Growing a business has many challenges - finding customers, driving leads, selling, sleepless nights, marketing discovery of prospective clients and much more. Whether you have an innovative product or a quality service to offer, what really makes you stand out? Well, branding most certainly will help.
Let's start with taking a look at what branding is? According to the American Marketing Association, branding is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Think about big brands - Nike, McDonalds, Apple, and so on - they have one major thing in common. They’ve successfully branded by differentiating themselves from others in their industry to consumers. You know their symbols, taglines, and what they stand for. They're consistent and have been for many years.
Overtime, the ability to brand your product or company has become much more complicated. Gone are the days of endless billboards, cheap commercials, and newspaper ads to gain exposure and become a buzzword due to the fact that competition is fierce, premium ad space is expensive, and it is difficult to stand out.
However, to level the playing field, now businesses have opportunities to engage and build brand awareness all over the internet and beyond. Let's take a look at the 5 key ways to start building successful brand awareness, in the modern era.
1. Consistent Brand Representation
Today, with so many social media sites and avenues for ad spend, it is important to relay the same messaging and branding, EVERYWHERE. When, I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Consistency is key. Creating a brand means building trust and relaying promises to your customers, whatever they may be. Be sure to use the same logo, materials, tagline, and posts across all mediums you choose to utilize. Consistency builds trust, your brand, and your values as a company.
Check out this Lyft brand guideline cheatsheet. They know what they are doing.
2. Generate Brand Exposure
Tap into all that there is to offer across the internet. Why? Well, do you want a recognizable brand?
Even if you think your consumers aren’t using a specific site, such as Pinterest (sorry, Pinterest), there is still value in being present across the entire web. Brand exposure will increase traffic to your website's prominent landing pages and expose your brand to more people, even if they might not be customers at that specific time. Set up accounts across all platforms and build a social media strategy: social, professional, and niche sites as well (like organizational pages, charities, directories, etc.).
Driving exposure, drives brand awareness, not just to customers, but to an even broader audience of those passing by.
3. Be Known for a Niche
Constantly speak to your specialties as a product, service, or company. It can be hard to stand out today online with there being so much competition, with free information everywhere, and content constantly at everyone's fingertips. So, you have to determine how can you stand out, as hard as that may be.
One way to stand out is to speak to your niche, and speak to your niche PASSIONATELY. Focus on preaching what it is the brand is known for, what the brand is aiming to specialize in, and how it is aiming to be different. Customer service? Consumer experience? Pick anything, but pick something that holds true value to your business because that will make it easier to be passionate about. People will recognize, and remember, a brand that is known for doing one or two things extremely well vs. the one that claims to be an expert at everything.
4. Identify a Target Audience
Who are you trying to capture with your brand? Find your key demographic and aim for them. Get specific. Think about gender, demographics, interests, geography, age. Find where these people go and speak your message to them. Speak your message the same way they speak.
5. Be Authentic, Damn It!
Stand out, BE REAL and BE YOU. Branding is where you get to be YOU. Show what you want your business to be all about. Be creative, be strategic but never pose your business as something it’s not. What people see across the internet, should be what they see if they were to meet or work with you. And that's all you need in the first place.
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