Building a brand is not an easy task. However, digital marketing gives ample room for brands to build brand awareness in 2019. From new models of marketing and advertising to strategic solutions, read on to discover how you can build your brand awareness in 2019.
Let’s start the article with some questions that I want all marketing heads and brand managers to ask themselves-
- What are the goals that you want to fulfil through building brand awareness?
- Are you thinking of exploring digital marketing to build brand awareness?
- Is transitioning from traditional models of marketing to digital marketing posing a challenge?
- Are you just looking at building brand awareness from a sales point of view?
- Have you ever asked yourself why do some brands continue to perform well even after fifty years?
It is important to ask these questions because it helps to set a context to the focus of the article.
Their relevance and importance stays the same across generations. Be it your grandfather, or your father or even yourself- the brand still continues to be as popular as before.
With the rise of digital marketing, brands have access to more platforms than ever before. Compared to traditional avenues of awareness, the digital offers infinite scope and opportunities.
It also helps integrating both offline and online models of outreach and marketing. However, the need of the hour is to try new, innovative and challenging strategies that will help give you a competitive edge.
In this article, we will look at the top 10 sneaky ways to build brand awareness in 2019.
Building Brand Awareness: A Simple Explanation
Before we get straight to the top 10 list, it would be a great idea to understand what building brand awareness is all about.
I want to narrate a small personal experience from a few days ago. This experience is what prompted me to write the article in the first place.
A few days ago, I was waiting at a traffic signal in my car. When the signal turned green, I tried the ignition. The engine did not pay heed to my request. Just then I heard a Bus driver behind me yell “Oye Maruti, please give way”!
The funny thing is that my car was not even a Maruti Suzuki model. It was in fact, a Hyundai.
Maruti Suzuki is one of the biggest car manufacturers in India. It has more than a 50% share in passenger cars even in 2019. It has been in existence for nearly four decades. For people in India, regardless of generation, a car has come to mean Maruti Suzuki.
While discussing this topic, many of my colleagues spoke of similar examples like Coke (for Cola or soft drink), Xerox (for photocopying, printing, etc.) and Band Aid (for a bandage)!
The list is never ending. The important thing to note is that through a sustained brand building exercise, some brands have been able to replace category names with themselves.
For a Marketing Head or a Brand Manager, there is no higher achievement or goal! The aim of any marketing strategy, be it offline or online, is to increase the recall factor for the brand.
10 Sneaky Ways to Build Brand Awareness in 2019: The List
1. Quora, Reddit and similar product centric review platforms
What happens when you make your best content writer answer every related query on Quora, Reddit and other platforms about your industry? Result- you get bucket loads of traffic from these sites to your website.
By simply placing a link and identifying it as the solution, you can win many potential consumers for your brand. However, the key is to ensure that the content and answers are of the highest quality possible.
When people are impresssed with your reply, they are more likely to look up to you for directions. This is when your links act as a credible pathway. Almost every industry now has a review/ecommerce platform dedicated to it.
2. Build Brand Awareness through your Blog
A blog is not what it used to be a couple of years back. Hand it over to an expert Content Marketing agency and see them make over $200 USD from it per week. While it does not sound like a big amount, once you filter in the total monthly earnings, you are looking at over $5000 USD!
By using your blog as a credible source of information, you can invite numerous bloggers and link-building clients to sponsor posts. You can then use the links and see which brands they lead to. Reach out to them on an individual basis and negotiate what you are looking for accordingly.
Your blog can be an expert networking and revenue-earning model for your business in 2019.
3. Guest Posting and Blogger Outreach Services
Reaching out to new customers and spreading word about your brand contributes to raising brand awareness. Two digital marketing strategies that are best suited for this function are- guest posting and blogger outreach.
By skilfully negotiating with the blogger or the publisher, you can have access to their audience to spread your word. However, a word of caution at this point is mandatory. Both these strategies can also quickly become anti-Google, meaning they can veer away from Google’s quality guidelines.
This is why you need to be careful of the sites you work with. Relevancy is a key factor, along with the quality of the content and the health and metrics of the site.
4. Aggressive Social Media Brand Building
Have you ever created a list of the top 100 followers (in terms of engagement) of a rival competitor brand and DM-ed them personally? Chances are that you have not. Why not spend a day and do that just to see what results you get in a week or so.
