What is your brand? Well that’s everything from your logo, name, offerings, online content and more. It is the bundle of business characteristics that consumers learn to trust, that places businesses ahead of their competitors. Investopedia defines it as the “extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services.”
Famous brands are legendary, just think of Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Visa, Nike and Google, just to mention a few.
However, regardless of how much you post to social media platforms and how much you spend on advertising, no matter how fabulous your product offerings and services are, if your business doesn’t have a brand, it’s going nowhere.
Quick! when I say I need to buy household bleach, how would I say it? Chances are, I’d say, “I need to buy some JIK”.
That simple reference to a brand that we all recognise, is brand awareness in a nutshell.
Other examples are:
- Kleenex: tissues
- ‘Checkers’: a plastic bag
- Coke: a soda/cooldrink
- Band-aid: a plaster
- Oros: fruit squash
- Hoover: vacuuming
- Omo: washing powder
I’m sure more will spring to mind.
These brands have become so well-known they’ve replaced the generic terms for similar products in our language. They’re called eponyms, the ACME of brand recognition; the envy of every brand that isn’t one.
But just having a brand is not the end of it as brand awareness is an enduring exercise. Whether big or small businesses, it’s important to constantly build your brand and reinforce it in the minds of your target audience.
Solid brand awareness gives a competitive edge to advertisers and builds a sense of loyalty between customer and retailer. Customers are more apt to purchase from a brand that they’re familiar with.
The consumer consciousness of a company is measured by brand awareness, where a potential customer’s ability is not only to recognise a brand’s image, but to also associate it with a specific company’s product or service.
There are a variety of methods in which to create brand awareness, from Public Relations, print and digital advertising, to TV and Radio ads and more. But one of the strongest ways is through word of mouth, where consumers rely on what friends and family say is good or bad. A referral program not only enhances your influence and the amount of people who recognise your name, but it also has roots in a source that people trust most — their own friends and family.
Developing an informed and constant brand awareness campaign can provide many benefits within your market, including: maintaining top of mind awareness with your current and potential audiences; increasing word of mouth promotion; building brand equity, while developing loyalty to a brand and encouraging repeat purchases, which, in turn, leads to an increase in market share and incremental sales.
Recall a time when you were really looking forward to a specific, familiar taste and been mightily disappointed when you sampled your first mouthful from a new source. That’s brand awareness; it creates a sense of familiarity, of meeting expectations — of trust.
So keep that thought in mind with this story, to ‘set the scene’, as they say in the movies.
You are house-sitting in an unfamiliar neighbourhood and, round about dinner, your tummy rumbles, alerting you to a need for food; but not any food, something that you’d rate as your favourite food, let’s say Mexican pizza, just as an example. You can almost taste it as you think about the many times you have eaten this particular pizza, and your sense of recollection is gearing your taste buds for the gourmet experience.
As the area is unfamiliar to you, you want somewhere nearby, within walking distance as you only have enough money on you to pay for the actual pizza (that’s why you’re house-sitting, you’re broke — stay with the story…). So what do you do? Of course, your mobile is at hand and you immediately tap in your requirements. As luck would have it, there is a pizza place within walking distance; a little further than you hoped for, but one whose fare you know and enjoy. There is also another pizza place right on your corner. Problem is, you know what you want but you don’t recognise the name of the corner establishment. Hmmm. I bet you walk the little extra distance to the well-known familiar brand?
Fact is, customers are 60% more likely to purchase from a brand they’ve heard of than from one they’re unfamiliar with.
That’s brand awareness in action.
So, what measures are YOU taking for your brand to become a household name — even to house sitters?