Every brand wishes to become famous. Well, every entrepreneur, business owner, and marketer wishes for their brand to become famous.
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But as you might guess, popularity doesn’t happen overnight. Not for brands. They don’t wake up famous; instead, slowly and steadily, they grow brand awareness.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness defines the extent to which consumers are familiar with the qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services.
The goal of marketing, PR, and even customer service is to grow brand awareness – to make sure people know the brand, talk about it, and recall it when the brand’s industry is discussed. These are the primary perks of brand awareness, but there are others, too.
Brand awareness fosters trust – people rarely buy important products from unknown brands. It creates brand equity – people pay more due to higher perceived value.
Brand awareness also creates communities of loyal customers who keep buying the brand’s products not just because they like them but also because they associate themselves with the brand and feel as a part of the community. Think about the Apple vs. Microsoft battle, Coke vs. Pepsi; recall people who stick to the same brand over decades, be it cars or cereal.
How do you measure brand awareness?
Growing anything doesn’t work well without regular measuring. Brand awareness is no exception: despite the obvious difficulties – it’s impossible to accurately calculate how many people know your brand – it’s the metric you can’t ignore. In fact, it’s a number of metrics. And here’s how to get some numbers.
Asking a random selection of people over the phone or email whether they’ve heard about your brand is the first step to getting a vague understanding of brand awareness. Ideally, of course, the selection should be representative of your target audience.
Asking existing customers how they heard about your brand is another approach that addresses a different issue. It gives you an understanding of how the word about your brand is spread and which channels are effective in growing brand awareness.
2. Social listening
Social listening metrics are the metrics that get you as close to measuring brand awareness as possible. Social listening tools search for mentions of your brand (tagged and untagged) on social media networks, news sites, blogs, forums, and the web. They calculate the number of people talking about your brand, which must correlate with the number of people who know your brand.
Besides, social listening tools show the overall sentiment of brand mentions, allowing you to dig deeper into how people feel about your product or service. Social listening metrics also include the Reach metric. Reach shows the number of people that see mentions of your brand online multiplied by the number of times they see them. This reveals whether you have influential brand advocates (e.g., social media influencers) and/or popular sources (BBC, CNN, etc.) that have mentioned your brand.
3. Website traffic
Measuring website traffic is another way in which you can assess brand awareness, not as a total number, but as an increasing or decreasing metric.
Unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t show the number of people who’ve arrived on your site by using branded keywords. All you can do in terms of assessing brand awareness is look at Direct traffic – these will be the people who’ve typed your URL into their address bar, along with the ones that arrived on your site through untracked links.
4. Search volume
Search volume data add to website traffic metrics. You can use Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to check the volume of your brand searches over time. This, however, will only work if your brand name is unique.
Unlike with social listening, you can’t add “negative keywords” to specify your search, so if your brand name is “Apple”, the data you get will be meaningless.
Top 3 brand awareness tools
1. Survey Monkey
Creating surveys isn’t as easy as you might assume. Survey Monkey does most of the work for you. It’s one of the best – and definitely most popular – survey tools out there, and it’s great for creating in-depth online surveys.
Pricing: Free for Basic, $25/mo for Advantage, $75/mo for Premier, and Enterprise pricing is available upon request.
Awario is a social listening tool. It crawls all major social media networks, news sites, blogs, forums, and the web for mentions of any given keyword (usually a brand). It analyzes mentions’ growth, reach, sentiment, as well as popular topics around the keywords and the authors’ gender, locations, and languages. It also finds brand advocates and industry influencers.
The tool has a Boolean search option which ensures that the results include relevant mentions only, even if your brand name is a common or ambiguous word.
Pricing: $29/mo for the Starter plan, $89/mo for Pro, and $299/mo for Enterprise. Save 2 months with a yearly plan and get a free 7-day trial.
Brandwatch is another social listening tool. It’s more sophisticated than Awario and fits enterprises and agencies better. Brandwatch covers all social networks, including niche and local ones, as well as review sites, news sites, comment sections, blogs, forums, and the web. The tool finds not only mentions of the brand’s name, but also images related to a brand, for example, its logo.
The tool analyzes mentions’ growth, reach, and sentiment, and the authors’ demographics, psychographics, locations, and languages. It also reveals trends most popular in your niche.
Pricing: Available upon request.
How do you grow brand awareness?
Now that you know how to keep an eye on your results, let’s talk about all (or some of) the ways you can grow brand awareness.
1. Social media marketing
Social media is where communities are built. It’s where the word about a brand (or anything else) spreads far and wide.
Interestingly enough, it’s also a place where people want to hear about brands and to talk about brands. Although social media is often perceived as a place to chat with friends and take part in political discussions and nothing else, for many, it’s also a place to talk to brands, to follow their news, and to discover them.
66% of Facebook and 90% of Instagram users follow at least one brand. 80% of Twitter users have mentioned a brand in a tweet, and an average Twitter user follows five businesses.
Social media marketing has many aims. Here are some of them:
- Creating social communities around a brand;
- Spreading the word using promotional, entertaining, and educational content, both from brands and user generated;
- Attracting new people with your brand’s amazing personality that especially shines on social media.
2. Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing, and it’s especially useful for growing brand awareness. Influencers are the people with a large following by definition and if they advertise, review, or even simply mention a product, they get the word out.
While offline influencers are usually extremely expensive, when it comes to online, there is a whole spectrum. You can find niche influencers with an average but dedicated following genuinely interested in products like yours. You can also find Internet celebrities with millions of followers. And, you can find anyone in between.
3. Content marketing
Today, people turn to the Internet to find answers to all kinds of questions. And if your product or service might raise some, it’s time to answer them – for free.
Creating free content attracts people looking for content and not, necessarily, ready to buy a product right now. Content gets spread around quicker than anything promotional. It’s the easiest way to establish your brand as a source of information about your industry – the source people will turn to, tell their friends about, and share on social media and beyond.
Over to you
Brand awareness might seem too vague and complicated to mindfully measure and grow. However, it doesn’t mean you should neglect brand awareness, especially considering how vital it is for a brand’s success. Get out there and tell people about your brand!
Tip: Hire a branding expert or freelancer on Fiverr.com.
Guest author: Aleh Barysevich is Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at companies behind SEO PowerSuite, professional software for full-cycle SEO campaigns, and Awario, a social media monitoring app. Aleh is a seasoned SEO and social media expert and speaker at major industry conferences.