Brand awareness is one of the most important factors for any brand. It plays a leading role in how many customers make their purchasing decisions. A well-known brand creates acceptance and trust amongst consumers. So, how can particularly small and medium-sized companies – with little or no budget for big advertising campaigns such as for TV, radio or print magazines – increase their brand awareness? There are three possible strategies.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is given in per cent and refers to how well-known the brand is. How many people can (with or without support) remember a certain brand or a company?
The brand’s awareness is determined by surveys, based on three stages: The first brand within a product category that the consumer names is noted in the Top of Mind stage. All the brands which the consumer names after this are part of the Unaided Recalls stage. Brands which the user can only remember if they are provided with the name or shown fall into the Aided Recalls stage.
Strategy 1: Content marketing
Content marketing offers companies the chance to increase their brand awareness. When it comes to this marketing method, we are not just talking about advertising messages, but about useful content which is being searched for by many people online. Companies who provide such content are found more often and can leverage this opportunity to win over customers.
Content marketing places content on a website in the form of information pages (e.g. how-to manuals, services, products), blog articles or white papers for downloading. Although the creation of content usually takes a lot of time, content marketing is a must today – also for companies in the B2B segment.
Important when it comes to content marketing is the frequent production of new content. The more often a company posts content relevant to the target groups, the better. Some companies have the financial means to employ their own team of authors. Others have freelance authors or content agencies create the content for them. Some of the most frequent content in content marketing includes how-to articles, blog articles, videos, e-books and white papers. Ideally, the text is supplemented by photos, informative graphics and other visual content.
Strategy 2: Social media
Social networks offer B2B companies various options for building up their brand awareness in a targeted way and strengthening it. The first step is to find out which platforms the target group is surfing on.
Before writing a post or article, companies should also analyse which topics their target group is focused on. What are they talking about? Which content do they think is helpful? How can the company participate in the talk or even initiate it? B2B sales are made much easier when a relationship has developed between the company and the target group.
If you want to be certain that the user has seen certain posts or articles, you can help ensure this with so-called Paid Social Ads. They speak to a select group – for instance, filtered according to age or geographical region. This lets you be sure that your brand awareness increases precisely within the target group that is important to you. If a certain article works particularly well, you should consider broadcasting it as a paid ad too.
Surveys give you a direct insight into the needs of consumers – enabling companies to set up their marketing activities in a targeted way. If you determine, for instance, that your target group is talking about a certain issue intensively, this issue should be the topic of a blog article.
Strategy 3: Press and public relations
An additional option to increase your brand awareness is to jump onto another trustworthy source. Is there a special interest magazine or online publication which is especially important to the target group? Companies should try to appear in these publications. Either as a source in an article or with their own content.
Branch-specific publications are highly relevant in their respective branch. Using high-calibre leaders, such as CEOs or CFOs, to provide a quote for an article lends the company a sense of recognition. If you would like to improve your brand awareness, you should also foster connections to journalists for important branch-specific publications.
Or do you have the option to arrange a guest blogger who is active on the website of another company in its name? While creating content for someone else may sound rather counterproductive at first, this approach is helpful in terms of SEO. Links which lead to your own website from another renowned website boosts your reputation on Google. It’s a win–win situation: the third-party website receives new content and your own company enjoys a higher Google ranking.
Measures to increase brand awareness require time and money, but they pay off in the end. The three strategies illustrated function each on their own quite well. Their full impact, however, only unfolds when they are used together as part of a strategic marketing or brand awareness campaign.