A brand is a collection of principles, promises if you will, and brand awareness means your target audience knows your brand principles. They understand your brand principles and trust them.
An easy example is with Volvo. Their biggest brand principle is that they make safe cars. Their target consumer (drivers who can afford a Volvo) understand what this means and most people trust that when they drive a Volvo they are driving a safe car.
Here are the key factors that should feature in your brand development and awareness strategy.
Define Your Principles
The first step in how to develop a brand is to define your principles. Some companies use their strongest selling points to sculpt their brand principles, others may use their competitors to craft their brand principles, and others may use a gap in the market.
Here are a few examples:
Principle-Based on a Selling Point
Again, Volvo is an easy example here. Their cars’ strongest selling point is that they are safe, so Volvo built their brand on car safety.
Their brand has grown since then, so now people also think of Volvo as a high-end and luxury car manufacturer, but they started out with a “safe car” brand principle.
Principle-Based on a Competitor
Pepsi is very similar to Coke. They tried for years with the brand principle that their cola tasted better than Coca Cola.
Despite their heavily-expensive Pepsi Challenge marketing strategy, they never beat Coca Cola. So, they shifted their brand principle to the “we are the kid’s favourite drink” and have built and sustained their brand on that principle.
Principle-Based on a Gap in The Market
Before Pizza restaurants were a worldwide phenomenon, the idea that getting a quick pizza delivered to your door was unheard of. Then came Dominos who saw this gap and filled it with their brand principle (brand promise) that you get your pizza in 30 minutes or it is free.
Even though they had to drop this brand promise after a few years for legal reasons, their brand had already seen unparalleled success in the Pizza house industry (beating Pizza Hut easily).
Pick the Strongest Principle to Begin Your Brand Development
The next point to your brand development strategy is to pick a single brand principle.
Many companies have numerous brand principles such as how Amazon built its business on books. Their starting principle was that they could sell you any book you want; new or second hand. They hammered that brand principle over and over again, making it seem like they really were the only place people could get new and second-hand books at a reasonable price.
Only after they had built their brand on this single principle, could they expand their brand to make promises such as how they can find you other products at fair prices, or how all their products are reviewed, or more recently how they can get most products to you within 24 hours if you are willing to pay extra.
The key to your brand building strategy is to pick your strongest brand principle and focus on it. You may have many other fantastic selling points and brand principles but building brand awareness means putting all your energy into one principle and hammering your target audience with it.
This means putting it into everything from your letterheads to every single piece of text, media, and advertising your company produces.
Find Your Target Audience
Hammering your target audience with a single brand principle is the starting point of your brand awareness strategy, but what good is your marketing voice if it is not reaching the right people?
Your brand strategy needs to include ways to find your target audience, and the easiest “early” method is to see who your competitors are selling to.
What TV shows are their adverts running after? Which social media groups are they in? What sort of websites are they adding to? Who is promoting them on YouTube? Which websites are running down your competitors and who visits those websites?
Your target audience is the group of people most likely to buy your products or services. Getting attention is easy. You need to make sure you have the attention of the people who matter.
Learn About Your Target Audience
Developing a brand is impossible if you don’t know much about your target audience. Marvel knows what to say to anger DC fans, and Harley Davidson knows which websites they shouldn’t post on.
For example, can you imagine the backlash if Harley tried to advertise on the My Little Pony (MLP) website because somebody thought the Bronies (Men who love MLP) crowd may want motorcycles. Such a move would anger their target audience who have the view that Harley is a macho brand.
When learning, aim for the general public (anybody), soft leads (your target audience) warm leads (people expressing an interest), and current and previous customers.
Learning from current customers takes little more than tracking their progress from your adverts all the way up to the actual sale. Previous customers can be offered discounts for filling out surveys, or you may even ask questions within the sale confirmation email.
Test and Measure
The ugly and boring side to brand awareness is testing and measuring.
Trial and error testing is needed to figure out which adverts convert into sales, which methods build the most brand awareness, and which web pages are making the most sales and why.
Even your testing tools need to be tested. For example, if you are testing to see if people are aware of your brand and your brand principles, you’ll need to test your methods of testing. In other words, if you’re using a spirit level to test if your shelves are straight, then occasionally you need to test your spirit level to see if it’s doing its job correctly.
The testing and measuring phase is dull, overly complicated, and easy to get wrong, but it is a vital part of your brand development and brand awareness strategy because it helps you learn what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
Brand development will be fast if you put the effort into promoting and growing your brand with solid and sustainable principles.
Working as a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2004, Lee helps SMEs win more business through developing effective digital marketing strategies. He is a dedicated Liverpool FC fan, dog lover and loves long country walks (and a cheeky pint) with his dog, Banjo.