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How to increase brand awareness

You can offer the most amazing products and services on the market, but you won’t reach consumers and make sales if you’re not taking steps to increase brand awareness among your target customers. Every company dreams of getting the sort of brand recognition and awareness enjoyed by mega-corporations like Coca-Cola or Nike, whose branding is so iconic that many people can identify the business and their products from the logo alone. And, while this sort of success might be a long way off for many younger companies, there are still plenty of ways to increase brand awareness and connect with potential customers.

In this post, we’re going to talk about the fundamentals of a great brand awareness and recognition campaign. We’ll go through the steps you need to take to build your brand and share a few simple but effective examples of brand promotion. This guide will cover:

o  Define your brand

o   Design a logo

o   Choose signature colours and fonts 

What is brand recognition?

In a nutshell, brand recognition is essentially a measure of how familiar consumers are with your business and, in particular, your name, logo, and signature brand design. It’s proven that consumers would rather buy from a brand they know than take a chance on one they’ve never heard of before, with 60% of global consumers saying they’d rather go with a business they’re already familiar with (Nielson). So, when it comes to securing new business, brand recognition really can make or break that sale.

An effective brand recognition strategy should focus on the visual side of your business: logos, colour schemes, the visual design of your website, and the unique ‘voice’ of your brand. The eventual goal of your branding and marketing campaign is for your customers to not only recognise your brand, but to be able to associate your name with the products and services you offer, too. 

What is brand awareness?

Brand awareness describes how familiar your existing customers are with your brand, and the particular products or services you offer. But, don’t assume that it’s the same as brand recognition. While the two are similar, awareness goes beyond just recognising your logo, name, and products: your customers should know what makes you and your offerings special, and why you’re different to your competitors. If your branding is really successful, and your products and customer service are great, your customers will also identify your brand as the best provider of products or services in your particular niche.

If brand recognition is all about making sure your target customers know who you are, then brand awareness is about developing that relationship and building brand loyalty. This is what will ultimately help you to get repeat business, recommendations, glowing reviews, and social shares. For your strategy to be completely successful, you need to have a marketing plan that aims to improve both awareness and recognition. After all, it’s hard to make someone feel loyal to your products and brand if they don’t instantly recognise the logo.

What is brand identity and how do I build a brand?

Brand Identity

If you want to increase brand awareness and recognition, you’ll need to figure out a great strategy, and your starting point for this will be learning as much as possible about your brand identity. This is a crucial step: if you don’t understand your own products or customers, you won’t be able to create a strong brand voice, which means your efforts to secure recognition and awareness further down the line will be hampered.

When you’re just getting your business off the ground, you’re likely to have quite a lot on your plate. But, it’s essential to devote time to researching your target market and creating a logo and signature brand voice. In this section, we’ll walk you through the process of building a brand.  

1. Define your brand identity

All good marketing campaigns start from a single point: your brand identity. If you don’t have a thorough understanding of who you are as a business, you won’t be able to build an accurate picture of your customers. And, without this, you can’t design branding that will attract them.

So, before you start to dream up a marketing strategy, you’ll want to sit down and define your brand. You can do this by working through the following questions.

What problem do you exist to solve?

Almost all commercial brands exist to solve a customer’s problem or fulfil a need (this is also sometimes called the ‘pain point’).For instance, if you sell kitchen gadgets, you’re offering a product that makes cooking faster and more convenient. The solution you offer your customers will be the cornerstone of all your marketing and branding efforts, so work this out first.

Who are your customers?

Next, you need to identify your target audience, and do some research to learn more about them.Who is your product or service for? Chances are, you’ll have designed your product or service with a particular group of people in mind, so identify the average age range and income bracket of your target consumer, and think about what sort of lifestyle and interests they are likely to have.

If you sell a product or service that could conceivably be used by a huge range of people, it’s still likely that they will share some common interests: for instance, if you sell a kitchen mixer attachment, you might target a range of different ages and demographics, but all of them will be keen home bakers. So, if you’re struggling, try to work out what uniting traits or needs your customers have, and let this be at the heart of your brand identity.

What is your personality?

All successful brands have a unique voice, and you can’t expect to stand out without one. By ‘personality’, we mean the sort of characteristics that your business might have if it were a human: for example, is your brand cool, modern, and down to earth? Or is it edgy, bold, and irreverent?  What music would it listen to? What sort of lifestyle and interests would it have?

Your brand personality will come across in the tone and style of the ‘voice’ you use to speak to your customers. If you can create a distinctive brand voice that appeals to your target customers, it will help them to relate to your products or services on a more personal level. An easy way to do this is to create a list of words you associate with your brand.  

If you’re struggling, you may come to realise that you can’t be everything to everyone. You should be able to narrow your target audience down to a key demographic, and then see what other competitors and brands you admire are doing with their own brand voices.

2. Design a logo

Logo Design

Once you’ve identified your brand and worked out your core audience, you need to design a great logo. This will become a visual icon that represents your business, and it will be an integral part of your overall brand awareness strategy. So, you really need to focus your efforts on creating one that is memorable, speaks to your target customers, and is in line with your brand voice.

