The simplest brand awareness definition is that it’s the number of people who know your brand exists and, consequently, have the potential to buy from you. The greater awareness of your brand, the more people buy from you, and the more money you make.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, in many respects it is. But there’s a more complex version of that definition. You see, it’s about more than just awareness. The term is misleading in that sense, as it gives the impression all you need to succeed is for people to know you exist.
Raising brand awareness isn’t a simple endeavour. So ensuring people know you exist can be harder than it sounds. But, more crucially, people being aware of your brand is only of value to you if you capitalise on it.
Let me explain…
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Awareness Is Cumulative…
The biggest part of this – and the thing that most businesses trip over – is that you will need to put yourself in front of a person multiple times before they become consciously aware of your brand.
After that, you’ll need to put yourself in front of them multiple additional times before they decide to trust your brand; to have confidence that what your offer is high quality, valuable, and necessary.
You then need to be front-of-mind with that person at the moment they find themselves needing precisely what you have to offer.
So, true brand awareness occurs when people have heard and experienced enough of your brand that they think of you, even if they’re not currently looking at a piece of your content.
Another way to think of this is that there’s a difference between brand recognition vs brand awareness. Recognising a brand you’ve seen before and enjoying their content doesn’t mean you’re yet consciously aware of the intricacies. Knowing who that brand are, what they stand for, what they do, whether you gel with them or not, and if they offer something you want is critical. The importance of brand awareness is its ability to cultivate loyalty rather than simple recall, and emotional attachment rather than passing interest.
It’s About The Moment
When they have seen enough about you, when they have come to know, like, and trust you, all while understanding and valuing what you do. When they are happy to continue consuming your content – be it via a blog, social, email, advert, a live event, whatever – ensuring that, when the time is right for them, they will buy.
Until they reach that ‘buying’ point, they’re no good to you.
It’s all about that moment and ensuring they immediately think of you in it.
If you have no means of reminding them you exist regularly they will be useless to you when the moment occurs. They won’t think of you. They’ll buy elsewhere.
If you don’t capitalise on awareness it has no value to you.
True Brand Awareness…
Creating brand awareness only has value when it actually leads to sales.
TRUE brand awareness is better described as the number of people who care about your brand, rather than the number who have been made aware of its existence.
Why the distinction?
One makes you money; the other does not.
And we are after all in business, darlings. Profit is the name of the game.
So, how do you make people aware enough of your brand to care about it?
Basically, you need to seduce them.
You need to touch them often enough that they start to catch feels.
A touch can be anything; they read a blog, watch a vlog, see a TikTok, signup for your lead magnet, then regularly open your newsletter.
They buy from you, keep buying from you, and happily recommend you. This puts you in front of more people, who in turn fall for your devilish charms.
This is why brand awareness is such a vital investment for your business; it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
The more you make people aware of your brand and seduce them into loving it, the more they will do your job for you and introduce you to a wider audience.
How To Seduce People Into Loving Your Brand
If this isn’t your first rodeo you’ve likely come across blogs on the benefits of brand awareness, listing great ways to raise yours. Guest blog, they will tell you. Create cool infographics, they will tell you. Post on social media, post on LinkedIn, start a podcast, or a YouTube channel, do both, run a load of ads…
They will list out multiple useful ways of putting yourself out there and getting in front of people. And if you’re completely new to digital marketing, that’s super helpful. You don’t know this stuff yet. But if you’ve been in business for any length of time you already Googled the crap out of that stuff.
You know how to put stuff in the digital sphere where people can see it.
Your Dating Game Is Off
What you’re not clear on is how to make that stuff seductive. How to ensure the content you create actually raises awareness of your brand and doesn’t simply get seen, heard, and forgotten.
Or worse – seen, heard, remembered, but not associated with your brand specifically. It’s just part of the detritus of digital content that we collectively consume en-masse daily.
The average adult spends over eight hours per day online.
You don’t need to know how to ensure one of the thousands of pieces of content they come across in that time is yours. You need to know how to make yours positively stand out, enough that people take note of who you are and what you do. Enough that they come back for more.
There are a few ways to do this…
The big buzzword in branding and for a damn good reason, authenticity really is key. When you’re building a brand – particularly a personal brand that represents your company, as a solopreneur, or your company, with you as the ‘face’ of the brand.
People don’t like to be lied to. They don’t like to be fooled. And they can usually see through fakery pretty quickly. Creating a persona and acting a part for your brand is not only exhausting to maintain, it doesn’t do you any good in the long run.
Just be yourself.
That doesn’t mean you have to share every intimate detail of your life. Not at all. Create boundaries, decide what’s for public consumption and what’s private. But speak with your own, genuine voice. Use language that you are comfortable with. Try to resist the urge to filer everything – literally and figuratively.
As your pure, unfiltered, uncensored self.
