Ways to Improve Your Brand Awareness

Ways to Improve Your Brand Awareness

Brand awareness: It’s one of those concepts you know you need to understand, but perhaps you find it somewhat… hard to pin down? You’re not alone.

On the surface, it’s simple. Brand awareness = people being aware of your brand. But how do you measure that? And what’s the exact brand awareness definition that makes sense for your business?

We explain everything you need to know about how to create an effective brand awareness strategy below.

Why does it matter?

Strong brand awareness and brand recognition means your brand is top of mind when people think about the category of products or services you sell. They recognize your logo or tagline, making it easier to communicate effectively through social content, especially in images or short-form video.

Brand awareness is a required first step before building brand loyalty. After all, customers can’t love your brand until they know and recognize it.

Think about it as the difference between Coke and store-brand generic cola. No one’s wearing a T-shirt showing their love of generic cola. Sure, people buy it – usually because it’s the cheapest option. But no one is evangelizing for the generic brand.

The most valuable brands are usually the most recognizable. Nike is the most valuable apparel brand. Apple wins the consumer technology category. And, yes, Coca-Cola is tops in food and beverages.

You don’t need to reach the level of these behemoths to benefit from brand awareness, but there’s a lot you can model in the way these companies have built their brands.

How to increase brand awareness?

1. Build a recognizable brand

Brand building is an important first step for brand awareness. That means you need to have a clear idea of what your brand is and what it represents. What does your brand look like? Sound like? Stand for?

Some key components to a recognizable brand include:

Brand voice

Brand building is an important first step for brand awareness. That means you need to have a clear idea of what your brand is and what it represents. What does your brand look like? Sound like? Stand for?

Some key components to a recognizable brand include:

Brand voice
What kind of tone do you use? Are you formal or casual? Cheeky or serious? Playful or businessy?

You don’t need to use exactly the same tone in every format. Your brand voice on social media might be more light-hearted and fun than the voice you use in, say, print ads. Your voice might even shift a little from Facebook to TikTok.

But the way you speak to customers and about your product should ultimately be recognizable across channels. Choose some consistent key words and phrases and follow your style guide.

Brand aesthetic

Consistency is key to brand building and brand awareness. That’s true for your look as well as your words.

What are your brand colors? Fonts? What is your overall look on visual platforms like Instagram and TikTok?

Brand values

We’ve talked about defining what you look and sound like. But brand values define who you are as a brand. Having a clear set of brand values is the most important component of building a recognizable brand.

Don’t get hung up on your ideas of what values have to be. This isn’t all about doing charity work or making corporate donations (although those can certainly be aspects of how you live your brand values). This is more about defining what you stand for as a brand and how you embody that in your interactions with everyone from customers to employees.

Make sure your brand values align with those of your target audience. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, 58% of consumers buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values, while 60% of employees use beliefs and values to choose their employer.

This is not about lip service. What you do is at least as important as what you say.

Logo and tagline

You could argue these are part of your brand voice and aesthetic, but they’re important enough they deserve to be called out on their own. These are the instantly recognizable representations of your brand.

If you read “Just Do It” or see the iconic swoosh, you don’t need anyone to tell you you’re looking at a Nike product or ad. Red Bull gives you what? (Say it with me now: Wings.) Put some thought into these aspects of your brand, as they’ll become the currency of your brand.

2. Tell a brand story

This correlates to some of the elements we’ve already talked about, but it goes a little further than your brand values and voice. Your brand story is the narrative of your brand and how it got to be that way.

For an entrepreneur, the brand story might be that they spotted a problem in their day job and invented a solution to fix the problem.

For a larger business, your brand story might be a conglomeration of your mission statement and your history.

Every brand has a story. But the critical component for brand awareness is to tell that story. Use narrative to showcase your brand story through, for example, customer experiences, or by marking key milestones in your growth.

For example, Harley-Davidson produces The Enthusiast magazine, which showcases rider stories as well as riding tips and information about new models and gear. Rider stories also feature on their social channels:

3. Create value beyond your product

A key way to build long-term brand awareness is to create value beyond your product. Think about ways you can inform, educate, or entertain.

Do you or your team have specialized expertise? Don’t keep it to yourselves! Share your knowledge through a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, or newsletter.

