SunTrust research shows that 40 percent of midsize businesses have made quality a central focus of their competitive strategy, and more than 50 percent of these companies are using brand recognition to successfully compete on the quality factor..1
Here are five guidelines for helping your business build brand awareness and elevating your brand’s quality rating:
- Provide value
- Offer incentive programs
- Maintain consistent messaging
- Monitor customer feedback
- Grow your social media presence
An essential component of building brand awareness is providing ongoing value that exceeds customer expectations. Establish yourself as the expert in your field or industry; offering educational materials like webinars, workshops or podcasts can help you develop a rapport with your customers. Bringing products to market that are of consistent and reliable quality will also help build a customer base that is firmly committed to your company.
Incentives are a great way to attract new customers, encourage existing customers to try a new product, reward loyalty or motivate customer referrals. Once you offer an incentive—be it a product discount, giveaway or other benefit—customers may be more inclined to spread the word and promote your brand. The return is typically much greater than the investment. The file hosting service Dropbox, for example, offered existing customers 500 MB of extra storage space for every referral, which led to a surge of new sign-ups and saved the company in advertising dollars.2
Your brand tells customers what to expect and sets you apart from your competitors, so consistency is important. In fact, six out of 10 millennials expect consistency when dealing with a company across channels, including online, in a store and on the phone.3 Take Coca-Cola as an example. The company has one of the most recognizable and successful brands in the industry, with a logo and message (happiness) that has remained consistent for decades.
Find out what your customers like and what they want more of, and try to give it to them. Social media can be an effective tool for monitoring feedback, and you can leverage positive posts to promote your brand. Seventy percent of consumers trust earned media posted online (recommendations, comments and reviews), and 25 percent use social media sites to find information about a brand.4 It’s just as important to listen to customer complaints and issues, and find ways to respond to them. Domino’s Pizza’s mea culpa ad campaign drew success by acknowledging customer complaints and demonstrating a plan for improvement. Showing customers you care about what they have to say goes a long way in building brand loyalty.
Establishing a strong social presence is no longer an option for businesses, it’s a necessity. Concentrate your energy on social platforms that reach your target audience. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, for example, tend to be effective channels for midsize business owners because they have the greatest volume of users.5 Once you determine which social platforms will contribute the most to your business, establish yourself as a thought leader by sharing valuable content, such as case studies and educational videos. Staying consistent, current and approachable will help increase your brand’s recognition and presence.
Why Social Media?6
- Digital influenced $1.7 trillion of in-store sales in 2014, compared to just $0.33 trillion in 2012.
- 47 percent of millennials are influenced in their purchases by social media.
- 19 percent of all other age groups are influenced in their purchases by social media.
- 1/3 of U.S. consumers are influenced in their purchases by social media.
- Consumers who use social media while shopping are four times more likely to spend more on purchases than those who do not.