Brand Awareness: A Comprehensive Guide (+ Examples)
This post was last updated on July 25, 2022.
Have you ever wondered why Pfizer sponsors the Oscars? Or why companies like Coca-Cola still spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns despite being one of the most famous products in the world? The answer is brand awareness.
In today’s competitive market, strong brand awareness can help a business’s communications stand out amid a bombardment of advertising. Whereas in the past, traditional advertising and marketing efforts worked fine enough, customers have shifted their priorities. Brands have to innovate and meet their audience in the right way, at the right time. As Dazed Media’s 2031 A Future World Report finds, “Now that anyone can be a brand, the lines have blurred. The masses hold the real power, and traditional brands are struggling to control the narrative they once had the monopoly on.”
With this in mind, more businesses of all sizes want to strategically approach their target audience, engage them with the right tools and create enough returning customers to build a recognizable, consistent brand.
This guide will give you practical insight into how you can increase your brand awareness. Start with the basics, like designing a website, developing your brand’s social media presence or perfecting your logo design.
We’ll cover the following:
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is a broad term that refers to how familiar your target audience is with your brand. Brand awareness kicks off the customer journey through the brand funnel and touches all five parts: awareness, consideration, preference, action and loyalty. Many companies strive to make their brand name synonymous with the products or services they offer and stay top-of-mind for current or potential customers.
Brand awareness is a long game, but one that increases your brand’s visibility and memorability in ways other marketing cannot. Strategically using your brand colors, logo design or catchy slogan can amplify your brand message and keep you top of mind when consumers make decisions.
McDonald’s golden arches or Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan both exemplify long-running brand awareness campaigns. These small brand elements cause most people to crave a burger or contemplate whether they need a new pair of sneakers.
Why is brand awareness important?
Strong brand awareness means more people are familiar with your business—an important step towards becoming the go-to in your field. But building brand recognition goes beyond attracting customers and increasing trust in your products or services.
The main advantages of increasing your brand awareness include:
Bringing in first-time customers: New customers will often try products they recognize over an unknown brand. In fact, 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from the brands they trust. And since brand awareness is considered the initial stage of the marketing funnel, you can think of it like a wide net which is cast across a sea of potential buyers. Once you hook them, it guides them through the funnel, towards the buying decision and ultimately, results in brand loyalty.
Gain credibility: Building your credibility can positively affect consumer decisions. If you’ve established brand trust, your brand is likely to have a greater impact on audiences in order to gain influence on issues related to your business or industry. People connect more to brands that have a purpose, fostering even more customer loyalty and brand equity. As RazorFish finds, this notion has intensified since the pandemic, which has changed the way people think about brands and their missions and values. As Nicolas Chidiac, brand strategy lead at Razorfish, shares:
“Most brands have jumped on the purpose bandwagon, but few actively drive it forward. We’re at the peak of purpose washing, and it’s imperative that brands not only clearly communicate their purpose, but authentically put it into practice in everything they do. Brands are beyond the ‘why’ and are struggling with the ‘how’ to follow through and tie purpose to performance.”
Charge more for products and services: Recognition as a trustworthy brand helps loyal customers and potential shoppers pick you over the competition. With many businesses solely operating online, trust is worth more than ever. You can—and should—charge more for peace of mind.
Attract high quality employees and partners: As you build your brand recognition, more people will jump at the chance to work with you. This means you’ll attract higher quality employees and partner with bigger, more-respected businesses.
Expand your business: A brand’s recognition and respectability carries over from the initial product or service you provide to what your business does in the future. When you want to expand into new markets or introduce new products—greater brand awareness will help you transition, since you'll already have a pool of customers who trust you.
How to build brand awareness
You can’t achieve brand awareness with a one-off project. The process includes several campaigns, social media activity, collaborations and more. Let’s start with the basics of building a brand and asserting your presence and relevance.
Take note of these foundational practices when you build your brand recognition:
Develop your brand identity
These days, customers want to interact with a brand they can connect with on an emotional or intellectual level just like they would a person—brands that have vibrant personalities, ethical values, a sense of humor and a specific tone of voice. Choose a brand archetype and develop your brand identity to find this voice, personality and story.
With so many options out there, shoppers choose to buy products from businesses that reflect their values. So don’t hesitate to highlight your social, economical or environmental ideals. Customers have also realized their purchases can change the world. People feel strongly about these issues and you can tap into that emotion.
