Welcome back to the second installment in my series, The Brand Innovator! If you recall, this series is designed to educate on the importance of developing, maintaining and growing a truly successful brand.
Let’s talk brand recognition.
Brand recognition refers to the extent or likelihood that consumers will recognize and associate with a specific brand. Recognition can occur through distinctive images, trusted product value, slogans or many other avenues. When competition in a niche industry is particularly high, one of the best resources a company can possess is strong consumer brand recognition.
But why is brand recognition so vital? In an innovative, fast-paced culture and environment, there is nearly an endless stream of different product and service options available to consumers, many of which are comparable across quality and function. Consumers differentiate between nearly identical products and services based on their ability to distinguish one brand from the next—brand recognition can often equate to the difference between triumph or disappointment for a company.
So let’s discuss some ways you can develop brand awareness for your company.
Tell a Great Story
How relatable is your brand? How influential or memorable is your content? If you don’t know how to answer either of those questions, start the process by conducting consumer surveys, compiling market research and utilizing analytical tools to truly gauge and understand where and who to focus campaign efforts on.
Once you understand your target audience, you can begin creating content that tells a story that deeply connects with consumers. For example, Copart founder, Willis Johnson, developed the Copart brand with the mentality and intention of building a company that truly cares and puts family first while striving to make the company’s customers the most valuable partner. When building Copart, Johnson understood that a large volume of his target audience was dismantlers and mom-and-pop shops in smaller, rural cities, and that the Copart brand should embody the spirit and values that were needed to gain their trust.
“It was in 2002 when Jay Adair (Copart CEO) realized something bad had happened at Copart: no one knew anyone anymore.” said Johnson in his biography, “Junk to Gold”. “We had gotten so big that we didn’t have that mom-and-pop feel anymore. So Jay decided Copart needed a revolution…it needed to go back to its roots.”
After nearly 35 years, these characteristics are still intrinsic at Copart.
Get Local and Give Freebies
You’re a new company on the hunt to create a brand—where do you start? You need to station your brand in front of people, and I literally mean right in front of them. If you’re a new company, you may not have a deep budget to dip into for giveaway items or swag, but you don’t necessarily have to.
Do you know what people love? Free stuff. Do you know what people love to come grab at events? Koozies. Do you know what people always keep in their purse, car or on the counter in their kitchen? Pens. Did you know that both of these “freebies” are incredibly inexpensive to order in bulk? By placing your logo onto inexpensive giveaway items, you are keeping your expenses low while taking advantage of effective marketing the most traditional sense.
Giveaway items, partnerships and events go hand in hand. A great strategy for a new brand is to partner with other local businesses to join in at seminars, festivals and other events. You can also take advantage of sponsorship opportunities and charity events to spread awareness, and to ignite curiosity about your brand. Never negate the power that word of mouth possesses, and look for opportunities to get your brand in front of as many people that your bandwidth, budget and resources allow.
Don’t Skimp on Social Media
While you certainly should not negate the value of social platforms, you should also be wise in selecting the right one(s) for your business model. The number of social media network options continues to expand, and while having multiple options is ideal, it won’t always be feasible to remain active on all of them, especially if you don’t have the team to accommodate. Research and understand your core network, and subsequently focus on placing your energy into your high-traffic platforms that will harness the most return on devoted resources.
Once you’ve chosen the platforms that will position your brand for success, consider developing social media contests and giveaways that are designed to engage consumers and users. Incentivize contests to pique interest and raise participation numbers, and then watch as contestants share the URL and network for you. Not only will this create excitement around your brand, it will reach consumers who may have not previously associated with your company.
Food for Thought
When you cut your finger, do you ask for a plastic bandage, or a Band-Aid? Do you clean your ears with a Q-Tip or a cotton swab? When you have a runny nose, do you reach for a tissue or a Kleenex? My point is, brand recognition is incredibly influential on the decisions we make daily, even we don’t even realize it. And while this merely scratches the surface of tactics you can employ to become recognized as a trusted and valued brand, it is surely a great start.
If you have any additional comments or tips you would like to distribute, I’d love to hear them! Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comment box, and stay tuned for the next installment in The Brand Innovator Series!