The Ultimate Brand Awareness Guide 2022

A blue and black retro television with a leaning antenna set against a coral pink background
A blue and black retro television with a leaning antenna set against a coral pink background

What is the first thing you think of when you see the distinctive Nike swoosh or Apple's apple logo? How do you feel when you hear the McDonald's "I'm lovin' it" jingle or L'Oreal's "Because you're worth it" tagline? Whatever comes to mind, the fact that you likely know these branding examples without seeing them in front of you is a testament to the power of brand awareness. 

With the digital marketing world constantly changing, marketers can't build brand awareness and reach new audiences without the right tools and insights. To set your brand apart in 2022 and beyond, you'll need a brand awareness strategy powered by strong social media marketing. But where and how do you even begin to stand out from your competitors and provide real value to your customers? Let's look into some answers in this ultimate guide to brand awareness.

Table of Contents

What is brand awareness?

Brand awareness is commonly defined as how familiar buyers are with a brand and its products or services. Brands, or elements of a brand identity, that customers automatically think of when they have a particular need (and are making a purchase) have high brand awareness. Brand recognition and brand recall are both elements of brand awareness.

Brand marketers create brand awareness campaigns around big changes, new services, rebrands, or just the brand in general. Social media marketing campaigns are a key part of this. 

Why is building brand awareness important?

Let's answer this using the marketing funnel model as a basis. Awareness is the first step because you need to get the attention of potential customers and stay in the minds of existing consumers. That way when someone is faced with the choice of you or your competitor, they're more likely to choose your business and start a journey to long-term brand loyalty

illustration of marketing funnel for brand awareness

Brand awareness can also be the first step towards achieving marketing goals like generating leads and influencing sales. If you make your target market more aware of your brand, you increase your chances of generating more conversions and sales.

Take this example: When global fashion brand Ralph Lauren wanted to build brand awareness for its 50th anniversary collection among millennials and Gen Z, it used a social-first approach that included Instagram Stories ads. The brand not only saw a 41% increase in product page views but an 18% increase in online sales as well. All of this was within their target audience.  

What is the difference between brand awareness and reach?

Reach is just one aspect of brand awareness. Potential customers can't be aware of your brand if they aren't exposed to them in the first place. Brands can extend their reach in a number of ways, from advertising to a wider audience to making their product or service more available to expanding their target markets. 

In a nutshell, if you want your brand to be remembered, you'll want to work on brand awareness. If you want your brand to reach the most amount of people, you'll want to work on reach.

How to create a brand awareness strategy

A strong brand awareness strategy can help position you as a leader in your industry or market. But how do you create one in a meaningful and manageable way? Take a step-by-step approach.

1. Conduct a brand awareness survey

To know where you want to go you have to know where you are. With that in mind, measuring your current brand awareness should be your first step to creating a brand awareness strategy. The results will give you benchmark metrics that you can use to evaluate your awareness campaign and strategy later. Plus, you'll learn valuable information about your brand's reputation and credibility.

2. Identify and research your target audience

Your brand awareness survey, Google Analytics, and any other research you do should show you your current audience and help you determine your target audience. From there, you can dig deeper into who those audiences are and what they're looking for. 

If your brand is looking to maximize awareness, you can no longer just look at consumers' demographic information. You need real audience insights and carefully-monitored indicators to understand their needs and priorities. Audience research also tells you how audiences view your brand and how your brand should speak to them. For example, when news analysis publication The Economist wanted to increase brand awareness, it used audience insights to create engaging content that aligned with its readers. 

3. Develop your messaging

Your messaging strategy is how you translate your brand into content and communication between both internal and external parties. (These parties can include potential employees, social media influencers, third-party partners, and direct communications with customers.) While your primary positioning should be the same for all audiences, each segment may be interested in different aspects of it. By highlighting specific USPs and tailoring content for sub-audiences, you can start to garner more interest and address their specific needs.

4. Develop your brand marketing and design

If your brand identity is already firmly established there's no need for it to change. But if you're modernizing or evolving as an entity, refreshing your brand marketing can have a positive impact. You don't have to change the name of your brand — Uber and Slack certainly didn't — but a fresh logo, color palette, packaging, and overall design revamp might make more sense to better support your vision. Renault and Burger King are great examples of companies that achieved rebrands while maintaining brand recognition. Remember, your name, logo, and tagline don't make up your entire brand. They just form part of its identity, but there are certainly other aspects to consider. 

5. Create your content marketing strategy

Content marketing is king when it comes to building brand awareness, especially in today's digital age of consumer research online. It's the evolution of a purely traditional approach, with new bells and whistles that allow you to connect more deeply with new business through advertising, making an impression, and staying in touch. Content marketing attracts new audiences, but let's not forget that you can qualify prospects and nurture existing consumers with it, too. It helps increase both visibility and reputation at the same time, giving you relevance in the eyes of consumers.

