Every college freshman marketing major can tell you that brand awareness is key to building a customer base. In our modern world, a huge portion of the shopping people do is done online. All it takes is a quick search for a product, and all of your social media on every device you own will bombard you with ads for those products. Brand awareness is often what makes the difference between the item you purchase and the ad you scroll past.
What is Brand Awareness?
If you were to ask, 9 out of ten people would say they know what brand awareness is. If you were to follow up by asking those 9 people what brand awareness is, you would get 9 different answers. Before you can worry about building brand awareness, it is important to settle on what that refers to.
Brand awareness, at its simplest, is knowing a brand exists. If someone were to list 10 brands of laundry detergent, the ones you have heard of are the brands you are aware of. Brand awareness does not require any expertise, or even hard knowledge about the products. It just means you can recognize that it is a brand of detergent.
In a broader sense, brand awareness does have some connotations that are important to think about. The old adage “there is no such thing as bad press” has some truth. With no other factors, when given a choice, consumers will usually buy the item they have heard of over the one they have not.
There are some exceptions to this idea, though. If the only awareness a potential customer has is strongly negative, they will avoid your brand, even if the knowledge has nothing to do with the actual product you provide. For example, sponsoring a controversial political candidate to get your name out there can backfire if your target market associates your brand with that candidate’s behavior.
Targeting is Key
When you want to begin making consumers aware of who you are as a company, think of who your customers are. If you are a grocery store, your customer base is pretty much any adult who shops for groceries. In this scenario, targeting can be pretty broad, but advertising on a kids toy review youtube is probably a waste of your time.
To target, think about the key elements of your average customer. How old are they? Are they a specific gender? Are they part of a specific demographic? These questions will help you to focus your brand awareness campaign to reach the people who might actually spend money with you down the line.
Once you have figured out who your target market is, think about the things they are likely to also be interested in. going back to our grocery example— imagine instead a generic grocery store, it is a high end, organic market, with three locations, all in the same town.
To target this company’s key demographic, you want to think of the types of websites and videos that customer is likely to view. The brand suitability will determine whether or not you will get good results from associated advertising.
If that customer is watching a documentary about the evils of the factory farming system in America, and they see an ad for a sustainable local grocery chain, they will positively associate that company with the farming methods that are being encouraged in the documentary.
Alternatively, if you are a major meat packing company, placing your ad in this video will create a negative brand awareness, because they are able to attach your brand name to the farming techniques that are being described negatively.
To summarize, building brand awareness comes down to a few simple factors. Figure out who you are marketing to, figure out where they are already browsing, and focus your marketing efforts on those areas.