The brand world follows the food chain – little fish look up to the big fish, everyone wants to be on top, and low visibility is often equated with eventual extinction. Every brand wants to be the next Nike or Apple, right? The thing is that those big brands – those top-of-mind, always relevant brands that even your grandma knows about – are rare. And if you’re a brand that’s still trying to build awareness, simply imitating what they do isn’t always the right strategy.
Brand Awareness Issues
At Emotive Brand, we’ve worked with a lot of brands who share a common frustration. They’ve put so much into building a business, product, solution, service – endless hours, heart, and soul. And it’s great. The problem is that no one knows about it. No one understands the true value that brand can offer, or no one seems to care. That’s where an awareness campaign comes in to help.
Creating a Brand Awareness Campaign
Brands look to an awareness campaign to drive awareness, spark engagement, and ultimately, foster loyalty. If you get your awareness campaign right (it’s hard!) your brand and business can grow in meaningful and impactful ways. Here’s our advice.
1. Turn Your Audience into Your Advisor
You don’t have to have millions of loyal fans lining up at 3 a.m. for your latest product to know who your brand-lovers are or what they care about. As long as you find someone who loves your brand, you can learn and gather deep insights about how your brand fits into their lives. And from there, you can find people just like them – people who have the potential to fall in love with your brand.
2. Locate and Listen to Your Brand’s Heart
Getting to the core brand truths that will drive your campaign requires getting to the heart of why people care about you – both functionally and emotionally. Although most brands focus on the functional, if you really want to grow your brand, understanding what emotional role your brand plays in people’s lives has unparalleled value. These insights will inform how you build a relationship with your target audience moving forward.
3. Create Consistency, Create Trust
Once you identify your target audience and why they should care, you can figure out how to meaningfully connect with them and stand out in a way that consistently reinforces those key truths. A campaign is a perfect opportunity to introduce your brand in a way that resonates and draws people in. Setting the tone for the future, you can begin to build consistency and trust with the people who matter to your business.
4. Timing Is Everything
A mistake lots of brands make when creating an awareness campaign is generalizing time. How much does coffee matter to you at 10 p.m.? Have you thought about your car insurance today? A lot of brands think of themselves as lower-involvement brands because people don’t care about them all the time. But what about 7 a.m. when you have to get to work? Or those moments just after a fender bender? What really matters is finding those higher-involvement moments and pinpointing when they occur. When you isolate the occasions when people care the most, you can recreate campaign moments in which people will be most emotionally poised to connect with you. This helps make it real and motivates people to take action.
5. Nothing Beats Authenticity
People can smell inauthenticity from miles away. As you’re establishing yourself in the market and gaining awareness, it’s super important that you be authentic and true to who you are. The way you reach out to people needs to ring true to your core truths. Don’t grab people by imitating the big players. Grab people by being particularly emotionally relevant to them and genuine about what your company is really about.
Lower Awareness Brands May Not Be at a Disadvantage
Being poised to grow, ready to exceed expectations, and eager to connect with people is a powerful position to be in. Many brands would do anything for a blank slate – another opportunity to make a perfect first impression.
Keep this in mind: while those big brands enjoy their position at the top, most people don’t feel delight in aligning with a massive company that everyone already loves. What many people crave is the thrill of discovery. Like stumbling upon a great unknown band or artist, there is a joy in unearthing a great unknown brand.
So focus on leveraging your position into an opportunity for people to explore and try something new. A lot of our clients struggle to see the tremendous emotional impact their small (but mighty) brand already has. As an agency, it’s our role to bring this potential to the surface, find those passionate brand advocates, and unearth the powerful core truths that will drive a campaign that can sky rocket brand awareness.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy and design agency.