Brand awareness: How do you build it?

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Brand awareness: How do you build it?


If you're looking to build brand awareness, there are a few different things you need to be doing. Here, we look at how you can develop your franchise identity, raise awareness of your brand and refine and improve upon its image.

Brand Awareness: How do you build it?

1. Think about what you want to be associated with

The first step in building your brand is to decide upon the key features, ideas and images you want to associate your business with. Creating a successful brand image involves creating a corporate identity that suggests specific ideas to the public. To do so, businesses need to know what ideas they want to communicate.

How is your business unique?

What makes your franchise different from the competition? What are its essential characteristics? What aspects of your services or products do you want to emphasise? If you have answers to these questions, you can move onto the next set: What do you want customers to think when they see your logo or name? What is your key selling point? How are you going to convey these abstract ideas in a communicable manner?

Consider getting help from a marketing specialist

Establishing what your brand associations will be is often tricky. It's important to try to strike a balance between being meaninglessly abstract and being too specific. In many cases, it will be worth investing in a collaboration with marketing specialists. However, if the funds arent available for such a purpose, its worth investing your own time and resources to ensure youre building your brand on firm foundations.

2. Build the brand around these associations

Once youve established what you want to be associated with, its time to begin thinking about how you build an identity around these ideas. At this stage, its important to remember that you need to act in a way that complements or contributes to the brand image that youre trying to build.

Convey your brand image to the customer

This means that every interaction with a customer attempts to communicate your values. From your logo through to your social media posts, every aspect of your public presence must be considered, coherent and designed to enhance your reputation.

How?

To do this, you need to instil those qualities you wish to be associated with at the heart of your business. A specific tone of voice needs to be developed for customer interactions, all marketing materials should include your logo and a consistent message needs to be communicated in all mediums.

3. Be consistent

Consistency of message is one of the most critical aspects of effective brand building. For most franchise brands, this consistency is important for two reasons.

  • The diverse range of communication channels available

Firstly, businesses now have access to a wide range of communication channels. Digitally, companies must consider all the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc. and then also think about more traditional advertising mediums, such as television and print. You must ensure that your physical presence (i.e. your store or business premises) also complements your brand image. Operating in these different channels can be challenging, as its not easy to maintain consistency of tone and message across all of them.

  • Strengthens the message

The second reason brand consistency is vital to most profitable franchises is because large franchise networks are composed of many smaller units, which are much more effective when working co-operatively. If all the individual franchise units take it upon themselves to set their own marketing agenda and pull in different directions, the overall brand is watered down and weakened. Consistency across the network is important because it strengthens the marketing message, ensures the same message reaches a larger audience and strengthens the associations the public make with your brand.

4. Express your identity on social media

In the past, businesses had to pay considerable amounts of money to advertise to a large audience and develop their brand identity. But social media has now ensured that this is no longer the case.

Advantages of advertising on social media

The biggest franchises reach millions of people with a single social media post, allowing them to build, refine and develop their brand with a carefully considered (and free!) string of tweets, posts or pictures. Access is no longer restricted to those with enormous marketing budgets, and even the smallest start-ups can develop a reasonably sized audience in a very short period

This means that social media is the perfect place to begin building your brand and exercising your new voice. Its also an important medium because it allows for a two-way conversation. The public will often reply to your posts, bringing them closer to the brand and giving you the opportunity to express your brands identity in a more personal and human way.

5. Refine and improve

Finally, its important to remember that you wont get everything right straight away. Its tough striking the right tone of voice and ensuring that your message is communicated in the most effective way. Realistically, you're going to have to refine and improve your brand identity, as well as the methods by which you communicate it, over an extended period. This is a natural process, and franchises should use all the feedback they can get their hands on to facilitate the process. Take note of social media responses, ask questions of your customers and try to establish what works and what doesnt. Over time, your brand identity will evolve and adapt to new economic and cultural realities, but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, youll need to be listening to your target markets.

So, by now you should have more of an idea of the basics of building brand awareness. Well now take a look at more targeted strategies you can use to make your brand the talk of the community.

1. Use Infographics

You can use infographics to display statistics to your current or potential customers in a colourful and engaging way. Due to them being aesthetically pleasing and interesting, they often get shared far and wide on the web. Use this to your advantage and create an infographic that highlights why a customer should choose your product or service over your competitors.

2. Use referral programmes

Customers are more likely to help get your brand name out there if they think they can get something in return. You could, for example, ask customers of your restaurant business to refer you to their email contacts in return for five percent off their next visit.

3. Hand out freebies

You dont find many people who dont like getting things for free. Therefore, why not stick your brand name on a range of products and hand them out at events? For example, you could have branded pens, frisbees, stress balls, note pads, the list goes on. Doing this gets people talking about your brand. Lets say a lady picks up one of your pens at a sporting event and meets her friend for coffee after, who asks to borrow it. It opens up a dialogue about the brand and creates the possibility of looking into it further.

4. Get a customised car wrap for your and your employees cars

This is a brilliant way to get your brand name out there. Whether youre driving round a busy city centre or parked outside your house, there are plenty of potential customers who are becoming more familiar with you and what you offer.

5. Make partnerships in the local area

Forming relationships with other businesses in the community is a great way to build your brand awareness, particularly in the local area. You could work with other businesses to hold events or seminars and sponsor charity events.

6. Hold contests on social media

This is a very effective way of getting your name plastered on a number of users feeds. Lets say you own a dog grooming business; you could ask customers to submit their funniest dog picture. Ask users to share the link with members of their friends list to be in with a chance of winning the vote and then a money-off voucher. For more information on our dog grooming franchises, click here.

7. Use influencers with a powerful online presence

You can boost your brand awareness by paying an influencer to advertise your product or service on their social media platform. Choose influencers that your offering will complement not compete with. Not only will you have established a partnership with an influential voice, but also you will get your brand name out their to their vast network of viewers/followers.

Conclusion

Developing a coherent and compelling brand identity is a complex challenge. There are entire companies dedicated to doing just that, so it's important to remember that you can ask for help if necessary. However, if you follow the points listed above, you should be able to begin working on building a new brand identity without the help of marketing professionals. Make sure you utilise all the in-house skills at your disposal and that everyone working on the project understands your end goal.

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