When you search for something, you “Google” it. When you want soda, you ask for “coke.” And when you need a bandage, you ask for a “Band-aid.” Even though these names don’t accurately describe what you need, you’re using a brand’s name to refer to specific products.
These words are called "proprietary eponyms," and they are the highest level of brand awareness. Because these brands are so well-known, we now use their names to discuss similar things.
Becoming a proprietary eponym is pretty much the highest level of brand awareness (sorry, Bing). Even if you can't do this with your ecommerce business, that doesn't mean you can't do a lot more to raise brand awareness. So, this post will give you the tools you need to do just that. We'll discuss:
- How brand recognition is different from brand awareness
- How brand awareness can help you reach your marketing goals
- Strategies and real-world examples of how to build a strong brand
What is brand awareness?
At its core, brand awareness is how well customers know a brand. If you ask for a Kleenex instead of a tissue, you're asking for a Kleenex. For a small business, this may not reach eponym status, but it's still considered a success. This might indicate:
- Customers know what your company is known for
- A person on social media knows that your ad will be funny when they see it in their feed.
- Even if there are cheaper options, customers will choose your brand over others.
- People using search engines will type in your business name or other branded terms.
How important is brand awareness
No matter how good your products and services are, how much you spend on advertising, or how often you post on social media, your business probably won't go very far if it doesn't have a brand. Your brand comprises your company's name, logo, products and services, and content. It gives your audience and customers a sense of who you are and what you do. The thing about a business that makes customers trust it is what puts it ahead of its competitors.
But having a brand alone isn't enough. It's important to keep building your brand and ensuring that your target audience thinks of it in a certain way. When people know something well, they are more likely to trust and be drawn to it. The better known your brand is to your target audience, the easier it will be to:
- Introduce new products that sell
- Build a good name for your business
- Find and keep customers who are loyal
As you can see, brand awareness is important because it helps you reach many of your small business marketing goals and objectives, such as staying ahead of the competition, building an audience, and getting more leads. So how do you get people to know your brand enough to make this kind of success possible?
A brand awareness campaign is a way to get people to know about a new product or service or an old one that isn't well known (for example, when a brand launches in a new country).
A brand awareness campaign tells people about the product or service and what differentiates it from the competition. It's not like a normal marketing campaign because its success won't be measured by how much sales go up (although that might factor into it). The main goal is to get the target audience to know more about the brand and its products. There are different ways to measure how well it does this, which we'll look at next.
Most of the time, a campaign to make people aware of a brand will have more than one part. Instead of just one ad in a magazine or TV, there will be marketing efforts on many different channels.
Your brand awareness campaign should include activities that are as strategic as possible. This means that they should get the most attention from your target audience for the least amount of money.
When it comes to building a brand, businesses with big marketing budgets and lots of employees have a clear advantage. However, that doesn't mean that small businesses or self-funded brands can't make great strides. Many of the above things can be done for little money if you work hard.
Start with referral campaigns
Friends and family are the best way for at least 49% of U.S. consumers to learn about a brand. And it has been shown over and over again that referral programs work.
Allbirds and Gymshark didn't become big names in ecommerce by accident. They knew that their existing customers were the key to building more brand awareness.
Take Allbirds, which heavily uses “refer a friend” campaigns. They simply offer $15 off for you and anyone you refer, which incentivizes people to tell their friends and family about Allbirds.
But referral programs aren't just for big ecommerce brands that want to raise brand awareness. The same method can be used to promote a lot of different products and services, and it's a great way to raise brand awareness cheaply.
SEO and content marketing still work
Yes, we know SEO and content are a long game that requires lots of time and investment. But it’s definitely worth doing.
Let's say that you sell workout clothes. You sell them and other things that go with them. Now, you might set up your SEO around keywords like "best workout clothes," but bringing attention to your brand is more than just bringing attention to your products. People interested in products like yours have more questions than "what kind of gym clothes do I need?" Write content that answers all of their other questions, and you'll start to show up in those search results over time.
Use your branding everywhere
Even if you've never bought anything from Amazon, we're sure you can still tell what their packaging looks like. If you ship physical products, don’t miss out on the opportunity of creating branded packaging. It’s that little extra touch that could make a big difference.
This works for businesses that only do business online as well. Make sure to use your brand at every possible touch point along the customer journey, even in your email signatures and "Thank You" pages.
How to measure brand awareness
Now that you know how to make people more aware of your brand, you'll want to see how well your new strategies work. And this is where customer surveys come in handy.
With just a few questions, you can find out important metrics about brand awareness, such as:
- Unprompted brand awareness is the number of people who can name your brand when asked to think about your product or service category.
- Prompted brand awareness is the number of people on a list who say they know your brand.
- Level of brand awareness is the number of people who can correctly name your product or your brand's most important qualities.
