Updated: Aug 19
One of the most common challenges startups and small businesses face is getting their brand seen by the right people. With so many brands competing for our attention, you might be wondering how you can increase your brand awareness without spending your monthly income on paid ads.
Here are five simple strategies for brand awareness that you should adopt in your growing business.
But first, what is brand awareness and why is it important?
Brand awareness, simply put, is the ability for consumers to recognize and identify your brand.
Why is brand awareness important? Well, as your brand awareness increases, your brand becomes familiar in the mind’s of consumers. Familiarity is a beautiful thing in the world of business because as familiarity grows so, too, does their trust in that brand.
Okay, let’s talk strategies!
1. To Increase Brand Awareness, You Must Start with Emotional Branding
The goal behind your brand awareness building should be to attract the attention of those who your business will benefit. And this starts with your brand identity.
We are visual people, and in order to get anyone to stop scrolling through their feeds, you need to ensure you are using the right visual strategies to get their attention.
First and foremost, you need to have a nuanced understanding of who your future customers are, what their problem is that you solve, what motivates their behaviour, and what characteristics they are seeking from a business like you.
All of this preliminary research allows you to better align the needs of your future customers with the feeling you want your brand to evoke. As you design your brand identity, you can use emotional branding techniques to ensure you’re able to strategically grab their attention.
With 50% of our brain being used for visual processing power, the brand identity you present really needs to be strategic. Colour alone plays a significant role in designing a brand that will appeal to your target audience. Be sure to read my blog on Branding and Colours to better understand this as it relates to your own business.
2. Visual Consistency is the Easiest Way to Increase Brand Awareness
If there’s one strategy you should implement right away it’s brand consistency. Truly one of the easiest things you can do to increase your brand awareness is to be consistent with your visual identity and content.
Brand awareness is impossible to build when you are actively changing your style, colours, imagery or the like. People won’t have anything to recognize you by.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I see among new businesses. They get bored with their identity—probably because it hasn’t been designed strategically—and so they keep trying on new trends and styles.
On the flip side, when we see things that are familiar to us, it creates a feeling of comfort. Literally, our brains produce dopamine when we see familiar patterns, which—in the case of building brand awareness—is your brand colours, imagery, typefaces, etc. So the more you show up in a consistent visual way, the better we feel when we come across your brand.
Do everything you can to ensure every visual piece of your brand is cohesive and easy to recognize as your brand. That, in a nutshell, is what brand awareness is all about.
3. Focus on Creating High Value Shareable Content
Having a solid content strategy will allow you to build brand awareness courtesy of your followers. Think of the type of user-generated content you share with your own audience—how can you prioritize and create content that encourages people to share it with their own audience?
High value content is great for two reasons:
it positions you as an expert and you become a trusted source of knowledge.
people want to share insightful content with their own audience and this quickly expands your reach.
The more eyes your content can get in front of—paired with a consistent brand identity—you will quickly increase your brand awareness just by being more intentional in your content strategy.
PLUS, this helps you attract the right type of followers who are looking for content related to your expertise. Make it a priority to start creating simple, high value content that is branded and easy to share.
4. Build Brand Awareness Through Meaningful Engagement
Time to get social. It’s one thing to grow your following, but it’s another altogether to nurture the followers you already have. Active and intentional engagement with your fan base ensures you’re also building an audience of brand loyalists.
If you’re eager to start building your brand awareness, it’s so important that you carve out time each day to engage with your audience. Double-down by strategically engaging with other people’s content 15 minutes before you post something.
Think of how good it feels when someone leaves a comment on your post that isn’t just a series of emojis or something generic. Chances are, if you’re leaving thoughtful comments on your followers’ posts—or on content under the hashtags you follow—they’ll be delighted by the comment and you'll remain top of mind.
Adopt meaningful engagement into your brand awareness strategy—you’ll be surprised by how impactful being social can be to increase your brand awareness.
5. Hosting Online Workshops and Webinars are Great for Brand Awareness Building
I’m a firm believer that educational content is the new go-to strategy for marketing your business. With so many entrepreneurs learning on their own, they’re actively seeking specific educational content to get them where they need to go.
With a nuanced understanding of your ideal customer, you’ll be able to pin point the subjects and topics that your audience is searching for. Host a webinar, workshop or Instagram Live series that allows them to get to know you both personally and professionally.
Going back to the topic of consistency—the more you can show up with high-value offers like this for them, the more accustom they are to seeing you as the expert. Whether they decide to participate right away or not, it will slowly build their trust in you and their awareness of your brand is solidified.
The other benefit here is that if you are successful in delivering value through your webinar or workshop, they’re far more likely to spread the word and share their positive brand experience with their friends. BOOM—you just expanded your reach organically.
Building brand awareness isn’t hard, but it takes intention and planning. Let's recap the brand awareness strategies pyramid:
It all starts with a solid foundation of having a strategically built brand identity. Without a solid and clear foundation for your brand, you'll struggle to achieve high brand awareness.
Jenny Henderson is a brand strategist and business mentor. She collaborates with service-based solopreneurs to design memorable brands that allow them to make a living doing what they love. Since 2020, her branding studio has become a place where small business owners learn to think like a brand.