Brand awareness is happening all around you at all times.
Ironically, it's not something you're actively aware of. The secret to true brand awareness is making consumers think about brands without them realising it's happening. More often than not, the best companies do this through a series of subtle ideas and concepts. Rarely will a company increase brand awareness by being over-the-top. Granted, some marketing campaigns may be OTT, but the actual increase in brand awareness is more discreet.
So, how do the biggest businesses in the world manage this? Look at companies like Starbucks, McDonald's and Apple. You'd be able to recognise these brands without a second thought if you were shown specific things. Today's article will take a deeper look at this, uncovering all the subtle ways that brands like these make you aware of them.
One of the cornerstones of great brand awareness is a brand logo. Think about all of the companies spoken about above - you will all recall their logos off the top of your head. The same applies to many other businesses out there with logos that are designed to stick in your mind. What's more, logos work in the opposite fashion as well. If you see a brand logo, you should instantly be able to associate it with a particular business. When you see the big yellow M on a red background, your mind connects it to McDonald's.
Thus, you need to develop your own logo that people will grow to recognise. It needs to be simple yet effective - that's the key to excellent logo design. You don't even need the company name to be on the logo, it should be something that turns heads, reflects your business, and is easy for people to spot. Then, you have to work on pushing this logo as much as possible. Display it everywhere: on your site, social media platforms, products, packaging, advertising campaigns, etc. The more people see it, the more they recognise it. Of course, the design should remain consistent across all the different spectrums. The worst mistake is to have multiple variations of a logo - it makes it hard to gain brand awareness and causes confusion.
This is something that goes hand-in-hand with the brand logo. When designing your logo, you'll need to choose certain colours. As a result, you begin to associate your brand with these colours. From here, consumers may start thinking about your company when they come across your colours. The beauty of this is that they might see something that has nothing to do with your business, yet they still think of your brand because the colours trigger memories in their brain.
The use of colours can be quite diverse. Some companies will have one key colour that's quite unique to the brand. As a result, when people see it elsewhere, they instantly associate it with that brand. Tiffany's is a fabulous example of this as its main brand colour is a turquoise shade of blue. It's pretty unique, and people have associated this specific colour with the brand for years. For instance, there were images of Michelle Obama handing someone a gift a few years ago, and all you could see was a turquoise box in her hand. Right away, everyone knew it was a Tiffany's box because of the iconic colour!
Similarly, lots of brands use colour combinations to fantastic effect. Without wanting to continuously use them as an example, McDonald's does this perfectly. Again, it's the use of a specific shade of yellow on a red background that triggers the mind to think of the company. You could show people many things using these colours - that have nothing to do with the organisation - and they'd all think about McDonald's. So, focus on using specific colours throughout your marketing strategy to associate them with your brand.
Next, we have an idea that relates to lots of big businesses around the world. Here, it's more of a specific thing that creates awareness of trusted brands. When your company has a professional-looking telephone number, consumers start to trust it. Why? Because they see the structure of the number and associate it with legitimate businesses. This is why most big companies use things like 13 numbers to give themselves a professional number. Consumers will see it on different platforms and know they can trust the business.
Likewise, the consistent use of one phone number improves brand awareness. People start to recognise your number and they know it relates to you. If your brand awareness is particularly strong, you could post your number somewhere - without mentioning your brand or displaying the logo - and consumers will automatically know it's yours. Obviously, this comes with time, but don't underestimate the importance of a consistent and professional phone number.
What do we mean by consistent audio? In essence, it refers to audio/visual forms of media. This includes things like video adverts, ads on the radio/podcasts, etc. The best businesses will maintain consistent audio signals across their content. As such, they will use similar music and voices in everything they do. The idea is that people can instantly recognise the brand even if you had your eyes closed. You've definitely done this before, without even knowing it. Think about all the times you've not been paying attention to the TV and heard an advert playing in the background. You don't even have to look up to know it's for a specific brand. Why? Because the voiceover is one that's used all the time, and the music is similar to previous campaigns.
This is such a subtle way to raise brand awareness because of the wider impact it has. Realistically, voiceover actors will have loads of jobs. So, there's every chance you hear the same person voicing a different advert or possibly acting in a film/TV show. However, because they've become associated with a specific brand, you immediately think of that brand whenever you hear their voice! The same goes for the music - when a company uses the same music all the time, that genre or tune is associated with them. It makes it impossible to hear the tune without thinking about the brand. Ultimately, this is how businesses get themselves stuck in the minds of consumers!
In all honesty, this calls upon many of the other elements spoken about previously. Specifically, you're looking at the logo and colour scheme. Excellent product packaging will be able to link people to your business. Without having a detailed look at the product, they should be able to tell who sells it based on the basic design elements. If you see a red can on the shelf in a fridge, you know it's 99% likely to be Coca Cola. Even if it isn't, you've now got Coca Cola in your mind. So, it's possible you do a more detailed search to find some actual Coca Cola to buy.
The effectiveness of product packaging is clear to see when you look at budget supermarkets. If you go to a supermarket that sells off-brand items, think about how they design the goods. They're all designed to mimic the brands they're replacing. Why? Because companies know that consumers are more likely to buy things when they look like real brands. It's the association you make in your mind with the specific product packaging and how it looks.
Also, you can talk about product packaging in terms of how items are delivered to customers. Fashion brands are great at this, usually creating very specific packaging designs. Now, you can spot from a mile away if someone is delivering an ASOS parcel to a house. You'll notice the iconic barcode-esque design, instantly alerting your brain that the parcel is from ASOS. This is why it's always smart and worthwhile to personalise your delivery packaging like this, as opposed to buying plain materials.
Ultimately, all of these things come together to form elements of your marketing & advertising campaign. You can have a good logo, choose iconic colours, and so on - but how do you create brand awareness? It's simple, you have to constantly push things out for people to see. This means creating different adverts, marketing on social media, using SEO to drive people to your website, etc. The more you promote your business, the more effective these subtle things will be. There's no use in copying all the ideas on this list, then sitting back and doing nothing. You might have all the hallmarks of great brand awareness, but nobody is aware of you!
At the end of the day, you almost have to think of brand awareness in two separate parts. Everything mentioned above will link heavily to the branding side of things. It's how you start building a consistent brand that people associate with. From here, you also have to focus on the awareness side of the equation. This is where the final point comes into play: market your brand and make people aware of you. As you get your name out there, the subtle branding concepts will ensure you linger in their memory.