As your Brandstory™ Specialist, I get asked a lot about their brand. Is my brand okay? What’s missing? How can I create a strong brand awareness?
Every brand is different and unique. No two brands are meant to be the same unless they are part of the same group of companies. If the products are different, more often than not, they are branded differently. It is all about making your brand stand out, and stay memorable. The best is when you’re able to stay memorable as a household brand, like Kleenex for tissues, Clorox for clothing bleach, Vanish for cleaning agent for your clothes, Pampers for diapers, and the list goes on.
“Those are large corporations! How about me, the small business that’s starting out?”
Simple. The size of the company of the years in business isn’t a factor to hinder you from your brand success. It all boils down to how serious are you about creating brand awareness for your brand.
With experience working with local brands, we’ve identified these 5 ways to be the most effective to improve your brand — especially when you’re running your business online, and targeting people who are using the Internet as your customers or clients.
1. Go where the crowd is. Follow your consumers.
When I speak to business owners who are not active on social media, don’t own a website or have their business solely running on word of mouth, I tell them to wake up. That’s the hard truth. To survive and thrive in today’s economy, we need to constantly be on a look out of where our ideal customers are. We need to run our own research to understand their behaviours.
- Constant using their mobile phones? Sure, you will be there to follow them.
- On Instagram every 6PM? Find a way to get on that bandwagon (if you haven’t already).
- If the most profitable clients search on Google daily, let’s be in their search results!
Brand awareness can grow when you know where to go, and when to go. You need to follow where your ideal customers are, and change your marketing efforts to suit their behaviour. The most important of all is to know exactly when to channel your efforts.
Once you know where your ideal customers are, and how they are behaving, you will be able to then follow up with the next step.
2. Photos speak a thousand words. Videos a million.
Aesthetics is always very important when building a strong brand awareness, and maintaining brand awareness. When you have a brand that looks good, you — as the potential customer — feel good about it. Let’s use an example of what I find to be a successful brand. Take a look at The Honest Company. I always love the way they carry out their social media account, their website and their videos.
A clean feed, with consistent colours representing the brand, shows that you’ve put careful thought into your business and marketing efforts. Your brand philosophy naturally will show in the photos and videos that you post on your social media feed. It also shows that you care about your business and the way you want your business to be run. So, potential collaborators, business associates and partners (even investors) know if you’re the right fit for them to do business with you.
Another great example is a local brand, Rugby & Co. Every time I see their photos on my Instagram feed, I feel inclined towards tapping into their account to view their whole account. Just one scroll, you’ll notice that the photos on their Instagram account have a consistent look and feel. Rugby is a sport, it’s rustic and cool, just because. As such, they’ve made a very strong brand awareness through their well-curated and created photos.
Allocate budget to hire a professional photographer and videographer to create a campaign for your social media accounts. You can also work together with a social media manager to effectively run your campaigns on social media. Lucky for you, we do all those services and even have an affordable 30-day Social Media Campaign plan for you.
3. Plan your brand strategy & marketing strategy
Sometimes, it helps to get professional help for your brand awareness strategies. There are many experts and specialists who are brand strategists and marketing strategists. You need to understand that your brand image matters. It is the difference between a premium brand and a not-so-premium brand (normally known as a mass-market brand).
Having a clear plan for your brand helps, especially in the colours, theme and format of content you decide for your brand. Reference back to Honest & Co above, their brand strategy in terms of colours and theme is very clear: turquoise or light blue, white and some adorable babies using their products. It helps your followers and audience also understand how they can contribute to your content.
Having a whole view of your marketing strategy would help you and your team understand how they can create content for you. A clear marketing strategy will also help any vendors you hire, like us, understand where to position their work in your marketing efforts. The business is yours, and the direction should be set by the company holistically. A strategist helps you get to that direction, by placing their skills, knowledge and resources in that clear path.
Work with someone whom you trust, and ensure that contracts have been signed for confidentiality before commencing work.
4. Don’t neglect offline marketing
In today’s day and age, we have resources at our fingertips through the help of the Internet. We tend to forget that there’s such a thing as offline marketing. I always make it a point to ask myself this golden question every now and then to get my creative mojo going:
There was no internet in the 70s, 60s, 50s… How can there still be successful businesses running at that time? What did they do right that we can learn from today?
This golden question opened my eyes to realise that the world’s marketing strategies have been divided into two: offline and online. There’s plenty of resources for online marketing now, but those offline marketing lessons need to be learned. You have to pick a book (or someone’s brain). Have coffee with a successful person whom you know have been running a business pre-internet era. Then you’ll realise that most of the things they mention involve offline marketing.
Side topic: Word of Mouth Marketing
The most common response I get as I learned about offline marketing is word of mouth marketing. It literally means to get your words spread from mouth to mouth. You must ensure that your product or service quality is at its optimal. Then, offer your product or service to one person. They love it, they’ll talk about it. People love talking, and especially when they’re shown as a level of authority. That’s pretty much what contributed to the success of Tupperware parties. You grab some friends over, get them to see how you use the Tupperware products. They’ll talk about the products, and then these friends will be inclined to purchasing some. Then, they tell other friends (be it off the street, or through an invitation to the party), and the cycle continues.
The next response I normally get about offline marketing is to have an offline presence. This means to have a pop-up store, set up a booth, rent a rack, rent a shelf, or even place adverts all over town. That’s what offline presence means. How can it help your business? The downside, you cannot accurately track the ROI. Upside, you have access to traffic you’ll never get from the internet. They’ll see, they’ll remember, and they will be curious.
I believe that the two must function together: offline and online brand awareness. We will discuss this in later blog posts.
5. You are the Brand. Be the Brand
This is by far the toughest to follow, and it only applies if you’re the Key Personal of Interest in the company. If you’re the CEO or the Founder, this applies to you. You are the brand, so you must be the brand. What you do, say and engage with must be related to your brand. It must match your brand philosophy, vision and mission. More often than not, the brand philosophy, vision and mission are driven by your own personal philosophy, vision and mission. So that says it all. As the leader of the brand, you must be the brand.
If you haven’t already, you will begin today. With effect from today, you’re only going to talk and post information that relates to your brand. If you’re an accountant with a heart to help your clients avoid tax penalties, you will write in your posts about the amount of money your clients can save when they file their taxes on time. If you’re a makeup artist with an environmentally friendly philosophy, you’re only going to share makeup and beauty tips, surrounding environmental issues. You are the brand, so you have to be the brand.
I hope these 5 tips have given you an insight as to how you can improve your brand and take it to the next level. If you want to improve your brand fast, and you don’t know how to do it, we’re offering an 8-week brand strategy programme. We will break down what you’d like to achieve down to the details, and we will work a plan that works for you. Click here to learn more about our 8-week Brand Strategy Bootcamp