Be authentic on and offline
As a McKinsey report found, 42% of millennials and Gen Z consumers cited purpose as the primary factor in changing brands. For example, these consumers based their decision on whether a company shares their values and if they treat their employees well.
Authenticity sets the foundation for honest communication and helps both current and prospective customers build emotional connections to your brand. Highlight your brand purpose’s upfront to show both internal and external stakeholders what your brand believes in and values.
Be active on social media
After creating your brand’s identity, get your message out to the public.
In the past, brands used billboards, magazine ads and TV commercials to communicate with audiences, but today most interactions happen online. We especially interact with brands on social media, where close to half of the world’s population spends an average of over 2 hours a day.
People now expect brands to use social media. Most customers will even go so far as to look up your business and contact you on your social media channels, rather than through your website, email or phone.
Unlike other media outlets, social media embodies a more casual environment, which makes it a great place to use your authentic brand voice. People will come to your accounts to interact with your brand.
Use social channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok to broadcast your brand’s personality (your choice depends on your market, of course). Take the time to post new content, create social media graphics, interact with other brands and engage your audience.
Customers expect a timely response when reaching out on social media, so actively respond as soon as possible.
Create fresh content
According to Marketing Interactive, most Gen Z and Millennial consumers find digital customer experiences even more important than in-person experiences when building trusted brand relationships. The goal with building brand awareness is to generate a buzz around your brand, so give your audience new content that will entice them to engage and share with their friends.
Creating content that audiences will share achieves two goals: It brings more attention to your brand by spreading it to a wider audience and also promotes positive recognition. In the future, audiences will likely interact with a brand with familiar content than an unknown business.
How to increase brand awareness
Now that you understand the foundations of brand awareness, let’s look at specific ways you can start building it. Remember, whichever method you choose, always meet your audience in their most-frequented spaces and use language that speaks to them. This will lead to more authentic communication in every context.
01. Produce interesting videos
Videos make for great, shareable content across all platforms. You can add videos to your website and post them to your social media channels, too. Many brands will also start a YouTube channel as an outlet for brand awareness campaigns.
Some ideas for video content include: tutorials, breaking down different trends, or hosting panel discussions about topics related to your business.
Tip: Use the Wix video maker to craft relevant and engaging video content. Try a mix of long- and short- form content to see what your audience connects with.
02. Design infographics
Infographics can both tell a story and provide on-brand visuals in an easily shareable format. Your audience will likely share appealing infographics on social media, increasing your brand awareness. Don’t forget to design it using your brand’s aesthetic and visual identity—and of course, slap on your logo to show ownership.
03. Make memes
Memes are no longer only for internet trolls and college students. You can now use this legitimate marketing tool to your branding advantage. For the most part, memes bring across a short, funny or witty message. They have the potential to go viral, but don’t require a large design budget.
04. Create a blog
Creating a blog can add to your brand awareness, foster trust and provide shareable content all in one package. Blog posts are a digital marketing staple—in fact, blogs are one of the few outlets for long-form marketing content. It gives your brand a chance to share expertise, curate thought leadership and meaningfully make your mark. When writing a blog post, keep in mind that interesting, informative articles perform the best.
Many successful brands consistently add new content to their website’s blog. If you properly invest in your blog, your customers will come to see it as a knowledge source—potentially even one that impacts their purchasing decisions.
05. Collaborate with other brands
Collaborations between brands who share similar (or even differing) audiences can double the exposure of both businesses. If your shared audiences hold both brands in high-regard, you can both increase your customer base.
A co-branding collab can come in many forms, such as social media sharing swaps, co-produced videos, or guest posting on each other’s blogs.
06. Use influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a middle ground between collaborations and paid ads. It associates your brand with someone who has a well-liked reputation and established audience on social media. Working with influencers can boost engagement for brands.
According to Retail Touchpoints,
“That’s because it’s the “every day” influencers—creators who are making content as a side hustle rather than as a full-time job — who are able to truly, deeply engage with consumers.”
Influencer partnerships will vary according to established platform and price—but once you find one that you want to work with, you’ve unlocked a great opportunity to boost your brand awareness.
You can increase your brand’s awareness through sponsorship, or providing a service, product or financial support in return for advertisement and exposure.
