In most organizations, results-driven digital campaigns have replaced traditional awareness-oriented campaigns as the top priority of marketing departments. Strong analytics, combined with the ability to wield marketing media as sales tools, have shifted a lot of marketing dollars toward campaigns that emphasize conversions.
Conversions remain important, but the benefits of building brand awareness can't be ignored. In a world where every industry is flooded with new brands and voices, the ability to stand out in consumers' minds is a significant asset that can indirectly increase conversion opportunities. Familiarity, or even a vague awareness of a brand, is an important first step toward gaining critical consumer trust. Even when ultimately hoping for conversions, organizations can achieve an increase in brand visibility and consumer awareness.
Here are some different strategies that can fulfill the goal of building brand awareness.
Branded Content Campaigns
When you produce blogs, social postings, white papers or other digital content, you create something that can reach consumers and establish your voice. Sometimes this happens through organic search queries and sometimes through paid advertisements. More often, social media is used to make this content available to consumers. When the content is clearly branded, it helps ingrain the brand — as well as its mission, its selling point and other key features — into the minds of consumers.
Content creation is paramount, but content only builds awareness when the proper branding is in place. Logos should be clearly visible on all documents, and content should refer to the company itself, both in name and through links. The relationship should be obvious to anyone viewing the content. When individual Web users consume multiple pieces of your branded content, they will gain an awareness of your brand.
Visibility Through Display Ads
Visual recognition is critical to building awareness, and display ads are fantastic at getting the job done. Whether your ad refers consumers to branded content, landing pages, product listings or other Web destinations, display ads are achieving something just by being seen. Assuming you've properly branded the ad, its appearance in front of consumers will create small upticks in awareness. In some cases, that increased awareness may eventually lead to a click, and possibly a conversion. But even if the consumer doesn't directly engage with your brand, your organization will become a more familiar part of their digital commerce world.
Adjusting for Viral Potential
When content goes viral, brands enjoy huge spikes in awareness among consumers. Viral content isn't easy to achieve, but intelligent designs can make virality more possible. Consider the ALS Association's Ice Bucket Challenge: by creating a branded campaign that went viral, tens of thousands of consumers now know what ALS is, and the foundation has the donations to prove it.
Video and limited promotions can be very successful in earning social shares, and other content can achieve similar effects if it's compelling enough. The great thing about social sharing is that even when consumers don't engage with a post, awareness is gained just by the content being displayed.
By using several different channels and tools in digital marketing campaigns, rapid gains in awareness are possible.