Taylor Swift is the perfect example of a brand that understands the need for seduction. One of the most successful brands to leverage the Lover archetype I’ve ever seen, T-Swizzle even succeeded in creating a die-hard fan out of me. (Seriously if you want to see how much I overthink her lyrics you need only read this…)
And I normally listen to the likes of Within Temptation, Delain, Serenity… you know, metal.
The secret to Taylor crafting an enduring and highly seductive brand?
Again, this does not mean she shares the sordid details of her sex life. She has boundaries. Yet she also speaks to her fans on a regular basis.
A few examples of how Taylor cultivates an intimate brand awareness strategy:
She’s not afraid to share raw footage of her creative process, videos from random angles taken on her phone as she’s writing songs. No auto-tune here. Just Taylor, sat strumming a guitar and occasionally going off-key. The literally invites us into her home, and show us her true authentic self.
It’s also not unusual for her to share homemade videos for her tracks when they release. Not the big, show-stopping numbers, but just a girl recording herself singing a song while riding a merry-go-round at the park.
Unrelated to her music, Taylor also shares videos of her cats, which she names after her favourite characters in her favourite shows. This demonstrates that, despite the fame, she’s just as obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy as the rest of us.
She invites groups of her most active fans on social media to private listening sessions of her new albums before they’re released. This is a great way of rewarding those who do her marketing for her by hyping her up on social media.
It’s also very well known that a large proportion of Taylor’s songs are based on real-life events. She’s veered away from this on her last two albums – to great success – but for years TayTay’s fame was built on her break-up ballads.
Add to that the album that is quite literally called Lover? There are few things Taylor doesn’t understand about the fine art of seduction through content.
So, show up as your true self, and share something intimate.
What are people gaining from your content?
Seriously, don’t half-arse the answer to this, really think about it. Does it actually bring tangible value to their lives? Will they come away from it better for having consumed it?
A few ways of ensuring content is valuable is creating something that:
Entertains – if it’s getting a laugh out loud, or better yet a belly laugh, you’ve brought some joy to people’s lives. That’s often the most valuable thing you can offer someone.
Educates – do they have a question you can answer, fully and completely? If so, do it! Just don’t put them to sleep in the process.
Inspires – everyone needs a little inspiration in life. If your content gives people something to aim for, and makes them believe it’s possible for them to attain that thing, it’s of value.
Motivates – we don’t always have the energy or motivation to go after the things we want. Whether it’s keeping them on track during a weight loss journey, helping them stay consistent in their marketing efforts, getting them off the sofa and cleaning the house, it doesn’t matter. If your content is what gets them going, it’s valuable.
Comforts – everyone has times when they feel insecure, anxious, hurt, angry, sad, whatever. If your content can bring comfort to your audience they will value it (and you).
Reasures – we all need reassurance. That things will get better, that there’s nothing to fear, that feeling a certain way is perfectly normal, that a hope or dream is not a fanciful wish but could actually come to pass.
Actions – providing the tools, techniques, or tips required to actually action something is immensely valuable.
Makes Them Think – thought leadership content is a great way to bring value to your audience. How can you shake things up? What new concepts or insights can you share? How can you turn an established norm on its head? Craft content that makes them think.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. You need to bring a positive change, feeling, or result with your content in order for it to have true value to your audience.
Now you have their attention, you need to own them. No, I’m not talking about slavery. You simply need to have a method of putting yourself in front of them that is entirely under your control. Social media brand awareness only gets you so far. Those social platforms? Not yours. You don’t own your Instagram or your TikTok. It doesn’t matter how many followers you have on there, your account isn’t yours. Not really. It belongs to the platform. If that platform disappears, so does your audience. If your account is deleted or hacked, you’re screwed.
You also can’t rely on algorithms or the memory of individuals when it comes to repeat viewing. Yes, if someone has already interacted with your content on social they’re more likely to be shown more of it. But that isn’t a guarantee.
Even the old methods of retargeting audiences who have previously interacted with you don’t work anymore. Facebook ads are struggling since the iOS update in 2021. Retargetting in the way we used to do it isn’t physically possible anymore.
It just stopped working one day, and there’s not a thing Facebook can do about it. Facebook’s been dying for a while as an advertising platform, but at the moment it’s completely fucked.
So when I say you need to own your audience, I mean you need a means of communicating with them that doesn’t rely on social media. Or them remembering they like you and checking back for new content. Or on the whim of an algorithm showing them something new you’ve published.
How To Enslave Your Audience:
You need them to subscribe to your email list. This means you need to give them a reason to do so – incentivise them to sign up by offering something of even greater value than your regular content, also for free.
You need to host that list on your own dedicated CRM.
You need to setup automated sequences that sends content out to your audience automatically and introduces them to your brand when they first subscribe.
You need to send them regular updates in the form of newsletters, offers, announcements, and content, content, content.
You need to create more clever automations that send them even more content based on their interactions with those updates.