6. Implement, measure, and adjust accordingly

One of the last steps in creating a brand-building strategy and brand awareness campaign is the actual implementation. Any approach is developed and started with good intentions and goals in mind. But as people naturally get busy with day-to-day tasks, continuously ensuring that your brand-building strategy is implemented can make its way down the priority list. This is why tracking your efforts is so important. 

Was the strategy implemented correctly? What was the qualitative impact of the strategy? Has it yielded more page views, referral traffic, or media coverage? Are you generating new leads? You can't track what you don't measure, so start establishing KPIs and prioritizing, monitoring, and measuring your campaigns. Measure:

  • Website traffic (can incorporate SEO and keyword measurements)
  • Website engagement (such as clicks)
  • Social media engagement
  • Social reach
  • Mentions

There are several tools, like Meltwater's Media Monitoring software, that can help you analyze these metrics so you can understand what your consumers and audience is saying about you. This will allow you to stop at the right checkpoints to see just how well your strategy is doing, giving you actionable insights on where and how to improve.

The importance of brand salience

Brand salience speaks to how well your brand stands apart from the competition. Brand awareness is one part of brand salience, the other part being brand preference. Consumers not only remember and prefer brands that have high salience, they also see those brands as authorities in their fields (think McDonald's and Coca-Cola).

If no one thinks about your brand when deciding what to buy, it has no brand salience. Remember that this is not the same as being top of mind. The difference between the two is that top-of-mind awareness is about what brands consumers think of when they are asked to them in a category. Brand salience, on the other hand, relates to which brands consumers think of when they're about to make a purchase decision.

Facebook search bar

Using social media to boost brand awareness

If you’re a business owner developing a brand awareness strategy, including social media marketing is a no-brainer. However, before you start, you need to determine which platforms are best to increase brand awareness for your organization.

When choosing social media channels to drive your marketing efforts, consider the type of products and services you offer alongside who your target audience is. Additionally, each social media platform has different demographics of users. Having a solid understanding of each one's reach is crucial to your overall social media marketing strategy and brand awareness campaign. Leverage Meltwater's social media analytics tool to understand which social media channels your audience is engaging on. The 'conversation by channel' metric is a simple one to apply to find this information. 

Social media marketing content tips by platform

An active social media presence is key to building brand awareness. Here's some advice marketers should keep in mind as they craft content for each of the relevant social channels.

Facebook 

When increasing brand awareness through engagement on Facebook, know that their algorithm expands the reach of your posts based on higher engagement rates. The more reactions, likes, and comments a post gets, the higher the reach.  On this platform, photo and video content have the highest engagement rates, more specifically native content and live video. Scoring higher engagement rates is all about posting high-quality content that shows off your brand personality. 

Twitter

It’s important to use hashtags strategically when growing brand awareness via Twitter. Consumers use them to find relevant conversations on the platform. We recommend using up to three hashtags per tweet and using a social media analytics tool to understand which ones best suit your needs. 

Tweet frequency helps as well. An active Twitter page naturally helps increase brand awareness. Although you have a 280-character limit in place, use your tweets to provide short bursts of information and include links to other marketing, comms, and brand assets. Retweeting other tweets helps brand awareness, too, because you’re boosting engagement for the original poster in addition to yourself.

Instagram

Instagram differs from Facebook and Twitter in that you can only share images and videos with text in captions and comments. However, like Twitter, you can also use hashtags on Instagram. While you can use up to 30 hashtags, it’s best to only use a few in the caption itself and then list out the rest as a comment. This makes for a far better viewing experience when consumers are scrolling through their feed. 

In terms of video, Instagram's Stories and Reels are another effective way to boost awareness. Don’t forget to engage with your followers as well as other brands or influencers in your industry or local community! Engaging with each other gives your profiles a boost and connects you with like-minded people. After all, it’s called social media for a reason.

LinkedIn 

While LinkedIn is more professionally-focused than the other three social channels we discussed, some basic functions are the same across the board, such as commenting on posts. This method of engagement is key since articles, blog posts, and other written content are the most shared types of content on LinkedIn.

Don’t forget to include photos and videos as posts with photos receive much higher click rates. One way to do this is to create custom images like infographics. Posting only promotional or spammy content is not advised on LinkedIn. The idea is to connect to other users with quality and informational content. Joining and participating in relevant groups is also a tactic to increase brand awareness among people in your community or industry.

Screenshots of social media analytics on Engage, Meltwater's all-in-one social media management tool.

Brand awareness is the foundation of your business’s overall growth and how it communicates the value that it provides to the consumer. Whether you’re looking to promote new products or services or tap into new audiences, brand awareness has the power to drive sales, build credibility, and transform your marketing operation for the better. Fill out the form below to learn more about how Meltwater's social media analytics platform can help make brand awareness campaigns a breeze.

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