In a fiercely competitive business environment, brands are constantly waging a battle for visibility and awareness. The more people who know about a brand or company, the more likely potential customers are to choose its products when making a buying decision.
That’s why auto manufacturers, tech firms and banks sponsor sports teams; they know that maximising their public brand awareness is a crucial part of global success.
But how can smaller companies win the battle for awareness? There are some things every company can do to broaden their appeal. But one thing comes first: measuring brand awareness.
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Simply put, it’s very hard to boost your brand awareness without understanding how to measure it. When businesses do this, they are sometimes surprised by how effective their marketing has been – and how widely brands can spread via organic traffic.
Vice versa, many business leaders are struck by how poorly their companies are actually performing in the public arena. In some cases, even brands with healthy traffic stats and click-through rates are lacking when it comes to consumers’ actual awareness of what the brand is and what it does.
So, let’s discuss a few ways of measuring brand awareness. All of them should be easily within reach, and they could radically transform the way you approach your marketing efforts.
When measuring how aware people are of your brand, aggregate searches for your brand aren’t really that important. What we want to know is how many people actively sought out your site based around an existing knowledge of your brand. And Google Trends can be a big help here.
The metric we’re interested in is direct traffic (not “organic search”). This measures the number of times visitors have entered the name of your company into the Google search box. And it’s a safe bet to assume that if they know the name of your brand or company, they also know a lot more about what that name represents.
Surveying random members of the public is time-consuming and difficult, but most companies have easy access to large numbers of past customers. Surveying these individuals can result in some invaluable brand insights.
For instance, you might ask all regular customers to complete a questionnaire with the question “how did you hear about our brand?” If most people reply that they heard about it via advertising, it suggests that your brand has a relatively weak penetration in wider society (but that your marketing may be very effective).
Conversely, they might report that they found out about the brand via word of mouth. If a big chunk of your customers is arriving because of testimonials from other customers, then your brand is circulating well within relevant social groups – so the awareness of your brand could be rising.
Strong brands are always being talked about. Within relevant communities, they become points of reference or “household names”, and this tends to pay dividends in terms of sales.
You can get a good idea of how well your brand is performing in target communities by tracking your mentions as closely as possible. For example, you could set up Google Alerts for your brand name, and track mentions in media sources. Or, you could employ specialist services like Mention, which takes a broader social-engagement approach and tries to report all of your online mentions.
Of course, aggregate mentions isn’t the whole story. People could be trashing your brand or praising it to the heavens. So a little extra research may be needed to make sense of these findings before you know what type of awareness is being created.
When we post on social media, we often only see the surface layer of what’s really going on. We can see replies and likes, but many tweets or YouTube videos go deeper than that. They get talked about and shared on multiple levels. That’s what we mean by social media reach.
If you rely on social media to promote your brand, tools like Tweetreach are a great option. They let you know how far your tweets “travel”, and which content has the most positive effect.
Sometimes, posts can look great and get an impressive number of ‘hits’, but, actually, they have very little effect on how many people engage with your brand. Deeper analysis can help you discover why and how to ensure that social media marketing does more for your brand.
If your brand isn’t performing as well as you’d hoped in the public sphere, how can you respond? Well, there are many options, but one of the most important is fine-tuning the way you engage with customers.
This is where sourcing high-quality branded content can make a huge difference. At greatcontent, we can help brands thrive by providing support and content that raises awareness. So, get in touch and make the world aware of what your brand has to offer.
Text: Sam Urquhart