The golden arches of McDonald’s are one of the most recognizable sights in the world, but they didn’t start out that way. Years of successful advertising campaigns and billions of hamburgers happened before the company’s logo became the commercial and cultural touchstone it is today. Decades worth of French fries containers, television commercials, billboards and even branded merchandise bearing that singular yellow “M” went into building an association between the golden arches and an affordable meal served quickly. The lesson here is that brand awareness doesn’t come about overnight, and it isn’t created by sticking to the same limited array of marketing techniques. If you want your customers to have a positive connection to your brand, you have to create it yourself.
Of course, having quality products or an innovative service should be your highest priority. But when winning over your customer base, you also need all the help you can get. Creating good brand awareness means consumers will turn to you first and foremost when they need what you sell. Executed correctly, you may even become synonymous with it. The next time you ask someone for a Kleenex, see if the other person asks if you mean a tissue. Here are some unique and interesting ways you can put your brand front-and-center in the marketplace.
In general, people want to be confident that the goods and services they purchase are provided by those who know what they are doing. Presenting yourself as an expert in your particular field helps strengthen your position. Whether hosted on your website or published elsewhere, blog posts that offer useful, informative insights on a topic related to your offerings help create a positive impression of your company overall.
Obviously, no one can develop an impression of your brand if they can’t see it. This is why so many businesses give away pens, notepads and other branded items that their customers might use every day. This means that even if they can’t see a billboard or print advertisement, there’s still a chance they will encounter your logo or slogan. However, these don’t have to be the only delivery system for your brand. Practically anything from a floor mat to a cellphone case can be an opportunity to create brand awareness.
Thanks to platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, you have the ability to reach out to customers like never before. Whether you share details of an upcoming event, photos of a new product or just something to get a laugh, using a hashtag helps your followers spread the word and connect it back to you. Another successful strategy is using social media to ask for inputs from people and get their feedback. If you do, however, be prepared to respond quickly and sincerely. People are much more likely to cool on a brand if it doesn’t project authenticity.
You’re in business to make a profit, naturally, but that doesn’t mean you don’t also have a responsibility to your community at large. Giving back in the form of volunteer hours or sponsoring local events and groups is a great way to boost your profile outside of the normal context. Doing so helps you get your name and logo out there for all to see, and it creates a positive impression of who you are and what you do.
Many successful companies have loyalty programs that reward frequent customers, and if you don’t, you should consider it. One of the most common examples is the punch card that gives the customer something free after 10 purchases. Not only does this create an enticing incentive for repeat business, but it also gives your clientele the feeling that their patronage is recognized and genuinely appreciated.
Ultimately, branding is an exercise in selling your customers a feeling in addition to the products or services you offer. People are more likely to engage with a brand if they associate positive feelings with it. That means taking the time to establish your company’s identity and personality can pay huge dividends. Whether you want to come across as warm and helpful, silly and irreverent, or professional and authoritative, being consistent in how you present yourself helps consumers connect to your brand beyond mere commerce.
Branding can be the difference between a successful company and an institution. Even if your business never reaches the heights of the world’s most recognizable brands, developing brand awareness in your audience will almost certainly lead to good things for you.
Author bio:- Josh Hensley is Director of Operations for Custom-Mats, with over seven years of experience. The company specializes in promotional advertising with custom floor mats and other products. He manages the day-to-day operations of the business including order processing and customer service.