With our 25th anniversary approaching in 2019, we take a look back at Beyond as a brand and how we enhanced our brand awareness over the years and how we can continue to improve our presence in the industry.
We watched Philip VanDusen’s video on the 7 ways to increase brand awareness and have found his advice to hold true, whether applied at a company’s inception (like ours in 1994) or year after year (even after a quarter century). VanDusen is the founder of Verhaal Brand Design, a strategic design and branding consultancy in the New York City metro area. He is an accomplished creative executive and expert in strategic branding, graphic design and creative management. Philip gives design, branding, marketing and business advice to creative professionals and entrepreneurs on building successful creative practices and brands. We transcribed his tips and trips below and hope you find them as helpful as we did. To watch the video please click the link below.
7 Ways to Increase Brand Awareness and Build Your Brand from Philip VanDusen
I want to talk to you about brand awareness and seven ways you can increase your brand awareness.
I talk a lot about the three R’s: being recognized, remembered, and revered and brand awareness sits squarely in that recognized piece. Do people, do customers, do visitors, do prospects, do they recognize, or they know that you exist? What do users know about your brand? And when users come across your brand out there in the brand-o-sphere, do they recognize that it’s you? This can include things like, do they recognize your name? Do they recognize your color palette, do they recognize your brand idea, your products, your services, your ads, your content? Having great brand awareness is people having a deeper familiarity with your brand, with your products, with your services, with your brand design, with your brand’s goals, with its history, with its mission.
Having great brand awareness can teach you things like the effectiveness of your brand design or the effectiveness of your marketing or how people are receiving you, how much you differ from your competition, how well they can tell you apart.
So, the first thing you can do to increase brand awareness is you can partner with other brands. Now, brands partner up and create partnerships all the time. Some examples of this are Red Bull and GoPro, or Apple and MasterCard, or Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma, or Spotify and Starbucks. These are all brand partnerships. And when you’re starting out, it’s beneficial to establish partnerships with other brands because what you’re doing is, by showing up with that brand and giving them some value, you’re bringing your audience to their audience, and you’re leveraging their audience to build your audience. So, make sure that you’re engaging with brands that have similar purposes and similar values and similar lifestyle aspirations. You want to co-publish with them. So, you can co-publish blog posts or articles, you can do, you know, video interviews, you can do podcast interviews, you can share or show up in the same place and give value to their audience. By developing those partnerships, it can really build your brand and your brand awareness much faster.
The second way you can build brand awareness is by guest posting. Now, you can’t jump right in and write for Huffington Post right away. You’re going to have to probably start small and build credibility over time and write for larger and larger publications. You want to put in your research. You want to research brands that have similar audiences and similar targets and then pitch them with content. You really want to do your research well because if you do, you’re going to have better results for your efforts and your pitches. And so, write a pitch email. Include a sample headline of the type of content that you would write or links to previous content that you’ve written for other brands, and then pitch them with your idea. And make sure to keep the pitch short because they get dozens of these emails a day and no one has time for that.
The third way to build brand awareness is to leverage social. So, people won’t share your content unless you ask them to, but you want to make sure that you’re developing shareable content, so things like graphics and infographics and quotes. Make sure that you’re focusing on really hot topics in your industry and use shortened links so it’s easy for people to share. And then you want to make sure that you engage. You want to answer comments, you want to ask questions, you want to really engage with your audience. You want to be authentic and not sales-y because if you incorporate your social into your website, Facebook feed, Instagram feed, it’s going to drive people to your social and then drive up your brand awareness. You want to share other people’s content, so they’ll share yours, they’ll return that favor, and then your content is getting exposed, again, to their audience, and that’s building that level of brand awareness and exposure.
The fourth way to increase brand awareness is: infographics. Everyone loves infographics. 90% of the information that’s transmitted to the human brain is transmitted visually. And, we process images 60,000 times faster than we process text, so using captioned images is a great way to communicate information very quickly. You want to visualize the information that you know, and there’s some great services for creating infographics, things like Visme and Venngage and Canva and Piktochart. I’ll put those links in the description. They’re great services that make it easy for you to develop infographics. And so, when you do it, you want to promote the type of work that you do, the kind of innovative ideas, the kind of resources and data that would be helpful to your customer targets or to your avatar. And then, you want to make sure that you push it out to the category of business that you’re in. And then finally, you want to make sure, if you’re developing infographics, that you brand them. I can’t tell you how many infographics I see out there that are being shared all over the place that don’t have any branding on them. The people who developed the infographic did not put their URL on it or any contact information or even their brand name or their logo. That’s how you increase brand awareness, your content getting shared with a wider audience. So, you want to make sure that your brand gets out there with the information that you’re producing.
The fifth way to increase brand awareness is publishing content (like this!). Publishing content is probably one of the best ways to increase brand awareness. It’s shareable, it’s evergreen, so it lasts forever, it increases your credibility, it establishes you as a thought leader. You can re-purpose your content across a bunch of different platforms, so if you write an article, you can turn into a podcast or you do a video, you can turn it into an article. You can promote your industry expertise, you can champion trends, you can champion innovations, you can share resources, so apps and services and tutorials. You can give all sorts of value to your audience, and that is going to make them like you better and make them want to share your stuff, and that is going to increase brand awareness.
The sixth way to increase brand awareness is to leverage friend referrals. People trust their friends. My good friend, Chris Tucker, calls it P2P. People to people marketing. People are much more apt to follow a recommendation from a friend than they would from any kind of brand advertising. There’s a geometric growth, geometric progression of growth in asking and leveraging friend referrals. For instance, if you have a tribe of 10 people and you ask them to share what you want them to share with four of their friends, suddenly you’ve turned that into 40 brand impressions. So, you want to offer, possibly if you can, an incentive, so a download or some sort of valuable content to the people you’re asking to share to their friends for you. Dropbox did this in an effective way when they were starting off. They offered free disk space to anybody who brought in or recommended them to a friend. They gave you 500 megabytes of disk space, and they capped it at 16 gigabytes. But their referrals grew by 60%. They doubled their users every three months for a period. So, think about what you could offer, could that be a download, could it be a resource list, could be a checklist, and then offer that up, ask for your tribe, your audience, your members to share what you want them to share with a friend and see that exponential growth in your brand impressions.
And finally, the seventh way to increase brand awareness is to use consistent visual and verbal branding. And I know I sound like a broken record here, but it’s probably the most important a thing you can do to increase brand awareness. You must use consistent logo and colors and fonts and imagery and layout and photography style and thumbnails because by using consistent visual and verbal branding, people are going to be able to recognize you quicker. That is, speaking right back to those three R’s, so being recognized, remembered, and revered. So, you must be recognized before you can be remembered. And if you’re remembered, then you’re on your way to being revered, which is the goal of any brand.
Please visit Philip’s website at philipvandusen.com if you need help with your brand strategy, your brand design, or your professional creative career.
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