Unless you’re a dab hand at graphic design, you’ll want to hire a professional designer to put your logo together. They’ll usually work closely with you on this, and you should use the information and ideas you came up with when you identified your brand. To learn more about designing a logo that will help to foster brand recognition, take a look at our guide to designing a memorable logo.

In addition to this, remember to think about creating something you can reproduce easily. Many of the most recognisably iconic logos aren’t particularly complex or detailed: just look at Nike’s tick or Adidas’ trefoil. Simplicity often makes for a more impactful logo, and these no-frills designs are usually easier and more cost-effective to reproduce. So, if your logo is going be printed on lots of clothing, uniforms, or packaging, a simple design will be more straightforward and a lot cheaper in the long run.

3. Choose your company colours

Company Colours

Ever wondered why fast food restaurants will often use red or yellow fonts and colours, while health food brands stick with green? It’s not just a coincidence: it’s actually because certain colours are associated with a particular feeling, mood, or idea. This thinking — called ‘colour psychology — is very influential, and you should bear it in mind when picking out signature colours for use in your logo, web design, and marketing materials.

If you need some inspiration, take a look around you and see what popular brands in your niche are using. So-called ‘millennial pink’ is often used when brands want to seem vibrant, modern, and cool, while you’re more likely to encounter blue or grey in cleaning products or medical brands. Multicoloured logos often suggest a sense of creativity and innovation, or a service which offers lots of different things to a diverse range of users or customers — just look at the logos for Google, Microsoft, and eBay. Take a look at 99Designs guide to the psychology behind brand colours to work out the best shades for your business.

Once you’ve designed a logo and picked some signature colours, you’re ready to begin promoting your brand to increase recognition and awareness. 

Four Ideas to increase brand awareness and recognition

Brainstorming Ideas

Once you’ve researched your target market and found your brand identity, as well as nailed the logo and design elements, you can look at increasing brand awareness with a marketing campaign. Here, we’ve shared four brand promotional techniques you can use to get your strategy off to a flying start.

1. Promotional Items

People love freebies, and one consistently effective way of increasing brand recognition is to give out a few promotional products at events or as corporate gifts. These can be anything from branded pens to electronic gadgets — any items you think are going to be of interest to your target consumers. The more people who use the product, the more familiar they’ll become with your brand, improving brand recognition in the process.

Screen printed shoppers and tote bags are also popular promotional items, as they’re handy everyday accessories that people are likely to use often, and each one will provide some publicity for your brand whenever the owner uses it public. Just be sure to give your promotional goodies away at the sorts of events you know your target audience will be attending. We have a whole guide to using promotional merchandise to market your business, so take a look to learn more about picking the right sort of accessories for your brand.

2. Branded Packaging

If you run an ecommerce business, it’s absolutely essential that your packaging makes an impression. The experience of owning and using your product begins from the moment your customer receives the shipment and starts unboxing the packaging. In the crowded online market, impressive branded packaging can really help to set your business apart, so it’s crucial your packaging has that wow-factor.

When designing packaging, make sure that your logo features prominently, and that the styling is true to your brand. Little details like tissue paper and wrapping in your signature colours may not seem like a lot, and the overheads are minimal, but they can make a big difference to customers' impressions of your business. 

3. Use social media targeted ads

Instagram Marketing

Online ads are fantastic for boosting brand awareness, because you can target the demographics who are most likely to be interested in your products. Even if your ads don’t secure as many sales as you might like, they will still help to build awareness by ensuring your customers are repeatedly exposed to your brand and products.

Social media marketing is also great for connecting with potential customers and increasing awareness of your products, especially if you’re targeting a slightly younger demographic. Best of all, these platforms are also completely free to use. Instagram is an especially powerful marketing tool, because it’s completely visual and great for showcasing products. Remember to keep your posts interesting, topical, and relevant to your brand to give you the best possible chance of building a valuable and engaged audience. You can always hire a social media manager or outsource the work to an agency if you don’t think you’ve got the time to monitor your socials yourself.

4. Re-brands can keep things fresh - but consistency is key

Re-branding can be a great way to modernise your company and keep things fresh. But you should be wary of shaking things up too often, or going for very drastic redesigns, as these could actually be detrimental to your brand awareness.

If your logo and branding are completely different after a redesign, your customers are unlikely to recognise them anymore, meaning all your hard-earned brand recognition work will have been for nothing. So, if you decide to overhaul your logo and branding in future, try to retain at least some elements of the old design.

If you have a young company without much brand recognition, getting your name out there and increasing brand awareness can seem like a daunting prospect. But, by taking these ideas on board, you stand every chance of connecting with your target customers.

Here at Custom Planet, we specialise in creating branded clothing and products using the latest digitalscreen printing, and embroidery techniques to ensure your logo really makes an impression. So, if you’re looking to create some clothing or promotional products to increase brand awareness, we can help. We can also create a huge range of branded conference products, which are ideal if you’re showcasing your business at a trade show or fair. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our branding products and services, get in touch or give us a call on 0191 597 2668.