Ask a business owner the biggest factors in determining a business's success, and he or she will likely tell you the following: happy employees, healthy company culture, great product, good marketing. No wrong answers there—each is an essential component of a healthy business. But there's the problem: Every business—the successful ones, anyway—have these things in place. That doesn't make them any less important, but it does make it necessary to have an X factor, a way to stand out.
That X factor? Brand awareness.
How do you build it? Print+Promo asked a pair of experts—Janice Dru, board president for technology solutions provider Inkwhy Inc., Ewing, N.J. and marketing director for a college in New York City; and Ed Roach, branding consultant and owner of The Branding Experts, Leamington, Ontario, Canada—for advice. Read on for their answers.
Print+Promo (P+P): Say I'm part of a business or organization looking to build brand awareness. Where should I start?
Janice Dru (JD): As a business or organization looking to build brand awareness, the first place you should start is with your customers and your employees. Your clients and staff will be your greatest advocates, and have the most awareness and intimate understanding of your brand. Also, if you haven't done brand research, it will help you to understand how people perceive your brand, what is being said about it, and where it's being mentioned.
At a high level, the channels where companies and institutions may generate more brand awareness include digital (website, mobile, social media), broadcast (television and radio), print (newspaper, magazines, other publications), referral (word-of-mouth, grassroots efforts, influencers), events and collateral (brochures, promotional items, trade shows, sponsorships), public relations (earned media, relationship building), and outdoor (billboards, store signs, transit posters, installations). In terms of determining strategies and identifying the most effective channels, go back to your customers to learn how they first heard of your brand and which touch points resonated with them. Conduct different tests to see what campaigns bring on new customers, and carefully measure the return on your marketing spend from different sources so that you can increase your budget based on which efforts are the most profitable or raise the most funds for your organization.