Brand Awareness is More Than a Logo
Brand recognition is a goal that every start-up hopes to achieve. Brands such as Coca-Cola, John Deere, Marriott, Google, and Apple are instantly recognized by their logo. These brands are also known for their reputation, design, product, services, and solutions.
Brand Recognition is Earned
Brand recognition is one of many factors that impact consumer decisions for product consumption. Consumers may use a brand like Google or Apple every day without even thinking about it because they know what the brand will deliver in the form of value, trust, and functionality. As consumers we can trust the experience a brand will deliver, each and every time.
Brand awareness is created through authentic experiences, social engagement, and the need for a solution that your business provides. Prospects convert into customers when a business can solve their problem, offer the right price, and deliver professional-level customer experience.
Brand awareness is an ongoing process, just like search engine optimization. The goal of creating brand awareness is to instill both recognition, and a level of trust with customers. When people recognize your brand, and the type of service or experience that you deliver, they are more likely to buy from you.
Brand awareness is the personality of your business, that people relate to, and since they can relate, they can also become loyal customers. Brand awareness is associated with action and experience. Brands such as Google are more than just a name, they become verbs. “Did you really just Google a recipe for dog bones?” Such brands become integrated and normalized words in our daily vocabulary.
We don’t think of Google as a product, so we treat it as a service. However, Google offers dozens of free tools that we also use everyday such as the browser, books, alerts, docs, and more. Google has become part of our online experience, and we trust the brand to deliver the right solution every time. Google offers the potential for us to increase our knowledge every time we use the Chrome browser.
Brand development comes about through storytelling, providing value, and positioning your product or service offering in a distinctive way. Knowing your target audience and being able to identify their needs in delivering service and solutions goes a long way towards creating a brand relationship.
Brand experience is the type of marketing that creates a perception with a user/customer that connects, and becomes memorable. Businesses that have perfected storytelling understand the emotional impact their campaign will have on people.
For example, Budweiser created a commercial after 9/11 that visually cued viewers into the story. The commercial begins with the Clydesdale horses being bridled in the barn. The team is then seen trotting through a snowy country side, and through a small town. The eyes of a shopkeeper follows the horses as they trot past his store.
The horses are then seen trotting across a bridge, away from Manhattan. As the horses arrive at their destination – opposite the fallen Twin Towers – the team of eight Clydesdale’s kneel in unison, as if to honor those that perished.
We don’t expect animals to deliver that type of emotional experience, but the Budweiser marketing team understood the impact of that day, and created an unforgettable brand experience.
Brand recall is the ability of a person to remember the message, purpose, or solution of a brand offering. If you can remember a commercial, but not the business name – they didn’t tell their story very well. However if you can recall the company name within a commercial without being prompted, then the brand has achieved a competitive advantage over their competition.
Consumers Choose Brand Engagement
Consumers may selectively purchase one brand over another due to features and benefits, cost, and accessibility. Consumers also choose brands through deliberate engagement, or through passive activity.
- Deliberate engagement may include purchasing air travel that provides rewards in the form of points which can be applied to a future unrelated purchase.
- Passive brand engagement can be the selective use of one search engine over another.
Most call centers track the amount of time their representatives spend on each call. The goal is to reduce the call time, and move on to the next customer. Amazon does not track call time because they want their customer issues to be resolved, regardless of the length of the call. Jeff Bezos understands his customers, and it is important to him that they receive excellent service. Happy customers are loyal customers.
Consumers Ignore Interruptive Advertising
Brands have learned to deliver their solution to consumers through mobile apps which allow users to interact with the brand wherever they are. Brands have also learned how to skillfully use cross-channel marketing to reach their customers, regardless of platform, or location.
As consumers we have learned how to tune in, or tune out a brand, and their messaging. We get annoyed at being forced to watch a short ad as a primer to a YouTube video. We dislike pop-up ads, especially if there are multiple ads on a single page. It’s bad marketing, but we recognize that we are stuck with advertising, on all platforms.
The brands that deliver short experiences through advertising have learned how to stay in front of their audience, and not to annoy them.
Brands Deliver Mobile Solutions
You may receive an email for a birthday discount, a holiday promotion, or a sale on items the brand knows you have purchased in the past. Typically, when you click on an image within the email, you are redirected to the brands landing page on their website. Or, you may be redirected to the app if it is installed on your smartphone or tablet.
We can buy practically anything from Amazon because the website is brand agnostic. Amazon provides a simple purchase process and shipping with just a few clicks on a smartphone.
Consumers that are brand loyal, say to Macy’s or Nordstroms can also interact with a branded mobile app and place an order without dealing with the hassle of a trip to the mall. This is deliberate brand engagement and is a brilliant way for brands to provide a positive experience with just a few clicks.