And you need to give them the option to unsubscribe from that list whenever they want. Because we really aren’t talking about slavery here. That shit’s illegal, and so is breaching GDPR.
Make An Offer
One of the most bizarre mistakes businesses and entrepreneurs alike make is that they fail to actually offer anything to their audience.
Remember, your brand is only of value if it earns you income. And people can’t give you money unless you give them a reason to do so. Sure, there will be some who get curious about what you have to offer, or like you enough to seek out a way to work with you. But most people will just happily continue to consume your content until you prompt them to buy from you.
So make an offer.
Not all the time. But often enough your audience is aware of what you actually have that they can spend money on. A product, a service, whatever you do, work it into the conversation.
Talk about it when it comes up naturally – not in detail, just in passing. And every now and then, discuss it in detail. Offer a discount. Run a sale. And if you’re launching something new, for goodness sake launch it.
Make a big fat splash about it.
Create Brand Ambassadors And Super Fans
Once you’ve got people buying from you, don’t stop. Don’t settle. Get them to continue to buy from you. Promote brand awareness by encouraging them to recommend you to others so that they also buy from you.
Brand ambassaords are incredibly powerful. And they can be anyone. Yes, you can have some influencer on the ‘gram or TikTok posting about how awesome you are, but equally, you can have regular people recommend you to friends and family.
Your brand ambassadors don’t even have to have bought from you personally. Often the people you help most are the ones who – initially at least – can’t afford you. That doesn’t mean they don’t value you. And because they’ve received great value from your free content, and fully intend to buy your paid content when they can, they will recommend you.
And then you have superfans. These are the people who love your stuff so much they buy from you again and again. They come to you – and often only you – for a certain thing. They buy from you repeatedly and often. When you release something new they’re super-psyched about it, and will probably buy it.
Case In Point…
If you want some real-world brand awareness examples, I’m a superfan of certain clothing brands. And by that I mean my entire wardrobe consists of clothing from one of three brands I’m utterly devoted to: Killstar, Hell Bunny, and Collectif. I’m not above adding new brands to the lineup – Collectif is a relatively new addition and I have considerably less of their stuff as a result. If I find a new brand that perfectly encapsulated my style and aesthetic as these three do – slightly goth chic, slightly pin-up rockabilly, slightly Audrey Hepburn – I’ll become obsessed with them too.
It’s incredibly rare for me to buy something from anyone else. If I do it’s functional and unavailable from one of those three brands.
And while I don’t buy every single thing they produce, when I get an email announcing a new drop I immediately go and check it out. When I need something new, I go straight to them. It doesn’t stop at clothes either. I’ve become utterly obsessed with Kreeptures – Killstar’s range of plushies.
I do not want to stop and think about how much money I’ve given Killstar over the years.
Stop and think about that.
If you can turn your customers into, not just repeat business, but superfans who buy from you again and again, and snap up anything new you offer, how much is that worth to you?
How much more is that worth to you than someone who buys from you once and then forgets about you?
What about someone who does your marketing for you? Brand ambassadors will send new business your way through recommendations consistently and regularly. That’s new business coming to you without you having to spend a penny on it.
That’s the true power of raising genuine awareness of your brand.
It’s not about making sales. It’s about creating a force that self-perpetuates sales through popularity and obsession.
Shh Here’s The Secret…
What have we learned from this? Building brand awareness – however you choose to do it – is a little more complex than you might think, but actually only requires you to consistently do three things:
- Show up. Show up as your true, authentic self or selves. Don’t put on airs, graces, or facades. Be honest, show who you are and what you do.
- Give something of value. People appreciate receiving things that are genuinely valuable, helpful, or interesting to them. So, without expectation or demand, give them something that improves their lives and, in some way, relates to what your business has to offer.
- Make an offer. Don’t fuss about expecting them to come to you and ask how they can put money in your pockets. Make your offer clear and ask if those you’ve helped are interested. Some will be. Some won’t be right now but will be later, others never will be and that’s okay – they usually aren’t people you’d want to work with anyway.
But the secret to comes in that very first step.
Keep showing up.
Consistently show up in the place that matters to your ideal client. Whether that’s their SERPs or their Instagram feed, their LinkedIn profile or TikTok, a local networking event, or an international conference.
It doesn’t matter. Just show up.
As long as you have content that freely provides value and a great offer all you have to do is show up.
The more you show up the more aware people will become of your brand. The more awareness you create the more people will interact with your brand. That increasing engagement will lead to more people taking advantage of what you’re offering for free, naturally leading them into purchasing from you.
Whatever your business model is, the better your awareness of your brand grows, the more profitable your business will become. As long as you have a system in place to nurture the people who become aware of your brand, and turn them into paying customers, awareness = profit.
Just remember this only works if you capitalise on it.
You have to have something people can buy, and you have to prompt them to buy it.