“Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity” – Marty Neumeier
There is a popular quote, “what is seen, will sell” – hence, even if a company may have the best products, unless customers know of them, the products will never sell. It is therefore obvious that one of the most critical tasks of any business would be building brand awareness and reach. To ensure that the brand / products get the maximum visibility, a company would need to use a wide variety of marketing and promotional strategies – depending on the market, products, and the customer base. Once a company is able to attract customers, it would be imperative to ensure that product and service quality remains at a high level, since brand awareness and reach also happens through word-of-mouth from happy customers – a no cost, yet highly effective promotional method. A company can ensure optimum prominence and prominence for its brand in several ways and every company must assess which method work best to do so.
Today every business must have a digital presence, and the ‘face’ of any company is its website. Hence, creating an easy to access, navigate, and use website would be the top most method to build brand awareness and reach. By using focused keywords, adopting search engine optimization, and top class content a company can gain top ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs). In addition, a company could leverage the strength of popular websites and place advertisements of their brand and products on those websites. Today, networking and piggybacking are extremely effective methods of building brand awareness and reach.
Almost everyone today has at least one social media site. Presence of these high visibility and real-time comments platforms has become an indispensable tool for building brand awareness and reach – irrespective of whether the brand belongs to a company or an individual. Social media sites allow customers to discuss businesses, their own lives, likes, preferences, things they bought or intend to buy, and other such aspects of their lives. If a customer loves a product or a brand, they are sure to let others know about it – posting comments about a brand for all to see is free publicity and is one of the most potent ways to increase brand awareness and reach. The easier and more convenient a company can make it for customers to share links about the products, brand, and the company itself – the more number of people it would be able to reach, thereby increasing the visibility of its brand.
While the new methods of advertising and promotions are great, one cannot deny the usefulness and critical nature of traditional methods too. Continue to use print media, advertising through television and radio, hoardings, and other traditional methods – they are still effective in helping to build brand awareness and reach. Use these methods to display products and brand of a company prominently, while explaining the benefits and value customers can get by using them. Of course, it is necessary for a company to understand its customer base well such in order to use the publications and advertising methods that would be most preferred by customers.
Customers today are becoming increasingly aware about social causes, and prefer to work with companies that display commitment to such causes. It would make good business sense and would be a great way to build brand awareness and reach, by sponsoring or contributing to a social cause / charity event. The company’s name and brand could be displayed at the event prominently, which would not only enhance visibility for the company, but would also help the company to gain favour and trust for contributing to a social cause / charity. Apart from sponsoring such events, a company could also use its hold, to network with other business leaders, politicians, media, and other such influential groups – not only would such ‘networking’ benefit the social cause / charity, but it would also help the company build awareness and reach for its products / brand.
In addition to sponsoring social cause events, a company could also hold a promotional event of its own – having a live audience is a great way to grab attention of both existing customers, and potential ones. The company could share insights, knowledge, and expertise with attendees, which in turn would increase brand awareness and reach. The event should be at a time and place that would be most convenient to attend for a larger audience – even if someone may not require a company’s offerings, they could refer it on to their friends, or business associates that may immediately require the products of the company. Even if a company does not have the bandwidth or in-house capability to organize a large-scale event, there are several agencies, which professionally manage and promote such events.
As mentioned earlier, whatever is visible would have greater potential to sell. Hence, it would be necessary for a company display its products prominently in its stores, ensure flashy and eye-grabbing branding – essentially placing products in ‘high traffic’ areas, such as the check-out counters. The longer a customer looks at products, the more likely they would be to recall them, when they actually have use of the products. It is not surprising then that companies place their best products at eye-level, and on ‘standees’ at the entrance of their stores. Companies also ensure that the packaging and design of products is bold, attractive, and colourful, so as to draw instant attention – the more notice a company can gain for its brand, the higher would be the brand awareness and reach.
Being part of exhibitions is another popular (albeit expensive) way to gain brand awareness and reach. Placing an attractive stall in large exhibitions is a great way to highlight the brand to the hundreds of people that attend – even if they may not be immediate customers. The idea would be to attract their attention, and sustain it long enough such that they feel engaged and want to know more about the brand. A company can even look at organizing a competition with giveaways to attraction and sustain more attention. The giveaways could be novelty items with the company’s branding, and when people carry these, they would become walking ‘advertisements’ for your brand. What better way to brand awareness and reach than through existing and potential customers.
Even if your company does not take part in exhibitions, it is a great idea to spend resources on creating company merchandise for promotional and awareness purposes. Small, but elegant and thoughtful corporate gifts not only increase brand awareness and reach, they are also a highly effective way to thank customers for their business and show them heartfelt appreciation. When a customer would use the gifts – for example a reputed brand’s pen – with the company’s logo, the customer would essentially be advertising your company, and even those who come to visit the customer would become aware of your company and its brands.
There is severe competition today and no company can afford to rest on laurels or hope to survive without constantly focusing on ways to build brand awareness and reach. Customers have far too many options and would not take the trouble to find out about a company and its products, which seem to be ‘hiding’ or in oblivion. Every company needs to get ‘out there’, make its products, and brand known and visible to the market and larger customer base. The number of ways to build brand awareness and reach are numerous. A company just requires some imagination, a budget, and a thorough understanding of its target customers – there would then be no limit to the attention and awareness it can achieve for its brand.