is a great way to get people to know your brand. However, if people are unaware of your brand, you can give them a head start by guest posting on other people’s blogs.
Although it may take a longer time to see results from posting guest content than it does from some of the other ways to establish brand awareness, it’s still a method that works well for putting your name out there on the web.
Remember, people want quality content, so make sure you give your audience content worth reading. If you’re going to benefit from guest posting, you must make sure your content establishes you as an authority in your industry.
In the example below, Matt Brussels, Founder of The T-Shirt Bakery, does a guest post on PeoplePlus Enterprise. Brussels is a graduate of PeoplePlus’s New Enterprise Alliance Program, a program that gives people the training and tools needed to start a successful business. As you can see, his guest post is getting some attention. We even linked to it in #3 above.
6. Event Marketing
There are so many ways you can do event marketing. Which makes it a very creative brand awareness tool. It’s one thing for people to come to your store or visit your website, but they don’t get to see you host special events every day. With the right amount of advertising, you will be able to generate a crowd of people who never knew what you were about until this event.
For example, on September 25, 2019, inbound marketing and sales software development company HubSpot hosted an event in Boston, Massachusetts called "Women@INBOUND Happy Hour." HubSpot partnered with a job platform called Werk to create a career networking event for professional women. This was the perfect opportunity for businesswomen from around the world to become more familiar with HubSpot’s brand and how it can enhance their profession.
7. Local Partnerships
Want to really let people know who you are in your area? Then you may want to consider local partnerships. This strategy works for larger businesses also, but it’s a jewel for local businesses to join forces—especially when the businesses are from two completely different industries.
So, why not sponsor a local sports team or become a charity event sponsor? There’s nothing that says Here I am more than seeing your logo all over the place at public events!
Look at how Gringos Locos, a Mexican Restaurant and Orlando, FL, is a sponsor of their local Tech and Beer chapter. By doing so, Gringos Locos are getting their brand in front of hundreds of tech employees each month, who also happen to have offices within walking distance of the downtown restaurant.
8. Social Media Contests
Run a social media contest; it’s a great way to get users to share your contest posts and get more users familiar with your brand.
Earlier in 2019, Sticker Mule did 100 days of giveaways on Instagram, where they gave away everything from free custom stickers to AirPods to a Sweet Potato Pie. Rules on how to enter varied depending on the giveaway, but was usually centered around social media activities such as “liking” the post, “tagging” friends in the comments section, and leaving a comment.
Including rules like tagging friends is a great way to get in front of new audiences.
9. LinkedIn Publishing
You are now familiar with the benefit of guest posting, but did you know there are also other ways to get your name out to people over the web? LinkedIn has a new feature that will allow users to publish posts using LinkedIn’s publishing tool.
Posts getting shared a lot can end up in LinkedIn’s home stream where more users have access to the post. More exposure means people will begin to see you as a thought leader in your industry. Personal blogs also work, but you must get them out there by sharing them.
10. Social Focus
Know what social media platforms are more compatible with your business. There are several options out there, but you will soon find that it’s virtually impossible to dedicate time to all of them equally.
Also, you will soon find out that not all platforms will work for your kind of business. However, once you find the one that seems to work well with your business, make sure you devote most of your social media marketing to that platform.
For example, if your business deals a lot with photos or you do a lot of crafts, Instagram will be a great platform for you. If you’re into listicles for your blog, Pinterest will be a great platform for you.
For the writer, Tumblr and Facebook are great. For public figures, Social focus doesn’t mean you completely abandon the other platforms. It just means focus on the one that works best for you.
To determine your best platform, do some analytics to see which social media platform is generating the most traffic.
11. Pro Storytelling
If you’re looking to really be set apart from your competition, then do some storytelling. Emotionally engaging stories that resonate within your users are certain to make your brand one they will never forget.
Our friends at Known Supply do this particularly well. Known Supply is committed to bringing transparency to the fashion industry by highlighting the individuals who make each piece of apparel.
Not only does the person who makes it sign the inside of each shirt, but they also have a page on Known Supply’s website with information about them. You can even send a thank you message. This is the kind of storytelling that gets remembered.