In addition to the above, running contests and organizing giveaways is a good way to build your brand. The key is to look for innovative and new ways of growing your follower base on social media.
You can also look to work with social media influencers in your industry. They command huge followings and may be willing to help if the price is right. Please ensure that you work with an influencer over a period of time. This will help transition his follower base to your brand. A one-off engagement usually does not produce results from a brand’s perspective.
5. Create Viral Content on Digital Marketing Platforms
I know it is easier said than done, but if you are following the right strategy, you will see the results. This means starting with a hilarious new idea. Following which, you will have to seed it in an organic way.
This involves reaching out to real people on social media who have less than 1000 friends and asking them to share your creative. You can get these people for as low as $100 USD. Once they share it, reach out to a mid-level influencer to amplify it.
This should be followed by tagging some authority social media brands in a related industry. A great way is to create a story and relate it to government service departments like the Police. Within a month, you will have tons of free publicity and brand awareness.
6. Sponsor Local Bodies in your Community
I had mentioned in the introduction that brand awareness should be both an online and offline integrated strategy. The key is to use offline activations and amplify them online. You can start by sponsoring the local soccer team of your region’s schools and colleges.
In return for giving out merchandise, ask the kids to share it on their social pages. Rather than paying hefty fees to celebs, make the local community kids your brand ambassadors. This will help you create respect and credibility in the community.
Whatever teenagers share already has a viral component built into it. By sponsoring 15 football kids, you will get exposure from school children, their families, and other schools in the neighbourhood. This is a viral marketing exercise which you can then leverage on social media platforms.
7. Create a Human Persona
This may be confusing but allow me to demonstrate. Your organization is built up of assets. They may be your stores, your infrastructure, your database and your employees. Most brands make the mistake of not leveraging their own employees.
Why not make your employees brand ambassadors. All of them have stories, challenges, hardships and dreams. Brands can come across as helpful entities allowing employees to realise their dreams.
For example, if you are running a café and are passionate about the recent immigration scandal rocking the USA, why not hire all your staff from immigrants and create detailed profiles. This will not only help you become a voice in a progressive movement, it will also give your brand a lot of exposure.
8. Take sides, Pick a Social Issue and be Vocal
Generation Z is replacing the millennials! Gen Z or ‘digital natives’ as they are called like their brands to have a say. This means that the brand should reflect the personality of the consumers it caters to.
A few years back, brands needed to focus on experiences to connect with audiences. Now they have to focus on social issues affecting society and humanity at large. Users try to identify with brands who speak and share their opinions and emotions. This means taking a stand on issues like immigration, veganism, LGBTQ rights, Gender Equality, Surrogacy and so on.
Being safe and conservative is not a good idea if you want to build your brand. It does not matter if you are being lauded or criticized. What matters is that your brand receives a lot of mention on social media and other digital channels.
9. Create your Brand Story and Push the Narrative
‘What is your brand about’ is probably the single most important question that you need to answer. Is your brand about-
- Destitute women making hand made products.
- Is it about employing disabled people in your organization
- Does your brand story have at its heart a story of success of maybe your Founder.
I can keep on giving you examples on what your story can be. The key is to discuss your story and amplify it on social media. You can also create a brand video and promote the same on multiple platforms.
Story also means your brand identities like the logo, motto/tag line, etc. The best brands have the most endearing and long lasting stories. These stories are expiration free- meaning that they always have value across generations.
10. Email Marketing is still better than Social Media Marketing
I think I probably stated the most polarizing topic in the digital marketing fraternity. However, I try to base my statements on data. The major difference between email marketing and social media marketing is that emails do not get restricted by organic reach!
Once you send an email, it is delivered to a person. Whether he or she chooses to open, is another issue altogether. According to data, email marketing generates more reach, clicks and conversions than social media.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not against social media at all. In fact, most of the above points centre on social media. However, most agencies and brands are ditching the humble old email. Let them do so. This is good for you. Having a strategic email-marketing plan in 2019 is absolutely critical to build brand awareness.
Building brand awareness addresses three critical components of an organization’s survival-
You can also argue that building brand awareness also helps in several other aspects and you would be right. However, for me, these three aspects keep an organization running and profitable. If you are able to follow the above ten points in letter and spirit, you will be in a position to execute a flawless brand building awareness strategy.
Building brand awareness might be a long-term goal for most brands. With the advent of digital marketing, this long-term goal has been definitely condensed!