This shouldn’t be about making sales directly. Instead, this is a relationship-building and brand awareness practice that creates more opportunities for audiences to get to know your brand.

4. Create shareable content

This overlaps a little bit with the last couple of points, but here we’re focused specifically on creating content that’s easy to share. While it’s not always possible to predict what will go viral, you can certainly take steps to make your content more discoverable and shareable.

First, you should follow social media optimization best practices like posting consistently and at the right time.

But also create content that your followers will want to share. This aligns with the idea of providing value in your content rather than always trying to make a sale. Try adding a call to action that suggests sharing your resources or tagging a friend.

Also make your content easy to share with social sharing buttons on your website and blog, which can help provide social proof.

5. Contribute to your community

Not all brand-building happens online. You can establish brand awareness by contributing to your community in concrete ways like sponsoring events, offering corporate donations, or facilitating employees’ participation in charity work.

This can be as big as the sponsorship of a major event, like Vancouver’s annual fireworks competition, known as the Honda Celebration of Light

Or it could be as simple as contributing an item to a silent auction for a local fundraiser.

6. Offer a freebie

Everyone loves a freebie. Offering something for free is a good way to get skeptical potential customers to try your product. It can also create buzz about your brand online.

Whether it’s a free sample, a free trial or a “freemium” business model, a free taste of what you offer helps get people in the door and spreads awareness of your brand.

What’s the difference between a free trial and freemium?

In a free trial, you offer all or a version of your regular product or service for free for a limited time – usually 7, 14, or 30 days.

With a freemium business model, you offer a basic version of your product for free indefinitely with the option to upgrade to a paid plan for more advanced features.

7. Run social media contests

The point above is all about creating brand awareness by making it easy for people to try your product or service. This point also involves free stuff, but here it’s about using a giveaway to draw attention to your brand on social media.

The “tag-a-friend” entry model of social contests is a particularly good way to get new eyeballs to your social accounts and in turn raise awareness of your brand. If you collaborate with another brand or content creator, you’ll increase your potential new audience size even more.

8. Work with the social algorithms

Instagram may have backed off its recommended content algorithm changes for now, but it nonetheless looks like recommended content is here to stay on Meta platforms. Mark Zuckerberg emphasized this in the latest earnings call:

“Right now, about 15% of content in a person’s Facebook feed and a little more than that of their Instagram feed is recommended by our AI from people, groups, or accounts that you don’t follow. We expect these numbers to more than double by the end of next year.”

And, of course, recommended content on the FYP is the driving force on TikTok.

Recommended content increases the opportunities for discovery on social platforms, as your content is seen by users who don’t yet follow you. That extra exposure is a good way to increase brand awareness.

But as Instagram learned when it leaned too hard into recommended content, people only like what they like. Basically, having your content show up in users’ feeds is only part of the equation. To generate real brand awareness, you have to create content they actually want to see.

We’ve got full blog posts on how to work with each of the social platforms’ algorithms, if you want to dive into this social media marketing strategy:

  • Instagram algorithm (TL;DR: Reels. Reels. And more Reels.)
  • Facebook algorithm
  • Tiktok algorithm
  • Twitter algorithm

To make sure the content you create is actually valuable to your potential audience, you’ve also got to understand who that audience is. For more details, check out our post on how to find your target market.

9. Run awareness ads

The social networks all know that brand awareness is a key business goal for many brands using their tools, which is why they offer ads that specifically focus on awareness.

Which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness? The specific label may vary by platform, but it will always be called something like Awareness, Brand Awareness, or Reach.

“The brand awareness objective is for advertisers who want to show ads to people who are more likely to recall them.

The brand awareness objective gives you the estimated ad recall lift (people) metric, which shows how many people we estimate would remember your ad if we asked them within two days.”

LinkedIn puts it a little more simply: “Tell more people about your products, services, or organization by selecting the Brand Awareness objective for your ad campaigns.”

Meanwhile, TikTok calls its branded hashtag challenge ad format the “master of mass awareness” and one of the “biggest and best ad formats for widespread and unmissable awareness.”

In short, brand awareness ads are a straightforward way to ensure your social advertising budget goes toward building awareness for your brand.