People Build Brands
It is rare for a brand to achieve overnight recognition, and it usually takes a combination of time, outstanding customer service and ongoing marketing efforts in multiple channels.
Brand recognition is also developed from engaging with your customers, suppliers, and vendors. Brand equity comes with a delicate balance of understanding, compassion, the desire to be flexible, and a sense of humor.
Delivering surveys to your customers is a great way to receive honest feedback. When a person has an outstanding experience with a brand, they are happy to share the experience on review platforms such as Yelp!, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. We love brands that meet our expectations, and we use the platforms to help grow those businesses.
Great reviews help build our businesses.
Referrals Help Build Private Brands
There are a few privately-owned brands that have been around for 30+ years, and while they are experts in their respective field, their website doesn’t tell their story very well. To be competitive for three decades with an ineffective website can only mean that they have built the brand through relationships and referrals.
The lack of storytelling is more likely to impact privately held companies than corporations because shareholders would not continue to invest in a company with a poor marketing strategy. Shareholders at all levels expect a return on their investment, so an effective marketing strategy is imperative.
Optimize for Local Search
If you have a single brick and mortar store, then it is important to optimize your website for local search. You need to understand your region, your competitors, and how your value proposition sets you apart. You need to state this clearly on your website because you need organic traffic to land on your page. Make sure that your store location, hours, and phone number are easy to find. If you have more than one location, make sure that each site is optimized for the area so that people can find you online.
Imagine that you are in the landscaping business, but your website is not generating new business. Type a keyword or phrase search such as, ‘landscaping near me’ into your favorite browser. The Search Engine Page Results (SERP) will show paid the paid advertising of your competitors at the top of the search results. The paid search results will likely be followed by maps, reviews and ‘how-to’ advice. You will find common terms used by your competitors, and you may discover some common services, but your website doesn’t mention those services. Make sure you include content around those services.
Search Engine Page Results Only Deliver High-Quality Web Pages
The internet has become a virtual foundation for every company. To be competitive online requires more than just brick and mortar space, and this is true even for small, entrepreneurial companies. As the internet evolves, so do the requirements for website quality as search engines evaluate them.
Search engines use algorithms to fetch, analyze and return web page results to users in seconds. When search engines change their algorithms, they don’t always publish the reason, and they certainly don’t publish the details. However, if a company begins to lose traffic, and the quality of leads declines, it may be due to a new algorithm.
Understanding the value of your content, and how it is evaluated by search engines is critical in appearing in top-level organic search results. We do know that these algorithms can sniff out a poorly designed website, or has poorly written content, or delivers a bad user experience. Those websites will not appear on the first page of search engine results.
If the quality of a brand’s online content does not provide value to users, then the search engine will not provide top-level Search Engine Page Results (SERP) for your website. When a user types a keyword or phrase into a browser, the SERP will return pages in the form of paid search, followed by organic search. The top 3-5 ads are usually displayed first, followed by a ‘How – To’ Guide, and then organic results which are based on the value those pages provide. This is why the content on your website is so important.
You must invest in communicating your brand and value proposition in a way that naturally includes keywords and phrases that people use to locate a specific product, service, location, or solution. If a search engine can’t readily identify that information, it would probably be difficult for the average consumer to determine what you do as well.
Iconic Brands Don’t Sell. They Create Relationships.
Branding requires an identity that people can relate to and feel is trustworthy.
The Budweiser Clydesdale’s are an iconic American brand and recognized throughout the world. The horses star in commercials that represent team building, spirit, relationship, loyalty, and affection. Budweiser has perfected storytelling and has identified a clever way to speak to people’s emotion, without selling. Each tab of the Budweiser website reveals a unique piece of their connected brand story.
Build it Right and They Will Come
Your website is a reflection of your company and values, so build the website with the intent of targeting a specific audience that can identify with your product, service, or solution.
Incorporate Social Media to Build Your Brand
Developing the website is just part of the process for brand building. You also need to understand where your customers spend their time on social media sites. If you have a small business and can’t dedicate someone to monitor your social media 24/7, then Facebook and Twitter may not be the right place for your business right now.
There are other great social media sites where you can build your brand and create engaged followers. Websites like Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are all great platforms to engage with users You can also follow businesses in your community that are important to your customers but are not direct competitors.
Social media is about relationships, not selling. If you use it to sell constantly, then you’ll turn off your audience, and it will be tough to regain their loyalty. The more you engage with real people, the better your chances to increase brand awareness in a positive way. The goal of brand building is to create not only lifetime customers but also to create relationships.
Brand Recognition Will Grow Your Business
Knowing where your customers spend their time, how they spend their money, and the type of service, product, or solution they have come to expect is one of many strategies for building your brand and establishing your reputation.
If you need help building your brand, contact us.
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