Your brand can sponsor anything from food or alcohol for an event, or individuals such as artists or athletes. Finding these opportunities means strategically planning what audiences you want to associate with and what sponsorships make sense.
For example, if you’ve started your own beer brewery—find an upcoming music event that needs beverage donations. Not only will the artists or organizers include you in advertising, but everyone at the event can also enjoy and talk about your product.
08. Start a podcast or curate a playlist
Dazed Media research “nods to the idea that brands could evolve into human entities, with one in three adults under the age of 35 (33%) feeling more favorable towards brands with a sonic identity.”
Starting a podcast can provide engaging, long form-content and shape your sonic branding approach. Many brands already use podcast platforms to provide a steady stream of episodes catered specifically to their audience. It can take time to build up a following–but once you have an audience, a podcast will have a huge influence on your brand's authority and recognition.
Take a look at Wix’s podcast Ready For Takeoff. This curated podcast highlights a range of topics focused on hypergrowth, highlighting insight from the leaders who built the company. This podcast allows Wix to share expertise from building a successful business in a new, relevant and engaging form.
You can also create a playlist on popular music streaming platforms like Spotify or Apple Music. Music’s expressive quality can help to create a brand experience—whether playing inside a brick and mortar store or part of an online experience. Gucci, for example, unveiled Gucci Garden Archetypes—a virtual exhibit celebrating the brand's 100th anniversary. This immersive multimedia experience showcased the heart and soul of the brand in a visual feast for the eyes. Of course, they curated a dedicated playlist to keep their audience engaged and connected to the experience.
09. Offer free products or services
Everyone loves free stuff. You can use the tried-and-true giveaway promotion method to increase your customer base. Give out small branded products like pens, coasters or hats, or even provide a free service or trial for a limited time. This will not only delight recipients, but can also cause them to share the opportunity with friends. Plus, the gesture can turn them all into loyal customers.
Social media provides a great way to expose your product or get the attention of prospective customers. Plan your goal of the giveaway—do you want to generate more engagement, increase followers or expose your brand to new audiences? Plan your giveaway and make it clear to your audience what they stand to win. Use hashtags to help identity entries and increase shares.
10. Use referral programs
Ask existing customers to reach new ones for you. Most satisfied customers will spread the word about your business—especially if you offer them an incentive. If you can afford it, offer your customers discounts, provide premium services or give free products in return for recommending new clients.
11. Increase traffic to your website using SEO
Your website is an important asset for brand awareness, too. Make sure your site is professional, aesthetically-pleasing and aligned with your brand style guide.
Invest time in SEO (search engine optimization) to increase traffic to your website. With good SEO, your site can work its way to the top of Google’s search results for relevant topics. You can also invest in ad campaigns that draw more traffic to your website and build your brand awareness.
12. Create personalized email and social media campaigns
Authentically engaging with your audience can create an emotional connection with an otherwise “faceless” entity. After you’ve established an initial connection, you must nurture it. You can do this through tailored social media and email marketing campaigns for specific consumers.
Tip: With Wix, you can create personalized emails using a range of easy-to-adapt templates and create images for social media. This will empower you to consistently and meaningfully communicate with your existing customers.
13. Leverage story telling
According to Forbes contributor Hugo Lesser, emotional triggers and connections are key for storytelling in branding. He writes, “While purchase motivation often has a functional aspect, in that we all need to purchase certain things, a decision about exactly what we purchase—which brand or product we choose—is often based on an emotional impulse (i.e., a feeling).”
Understand what motivates your particular customers to purchase. This will help you build and share the right story that resonates with your audience.
14. Try NFTs
Staying ahead of the curve is half the battle of beating your competition. NFTs will go beyond the buzzword and become a critical part of branding, showcasing audio, video, 3D design and more. They provide a creative, one-of-a-kind experience that puts brands on the cutting edge. In addition, they can help shape the aspect of storytelling through immersive experiences.
Learn more about how to make an NFT for your brand to create unique, digital experiences.
How to measure brand awareness
Brand awareness campaigns are long-term endeavors, with results often seen after years. This is why marketers consider them less measurable than other campaigns, like lead generation or traffic building. But that doesn’t mean you can’t gauge the efficiency of your efforts.
You can measure brand awareness and your campaign’s success with these four methods:
Measure website traffic
The traffic your site gets can help you understand the effectiveness of your brand awareness campaign.