You'll be able to ask questions directly to the people you want to reach by using simple demographic filters. This is important because you might only be interested in a small group of customers, like parents of young children or dog owners.
Here are our top five ways to find out how well-known a brand is:
- Check how many social media followers you have
- Keep track of who visits your site
- Use Google Trends data
- Survey your target audience
- Use software to track your brand
By taking measurements at the start, you'll be able to measure your brand's growth more accurately. You'll also be able to set goals for this growth, like raising the number of people in your target audience who know about your brand from 20% to 40%. But how do you get more people to know about a certain brand? …
It's easy to figure out how well your brand awareness campaign worked if you did some preliminary research and got some baseline numbers to compare. Just rerun your original survey and see what has changed.
It's called "brand tracking" when brands do this repeatedly at regular intervals. It lets them keep an eye on how well-known their brand is getting, and also be used to see how they compare to competitors.
And here's everything you need to know before setting up your brand tracker.
You can get a full picture of how your brand awareness campaign did by putting sales data, advertising reach data, web traffic data, and social media data together with data from brand tracking.
You should also look at how the marketing activities you did as part of the campaign affected the overall numbers. For example, you can look at where web traffic came from, which ads or ad placements got the most clicks, or which affiliates brought in the most new customers.
It's important to remember what you've learned so you can use it the next time you run a campaign to get people to know your brand. By optimizing each time and only doing the most effective things again and again, you'll be able to spend your budget more wisely and get the most return on investment (ROI).
How to keep people aware of your brand
Consistency is the key to getting people to know and recognize your brand. Don't let up on the gas. This means committing to things like your blog and social media accounts. It doesn't help to do a lot of things quickly and then let them all go. All your hard work will be lost.
Building a strong brand doesn't happen overnight. And it can take time for your brand-building efforts to show up in your bottom line since not everyone you tell about your brand will be ready to buy right away.
Think about a brand for a real estate agency. A potential customer might not be looking to buy a home right now, but they might be in a year. Then, all the work you've done to get your brand known will pay off, and (hopefully) your brand will be the first thing people think of.
Does making people aware of your brand really pay off?
Yes, it does! Brand awareness has a real return on investment that is easier to measure than you might think. Simply put, if people don't know about a brand, they won't buy from it. When you add up the numbers for brand awareness before and after the campaign and the numbers for sales, you can get a better idea of what the real ROI of brand awareness is.
4. What's the difference between knowing about a brand and knowing the brand?
People often mix up brand awareness and brand recognition. Even though the two words are similar, they don't mean the same thing. Brand recognition is how well people can recognize your brand from the visual parts of its brand identity, like your logo. Brand awareness goes a step further when people can remember facts, feelings, or general thoughts about your brand.
How Cross-Store Selling improves brand awareness
Want to know the open secret to improving brand awareness? It’s Cross-Store Selling. With Cross-Store Selling, your brand can sell products from other stores and vice versa.
Sell your products on other brands’ websites
With Carro, we have a directory of the biggest brands for you to partner with. This means they’ll sell and market your products to their customers. But if you can’t decide which brands are the best fit, we have a tailored recommendation service where we introduce you to brands so you can begin working together.
The best part is you don’t have to pay for products like you would with traditional wholesaling. This allows you to choose different SKUs to see what complements your existing product catalog.
"Take my word for it, if you install Carro, you are going to see what I’ve seen. Which is a dramatic increase to average order value, especially on orders that contain Carro products, which for us is over 80% increase to AOV."
Ryan Pamplin, Founder & CEO of Blendjet
Virtual inventory makes fulfillment easy
Brand partnerships are not like wholesaling. With Carro, you don’t have to buy products from your partners. Instead, orders are automatically sent to your partner brands so they can handle fulfillment themselves.
“Before we joined Carro, we had put our company on the market. We thought we needed capital to expand our traditional wholesaling. Now, we’re able to meet our goals without having any cash come out of pocket. We’re tripling and quadrupling the numbers of units that we move because we have access to so much more inventory.”
Amy Richardson-Golia, June & January
Find new bundling & upsell opportunities to increase AOV
Perhaps the most exciting reason to leverage Cross-Store Selling is that it’s the best way to grow your Shopify store in the long run. By working collaboratively with other brands, your brand will set itself up for success. Your Shopify store will become THE destination for your niche.
One of the best reasons to shop on Amazon is convenience. Being able to buy everything you need in one place is a powerful motivator. Wouldn’t you love it if your Shopify store was the go-to place for your customers’ needs?
"In addition to a nice contribution to the bottom line, it was also one of the most highly-engaged social posts for the year."
David Krimper, Director of Ecommerce, Manduka
To learn more about how Carro can help your Shopify store grow, check us out on the Shopify App Store.