12. Referral Programs
Users are more than happy to share your product or service when you offer them a bonus for doing so. Payoneer is a prime example of how the use of referral programs can growth hack a business.
You can create a podcast where you discuss topics within your industry or where you conduct interviews with competing industry experts. It helps you to network with like-minded business owners, and it’s a good way to build your brand.
Even celebrities take advantage of the brand-building power of podcasting—especially when they want to maintain relevancy with the next generation of fans. However, the downside to using this method is discovering if your industry has already saturated the podcasting method—much like marketing, economics, and life coaching.
From a company branding standpoint, Shopify does an incredible job of delivering valuable, on-brand content to their audience with their Shopify Masters podcast, which features businesses that are using the platform well and gives valuable business advice.
Also, you must remember that not all industries will lend easily to podcasting as a viable brand-building tool. So, if your niche is not getting much time on the air, you could bring awareness to your brand with frequent podcast advertising.
14. Remarketing Campaigns
Remarketing is when you market to users you’ve already reached through marketing, but the users didn’t convert to sales. When you engage in remarketing, your ads appear all over the internet on sites these users frequent.
This is a very powerful brand-building tool because it puts your business in people’s faces every time they are on the web—be it their favorite blog, favorite social media site, favorite online store, etc. Your presence being everywhere gives the appearance that your brand is a lot bigger than it may actually be, which will increase the likelihood of conversion.
15. PPC Advertising
If you want to be seen in the Google ranks, PPC is a good place to begin your quest of competing with today’s SEO. Thanks to targeted keyword search, this approach allows you to start showing up at the top of Google search result pages.
People may not click on your ad, but they will get a brief look at what you’re about, which will build brand awareness. For more information on PPC, start here.
16. Paid Social Advertising
Because of the increasing difficulty of doing organic social marketing, many companies are resorting to paid social advertising. Ads on Facebook and Twitter are very affordable and will help build brand awareness. Users may not instantly convert, but you will stay in their minds the next time they need what you have to offer.
Although this method is not advisable for all businesses, there are some brands that can benefit from being controversial. For instance, you could do like Stacey Dash, best known for her acting role in the movie Clueless and take what would be a stance most people would think you would not take.
In 2016 on Good Morning America, Dash, an African American of Bajan and Mexican descent, claimed America needed to do away with the BET Awards and Black History Month because these events further created a racial divide.
Her view was not popular among other African Americans. Two years later in 2018, Dash openly expressed her allegiance to the Republican party by running for a congressional seat in a predominantly minority district only later to pull out the race.
Her stance may not have been viewed as positive by many minority figures in America, but it got her the much-needed attention she needed from Republican voters.
18. Influencer Marketing
Guest posting makes you a thought leader to help build your brand, and influencer marketing allows other thought leaders in other niches to endorse your brand.
Think about influencers who are in niches that could work well with yours. For example, let’s say you have a specialty ice cream business. An example of a good influencer for your business would be one from a catering niche.
The goal is to find complementary businesses that will endorse you—not businesses that naturally compete with you. Make it a mutual partnership by endorsing the influencer’s brand to make the relationship a win-win.
An infographic is a vibrant and creative way to share marketing information. These visual aids are loaded with meaningful content that is shared on many websites, which makes infographics an ideal technique for building brand awareness.
The following infographic was used by William Craig, President of WebFX, Inc., in an article he did on distinguishing the difference between web designers and web developers. He used an infographic created by Business coach Shane Show.
20. Car Wraps
Much like how the T-shirt is considered a walking advertisement, the car wrap is a traveling advertisement. Like logo T-shirts, car wraps get a lot of attention. And every time you go somewhere in the vehicle, people will gain familiarity with your brand. You can choose to wrap your personal vehicle or your company vehicle.
Ready, Set, Grow!
These 20 brand awareness strategies are sure to get your brand the recognition it needs. Many of you will become well-known in your industry because of the strategies mentioned here. Maybe some of you have some suggestions of your own you would like to add to this post. If so, let us know.