Brand recognition and awareness are some of the most powerful tools that convince customers to convert. When consumers are faced with lots of options, they tend to go with the brand that they have heard of over another. Plus, brand awareness leads to loyalty, which over time, has been proven to increase profits.
Brands are trying all sorts of crazy strategies to capture the attention of their customers these days. Competition is especially fierce, as the market is shifting and customers are getting comfortable buying from global companies and online brands - thanks to the massive amount of options this provides them.
Sadly, most small businesses and startups assume that brand recognition can only be established with a massive marketing budget and years of experience. But thankfully, in today’s digital world, this is no longer the case. There are plenty of strategies you can use to create a brand that your customers will recognize, remember, and actively choose over the competition.
Here are four simple ways to get started.
1. Hone in on Social Connections
Social media is becoming a truly essential part of the buyer’s journey. More and more customers are using this platform to discover new products and to research brands before they buy. Of course, the more followers that your brand has, the more recognized it is going to be. However, the only way to build a large audience on Instagram, Facebook, and any social site is through meaningful connections with your audience.
First, you need to understand what your customers actually want from brands on social media. Sprout Social did a thorough study on how consumers feel about business’ social behaviour and found that it was extremely important that the brand was authentic, genuine, and helpful, as well as had a real “personality.” Customers also reported that they were more likely to purchase from brands that were responsive and offered promotional or educational content; while they were less likely to buy from brands that made jokes about competitors or were highly political.
It’s important that you understand your customers’ emotions on social media and work to build a connected community surrounding your brand messaging. Respond to people’s comments and track your mentions to look for opportunities for engagement. Share user-generated content frequently and pay attention to your audience sentiment.
2. Focus on Memorable Imaging
When it comes to branding, visual associations can be very powerful. In general, most people are visual thinkers and learners, so a picture or image will be much more memorable than a text or a phrase.
Think about some of the most memorable brand images from commercials or advertisements. Some good examples were the famous Coca-Cola Christmas ad with the polar bears or the Budweiser Clydesdales. A colour association is super important, too. When you see red and yellow, there is a good chance you think of McDonald’s, and the dark green straw on a coffee cup immediately signals that it is from Starbucks.
Humans are highly visual creatures, and they pick up on colours, fonts, and overall aesthetics almost instantly. Therefore, your brand needs to have a unique look that people will be able to recognize immediately. Make sure that your entire marketing team is on the same page with your brand’s overall look and personality. You may want to create a vision board with colour schemes and font choices to create a representation of your image and ensure that every piece of marketing content matches up with this vision.
3. Own Up to Your Mistakes
There’s nothing worse than a company that either ignores when they’ve made a mistake or issues a half-hearted apology. Should your brand make any missteps (no matter how small or large), be sure that you are open about how you will fix the problem. In today’s world, it is imperative that you build trust with your customers - this can only be done through honesty and transparency.
Starbucks did a perfect job of this when they were faced with a scandal back in May of 2018. There were several incidents where employees were accused of racist discrimination, and many customers were threatening to boycott the brand. Starbucks took to social media to issue not just an apology, but also a clear action plan to address the problem. They shut down nearly all of their stores for an entire day to train employees on racial-bias and prevent discrimination in the future.
Starbucks Apology on Instagram Account for Racist Discrimination by Store Employee
You will likely make a mistake at one point or another, and it is important that your team is prepared to handle these problems. Customers will take notice that you are going the extra mile to correct missteps, which will build their trust and can turn a negative situation into a positive.
4. Find Your Competitive Advantage and Stick to It
When a brand is all over the place and hard to pin down, it can cause customers to be confused. As the saying goes, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” If you are going to make your brand truly memorable, you need to define that one thing that you do best and make sure your customers know exactly what that is.
Think of Walmart as an example. They don’t claim to have the best quality prices or a great customer experience, but their old slogan says it all: “Always low prices. Always.”
- What makes your brand truly unique?
- Do you offer simply the highest quality, the best customer service, true personalization, or the latest innovative designs?
- Why should a customer choose your product or brand over a competitor?
Once you are able to really nail down that single competitive advantage, much of your advertising and branding messages should revolve around making that crystal clear.
Making your brand memorable is going to take time. Since customers are inundated with advertising from nearly every direction these days, it can take multiple interactions before they begin to recognize your name or logo. However, by following these strategies, you can start making a more lasting impression with consumers that result in higher conversions and more loyal customers in the long run.