Brand Awareness: What Can We Learn From The World’s Biggest Businesses?
In the world of business, reputation is everything. It’s often hard to convince customers who have never heard of you that you’re the right choice for their needs – but a well-known brand name can prime them with a certain level of trust and familiarity right from the start.
Even if you’ve never eaten at McDonald’s, bought an Apple computer or shopped with Amazon, you nevertheless know what these companies do, what you can expect, and that they are trusted by millions.
However, while they may seem like huge monoliths today, each of these giant companies had humble beginnings, and in most cases started with one or two people and an idea. It doesn’t matter how small your business may be today – if they did it, you can too.
Today, we’re going to look at some lessons we can learn from these mega-successful super-corporations to apply to our own business branding – and see what really works.
What is brand awareness?
Before we can talk about how to grow your brand, we need to have an understanding of brand recognition, brand awareness, and how these two concepts differ.
Brand recognition, as the phrase suggests, means that people can recognise your branding materials and remember that they are associated with your business. For example, if you see a shoe adorned with a tick icon, you know that it’s Nike.
Brand awareness builds on this concept and goes a step further. A customer who has brand awareness not only recognises your icons and brand collateral but also knows more information – what your company does, what its values are, and what it stands for.
For example, if we hear the name Apple, we not only recognise it but are also able to associate various other things that we know – that they are a tech company, the makers of the iPhone, that they prioritise innovative design, and so on.
This is the goal for many marketers. If you could get to the point where most of your potential customers have not only heard of you but know all about what you do, who you are and your ethos, then your reputation will largely speak for itself.
In order to have a strong brand identity, your business needs to stand for something – and that something had better be clear and distinct enough that it differentiates you from the competition.
What would be the point of strong brands like Microsoft and Apple, if both companies were essentially indistinguishable? If a customer chooses a PC or a Mac, it’s because one has some perceived edge over the other – whether cost, reliability, quality, or personal preference.
If you want people to have a strong awareness of your business and its brand, you need to offer something new or stand out somehow. If you can gain a reputation for being the one company that does it this way, that’s a really powerful way to position yourself in the public consciousness.
Pick a price point and don’t budge
If you have a wide array of product or service price ranges from very cheap to very expensive, you might be making a branding mistake.
We know that for almost every major brand in the world we have an awareness of their usual price point – it’s part of the character of the business. We all know that we get cheap hamburgers at McDonald’s and expensive perfume from Chanel.
Rather than trying to cater for all wallet sizes, it’s a good idea to let your customers have a good idea of how much your stuff is likely to cost in general. Are you a budget/discount company, a luxury high-end option, or a mid-range contender?
It’s also worth pointing out that it can also be a branding mistake to assume that you should always be the cheapest in your class. There are lots of reasons why customers choose brands, and somebody looking for an assurance of high quality is likely to be put off by rock-bottom price tags.
Disrupt your own business before somebody does it for you
In the competitive world of business, you can’t ever sit on your laurels and coast on past successes.
Your business may be highly successful today, but if you’re ignoring changing trends, technical advances and innovations generated by your competitors, you may find in the near future that you’re getting left behind.
In terms of brand awareness, it’s much better to be seen as a dynamic and evolving company that is always pushing at the boundaries and trying new methods – and not as an immobile old dinosaur that can’t adapt to new things.
If your competitors are any good, they’re going to be thinking about their own ways to improve their branding and their offerings. You don’t want one of them to catch you off guard by coming out with an innovative and disruptive new idea that upends your industry – so be the one to get there first and do the disrupting.
In conclusion, good brand awareness is a highly important attribute for any business to have. If your potential customers have a positive idea who you are and what you do, then you are extremely well placed for business success.