When it comes to business, a brand’s image is everything. After all, a brand is more than just a logo; it’s a collection of thoughts, emotions, and attitudes consumers harbour towards a particular company or an organization. The more brand recognition you have, the easier it gets to acquire new fans and customers. As a result, boosting brand awareness is an absolute must for companies both big and small. Yet, with so many different strategies out there, which ones do you go for? Keep on reading to find out.
Keep a consistent brand image
Customers tend to perceive brands as ordinary people, with their own set of attributes and unique personalities. Likewise, when a person is constantly acting out of character (flip-flopping, lying, pretending), it sows the seed of distrust within us; we perceive the honesty of people through the consistency of their own words and actions. That’s why, as a company, you need to keep a clear, and consistent, image of your brand at all times; otherwise you risk losing your customers’ trust. For instance, with their sleek and elegant product design, Apple is a prime example of what brand consistency is all about; their series of products reflect the company’s key features: innovation and style. As a result, you won’t ever find a makeshift phonograph or an old TV set with an Apple logo on it.
Create compelling info graphics
Knowledge is not only power, but entertainment as well. People absolutely love facts, and statistics in general; especially when you put it all in one neat picture. That’s why info-graphics are so popular of late. You can make them, read them, and share them with ease. Better yet, you can even ‘recycle’ some of your old blog posts, videos, and podcasts into this highly readable format to impress your clients and followers. Now, the reason you want to do this is because people, generally, look favorably upon brands that know what they’re talking about. Just think about it: would you go to a dentist that doesn’t know the difference between permanent and milk teeth? Probably not. Hence, you want to portray yourself as an expert in the field; someone people can trust and turn to when in need of assistance.
Organize fun contests and competitions
Who doesn’t love getting free stuff; name one person. Organizing online contests and competitions is an excellent way of engaging your customers and followers; especially if there are awesome prizes to be had. These can be anything from high-quality t-shirts to practical branded notebooks, photo frames, and other desk top items your customers use on a day-to-day basis. Essentially, the idea behind this is to expose your brand to not only your own customers and followers, but the people in their close vicinity as well. Also, by handing out giveaways you effectively reinforce the notion that ‘loyalty pays off’ and that following your brand is totally worth it. At any rate, just make sure you use the appropriate hashtags and mentions to involve as much people as you can for your competitions and marketing campaigns to get the best possible reach.
Promote user generated content
It’s hard to work on improving brand awareness when people have become so impervious to your marketing efforts. As a result, brands are now shifting towards more alternate methods; one of them being user generated content (UGC for short). According to this survey, 85% of participants agreed that UGC is more influential than brand-made photos and videos. Now, the beauty of this strategy is reflected in its ingenuity: you turn loyal customers into eager brand advocates by encouraging them to use your brand as a platform to express themselves, and then share their creativity with others. For instance, look at Coca-Cola’s ‘share a Coke’ campaign; it started with the printing of 150 most common names in Australia, only to become a global sensation overnight. Consequently, people in over 80 countries were vehemently sharing photos of Coca-Cola bottles on social media to their own accord; talk about free promotion.
Set up a referral program
Referral programs work on the same principles as the UGC campaigns; only with a slight twist. Instead of promoting your brand indirectly through fan-made photos and videos, you now have loyal customers encouraging their friends and family to use your products and services. Simply put, a passionate customer will present a more authentic recommendation to his, or hers, community, more so than a branded message would; thus directly influencing their peers’ decision. Yet, how do you achieve this feat? Simple: through incentives. Look at Uber for instance. As soon as you activate your account, you receive a personal referral code; so each time a new customer uses this link to create a new account, both parties are rewarded with a free trip. That way you add more value (as well as power) to your customer’s referrals, instead of just sending annoying emails and notifications.
At the end of the day, you’ll never earn your customers’ respect if you simply ignore them. Listen to what they have to say and use that feedback to improve your own game. Remember, the customer-business relationship depends on both parties; be nice to your partner.