This year promises to be an exciting year for brand awareness development. If you haven’t put much thought into it (and shame on you if you haven’t!) don’t worry there’s plenty of time to get you out there and noticed.
I invested some time last year and revisited what I felt our brand was, what it stood for and how my customers and internal team thought about it. Interestingly, it was where I hoped it would be and what people thought about it – but I still needed to increase the awareness.
So how do you build your brand awareness?
The short answer is advertise, advertise, advertise; and the corollary to that is to know what is liable to trend and why. Like most, your market is probably a moving target and it is important to treat it like one, and this means keeping up with the latest developments. This is not overly difficult to do if you know where and how to look. Your favourite web browser powered by your favourite search engine is a great place to start.
Luckily, we live in the digital age where we have all kinds of social network apps, and therefore marketing vectors, at our fingertips. The downside is that so does everyone else. So how do we get our message, our brand, noticed among all the other brands competing for attention in our market?
Let’s take a look at some trends…
The first trend has been around longer than the internet and it’s called customer service. Your customer is the reason for your existence and no matter how high tech and how good your message is, nothing takes the place of good customer service. It is easier to keep a customer than to attract a new one.
There are many ways you can stand out from your competitors, utilising high levels of customer service or just doing things differently. We all expect businesses to deliver what we pay them for, but how many go above and beyond that? The ones that make it their mission to do so, stand out and you remember their brand!
This year, as a company our team will focus on this heavily, increasing the amount of customer strategy meetings and assigning dedicated account mangers to ensure they know (and feel) just how important they are. We already focus on delivery and offer transparent reporting via a 24/7 dashboard but having introduced a new CRM and project management tool – this will help us track and respond more pro-actively to requests.
Your team – the most valuable marketing asset you have.
Secondly, consider your people. Whether you have a team of ten or ten thousand if you treat them right, they will take care of your business as if it is their own. Like customer service, this can be considered an investment with high year on year returns.
I have always taken great pride in my team, after-all we spend more time with them during the day that our closest and dearest. I have always been fully committed to helping to educate and grow their skill sets and respond to any needs they might have. Our annual overseas trips to celebrate our success are a reward which shows them how I feel – in return, they work hard to support and grow ‘their’ business day to day.
In a world of technology, are you using it correctly?
Thirdly, we have the technology trajectory itself. We already utilise a vast vary of technology and software platforms but video will continue to dominate the digital marketing spectrum making it indispensable for your message. Take advantage of YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn – they are cost effective. Embrace this trend and if you haven’t already – start using video to promote your message!
Focus on your PPC and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in order to ensure you are reaching the market you want and are not just spending for the sake of it. The great thing about these areas is that you have complete control which means your intuition is at work and you control the quality – no one knows your market better than you!
Create training sessions and online seminars to increase interest and understanding of your product and services. Take the time to appreciate and help with customer concerns and you will begin to generate traction almost immediately; when word gets out about your customer oriented approach then you are on your way. Think about the last time you were on hold interminably, how did that make you feel? Use technology to facilitate the human side of the customer experience, not as a gatekeeper.
Depending on the size of your customer base, consider also using an automated marketing content service. There are plenty of good ones out there and they may have the scale that you need.
Ultimately, the development of your brand awareness is in your hands, remember to keep a critical eye on the trends, trust your educated instinct, and keep learning. You are going to do great this year!