What is the preferred method of introducing a new brand, and building awareness of it in the mind of someone who has never heard of me before?
I received the above query a few days ago from Randall E. Truesdale Sr, the General Manager of Power Yachts International in Cape Coral, Florida.
Now to give Randall actionable advice, I’d have to sit with him and understand how deeply he dove into various marketing channels, what worked best for him and what turned out to be not so effective.
Because the short answer to his question is – it depends.
It depends on what you are selling, where you are selling, and who your market is.
There are a number of effective channels you can use to build awareness of your brand – the trick is to pick the ones that work best for your product and audience. For some help on how to do that, take a look at this article, where I talk about the importance of getting to know your customer.
Nevertheless, there are some tried and true ways to build brand awareness, such as:
If your audience prefers to do their preliminary research online (and these days, most people do):
1. Content marketing
While these are not listed in any particular order, content marketing is definitely one of the front-runners for building brand awareness, and may actually be the best method for getting your business name, logo and most importantly, culture, out in front of your target audience.
Creating useful content, and sharing it where people are looking for it, will go a long way to help build awareness of your brand, and your reputation as an authority in your field. Not only that, but people will develop an idea of who you are and how you do business.
Some great ideas for content are:
- Blog posts – where you share tips, information about your business, the niche you operate in, and answer questions.
- Videos – these give life to the information you share, and can be used to demonstrate processes or experiences while emotionally engaging your audience.
- Downloadable guides or infographics for quick go-to manuals
- Newsletters– whether printed or sent by email, newsletters are a great way to communicate with customers. Regular newsletters can keep your audience up to date with new information, while strengthening your personal connection and reflecting your business brand and personality.
- Webinars – educational and interactive workshops where your prospective clients can engage with you and your service are an excellent way to build familiarity and trust.
Starting with content marketing will give you a good base from which to operate. By the time people get to meet you in person, they may have already heard of you from the various pieces of content you have shared online, and you will already have built up some awareness of your brand in their mind.
2. Media Exposure
Once you’ve got a good body of content, and a story to share, getting featured in mainstream media is another great way to get the word out about your brand.
- Build your brand by fostering interest in your business through articles shared in the media.
- Protect your reputation by building a strong base of positive media coverage on the off chance that a negative event impacts your company.
- Develop good media contacts and relationships with key journalists who report on your niche to keep your finger on the pulse.
Press coverage on recognised mainstream media sites is a great way to build credibility in the mind of your audience, as editorials are trusted more than simple paid advertising. By developing a story that the media might find interesting to tell, you will be taking large strides to building a positive brand image.
3. Social Media
You can further amplify your message by sharing on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- Expand your audience – Using the right hashtags will ensure your content gets seen by the right audience. People can also comment on and share your content, expanding your potential reach and customer engagement.
- Respond quickly to conversations – manage your customer relationships by talking to your customers and responding quickly to any negative feedback.
Having your customers and audience talking about positively you will carry for more weight than anything you say about yourself. And being seen to respond quickly to feedback will help build your reputation as a business that cares.
4. Client referrals
There is no better brand builder than a happy customer, as long as you help them get the word out.
Some ways your customers can help spread the word about you are:
- Referring you to their friends. You can help them do this by setting up a referral program.
- Instagram stories. Encourage your clients take photos or videos of themselves using your product, and share them on Instagram. This will help build a community and spread the word to your customers friends.
- Video testimonials. Once created you can share these on your website and optimize them to turn up when people search for your product or service.
- Positive reviews on respected platforms such as Google My Business, Yelp, LinkedIn and so on will go a long way to establish your brand as something worthy of interest and trust.
5. A Strong Website
All of the above will help you to build a website that is full of interesting content, relevant to your audience and referred to often across a number of platforms online.
This will help you to:
- Turn up for things your customers are searching for. When your prospective customer searches something relevant to your business online, you will turn up on the first page.
By simply being found whenever your prospective is looking for something relevant to your business, you are building your brand and credibility in their minds.
If your audience prefers to meet and see things in person:
6. Community / Event Sponsorships
- Sponsoring community events and not-for-profit causes are a great way to build goodwill within the community.
Not only that, but by being out here you have the chance to meet your customers and talk to them face to face.
7. Participating in expos, trade fairs and conferences
- Speaking at a business event or conference will help build your brand as an authority in your field.
- Participating– if you get a booth at one of these events, having your business name and logo will increase your visibility dramatically within a group of people who are actively interested in what you.
- Attending events, trade fairs and so on provides a useful networking opportunity.
Other ways you can build your brand include paid advertising. This could be on the radio, in the local newspaper, on billboards, or online.
As you can see there are a multitude of ways you can build your brand and get your name out there.
What I suggest you do is have a think about what methods would work best for your clients. And if you don’t know, just ask them!