Brand awareness is one of the most fundamental keys to promoting a successful business, especially in highly competitive environments. If you haven’t been focusing on this critical business strategy, learn why it’s so important and find out how you can make your company’s brand stand out in the minds of customers.
What Is it?
By definition, brand awareness is the degree to which a company’s brand is recognized by consumers; however, just as important, it also refers to how well potential customers associate a particular brand with a corresponding product. For instance, when most people see the Apple logo, they correctly associate it with computers, tablets and smartphones. In fact, Apple’s brand awareness campaigns have been so successful; their product names sometimes serve as replaceable nouns for actual products; as is the case when consumers refer to generic mp3 players as iPods.
An essential part of successful business development plans, brand awareness helps companies stand out from competitors that provide like services or products. It also plays a significant role in shaping consumer choices by promoting the concept of quality, especially when customers are faced with a choice between recognizable and unfamiliar company brands.
Larger companies invest massive amounts of money in marketing campaigns aimed at increasing brand recognition. Obviously, this isn’t a viable strategy for smaller businesses which operate according to strict budgets. That said, brand awareness should still be a part of any marketing plan, regardless of a company’s size or its particular niche.
The ultimate goal of any business is to profit through increasing sales. To do this, the business must expand its pool of consumers, while also encouraging repeat business. Most companies focus on expanding their consumer pool by investing in advertising campaigns that promote greater brand recognition: for instance, they may utilize various media outlets, such as radio, television and print publications. Unfortunately, this may prove too costly for very small businesses. That said, thanks to the Internet, even smaller companies can run successful advertising campaigns by using search engine marketing tactics which can get a company’s brand and message out to countless potential customers or — if it’s deemed more practical and cost-effective — a smaller sample of targeted consumers who may be more eager to buy a particular product or service.
While it’s important for businesses to focus on increasing their customer pools; most find long-term success when they’re able to cultivate repeat business. For companies who must manage overhead carefully, so-called guerrilla marketing tactics make great sense. Among other things, these strategies may include:
- Limiting operations to a less competitive niche.
- Offering extreme specialization.
- Providing services that exceed customer expectations.
- Offering fast response times and quick turnarounds.
- Providing service hours according to a customer’s individual requirements.
Smaller businesses can also promote repeat business using brand awareness marketing strategies. For example, many businesses successfully keep their brands at the forefront of customers’ minds by offering promotional products which prove useful while also clearly featuring the company’s brand. These may include traditional branded items, such as calendars, refrigerator magnets and pens, as well as more modern specialized products, such as branded USB drives, which offer greater benefits and longer durations of promotional power.
Recognizing the Benefits
While it’s extremely important to offer quality products and services that promote repeat business; it’s just as important for companies to stay relevant in the minds of potential customers by creating strong brand recognition. After all, it doesn’t matter what a company has to offer if it’s ultimately overlooked by consumers. If you haven’t been focusing on increasing your business’s brand recognition, reevaluate your marketing strategies for 2013.