Brand awareness is strategic (or you’re doing it wrong)

A mistake that I made in the past was to focus solely on performance. My job is all about measurement and, therefore, performance focussed campaigns are the easiest for me to understand. With communications pushing your brand, it is less clear to report on whether the activity has been a success or failure. I have heard it said that branding should take 50-60% of your marketing budget. In the past I scoffed at this. But I was wrong!

I have worked for large companies where a brand has already been created. Selling your products and services is often as easy as being explicit about what you are offering and making it easy for them to get it online. There is trust for your brand and people searching for your products specifically. By making the process easier for visitors to your site, you can massively improve the success of your digital activity

If you are working with smaller companies, without a recognised brand, making it easy alone is not enough. People often need to be convinced to choose your products or services. This can be hard. Every business says that they are best, so how can you build trust in your company? What makes you stand out?

Working with these smaller companies was when the penny finally dropped – this is why you need to build your brand!

Many brand awareness campaigns are a waste of time

Whilst working at large organisations often brand awareness is just an excuse for putting out pointless communications. The rationale behind some digital campaigns is that “we do it every year”. Often these campaigns get regarded as “brand awareness” when actually they are pointless. The fact that the logo is put on some collateral and it is posted through your social media channels is not how to build a brand.

This is fed by the thought by a lot of marketers your brand is your logo, your chosen font and your colour scheme. Therefore brand awareness is exposing people to these stylings. These design elements are often how your brand is recognised and make up part of your brand. Marketers that think these elements “are” your brand are missing the point.

Your brand is who you are and how you do your business; it is your company’s identity.

Building a company identity

Your brand identity is created to assist in the sale of your products and services. It dictates the way that you do business and what you aspire to achieve through your work. To communicate this message effectively requires structure and discipline. Pushing these characteristics is the point of brand awareness.

Therefore brand awareness should be strategic. The goal is to reinforce the characteristics that have been decided for the brand in question. Then to tell the story in a way that engages your target audience. This is how to grow your brand strategically. 

Measuring brand awareness

You can easily put out polls through social media channels or make these appear as pop ups on your website. You could do this periodically to measure whether your communications are working. Every page on your site should have a call to action or an opportunity to get in touch. This is the easiest way to measure success. Just look at the pages that are getting the most calls to action being clicked and which areas these relate to.

This is really about categorising your content. If content is structured strategically, then it is easy to report on successes in a meaningful format. You could also look at the “page path” metric or set different events to monitor progress through the “Reverse goal path” report in Google Analytics. Again by using a clearer structure these reports can have more meaning.

I have always been more focussed on performance than branding. However now I am a convert to using more brand focussed campaigns. For it to mean something, to me, brand awareness has to result in a measurable outcome. It is down to us, as marketers, to ensure that brand awareness is strategic and serves a measurable purpose.

I know as marketers you can make this change and you can achieve great things. However if you would like help with your digital marketing strategy please get in touch with us  tod ay

John is a data driven marketing specialist and website manager who lives in South East London. When he isn't blogging for us he manages Revenue and Marketing Operations for corporate clients.

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