Tools like Google Analytics will allow you to check the pages related to your brand building campaigns and track their performance. You can also see from where visitors arrive and gauge which platforms bring in the best results.
Track social engagement
These days, many brand awareness campaigns happen on social media. Luckily, most social media platforms provide analytics, as well. Track the number of likes, shares and comments your posts receive over time to monitor engagement. Take note of increases in your follower count and how specific posts perform.
You also should proactively listen and respond to social media users who post about your page, products and business.
Survey your customer base to get valuable, direct feedback on your brand. You can run the same survey over time to see how your brand’s recognition changes.
You may want to survey before and after running a campaign to accurately measure success.
Google your brand
Google your brand to see what people think of your company. This can bring up unseen news articles, forum discussions and social media posts that reflect how the “real world” views your brand. Whether these posts are positive or negative, they provide valuable information that can help change your customer approach.
Brand awareness examples
Let these successful brand awareness campaigns inspire you:
Beyond Meat is the most searched vegan company on Google, and 70% of U.S. meat substitutes users are aware of the brand. Launched in 2009 by Ethan Brown, the LA-based brand gained momentum around 2014 after they developed their first simulated beef product and expanded their presence in stores, including Walmart.
Since then, they’ve influenced other vegan brands and, of course, partnered with Kim Kardashian to put the brand on the map, bringing a new pool of prospective customers who would otherwise never try plant-based “meat.” In fact, this is precisely what sets Beyond Meat apart from many other competitors and other plant-based products. From the start, Beyond Meat marketed themselves to both meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike, believing that their product would be appealing even to the typical meat eater.
What’s more, Beyond Meat changed the game with their labeling by avoiding the word vegan altogether and fought for strategic product placement within the meat section of grocery stores. This simple move enabled the brand to gain awareness from a different range of consumers and an expansion of their “typical” target market.
Ranked as one of the top 10 brands for Gen Z, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with 345 million users and counting. From its inception, the music streaming platform understood its target audience and did everything in its power to engage and resonate with them. This includes everything from their visual identity and tone to their product’s availability and accessibility. They strategically developed a cross-platform mobile application for all users.
After their initial success, Spotify has worked effectively to capture new users and delight their existing ones. Perhaps one of their most successful efforts is Wrapped, a viral marketing campaign that the company releases at every year’s end. It offers users a compilation of their most listened to songs and a breakdown of their preferences and musical identity. This campaign smartly taps into the notion of personalization, inviting their users to feel a part of something and proudly share their recap on their social media feeds.
This not only creates brand awareness but drives a sense of missing out for those not using the music platform. What started as a humble effort to share data is the exact “snapshot [that] propelled Spotify into an intersection of tech, music and culture,” reports Variety. In addition to Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” which curates personalized playlists for existing subscribers based on their preferences, the streaming platform has nailed the concept of personalization.
Inspired by Iceland
After Mark Zuckerberg announced the Meta rebrand, public-private tourism entity Inspired by Iceland found the perfect opportunity to promote themselves while poking fun at the newly rebranded company.
This clever and creative video ad put Iceland on the map, bringing attention to the Nordic Island nation in a new and exciting way. In the light of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, tourism has had to innovate more than ever before. And this ad did just the trick to draw attention and bring about brand awareness.
The ad plays true to life, with the video host and chief visionary officer (CVO) of the Icelandverse sharing a striking resemblance to Zuckerberg, down to his name, manner of speaking and even his haircut. The release of the video was also cleverly in sync with the media buzz surrounding the rebrand of Facebook to Meta, which enabled Iceland to ride the momentum. Iceland’s video received plenty of attention on YouTube and Twitter, successfully achieving their goal to bring attention to the destination.
Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation and Spinneys
Middle Eastern supermarket chain Spinneys collaborated with the Lebanese Cancer Foundation to create a campaign focusing on the importance of self-administered breast exams. Religion-based personal status laws prohibit Lebanese women from speaking openly about their bodies, so the brands created a respectful video to speak about the important subject, using bread as an analogy.
Showcasing traditional Lebanese baker Um Ali, the video shows a “bread exam,” complete with the motions and gestures of self-breast examinations, but mindfully avoids any direct mention of breasts.
Not only does this campaign bring awareness to both Spinneys and the Lebanese Cancer Foundation, it brings awareness to the importance of women’s health and creates a “secret” or a sense of “in the know.”
By Kylie Goldstein
Content Marketer and Branding Expert