Monday, March 26, 2012


Simply put brand awareness is a marketing concept that measures the consumers’ knowledge of a product (or brand’s) existence. This basically means, marketing your product so that it’s recognizable everywhere, like Apple, Coke and Walmart. Take into consideration that these multi-million dollar companies spend a fortune on advertising every year to maintain their brand awareness and to build loyalty from their customers. But for the everyday person who is starting a business, building brand recognition seems to be a daunting task.

Brand recognition does take time and effort, but it is not impossible for a small business owner to achieve and really essential to building your business.   Listed here are a few suggestions that will help you in creating a successful brand.

1.    Sell Yourself First. Brand building can be as simple as being yourself.  Often when a consumer is faced with choosing between two very similar products the decision hinges on whether they like the company or business owner.  Building a brand isn’t just about the product you’re selling, but it’s about the perception of the brand. Do people like you? Do people speak highly of your business? Because if they do, they are more likely to purchase from you and tell their friends.

2.    Use the Product Yourself. As a small business without much start-up capital brand development can start by simply using your own product! You would be amazed at how simple this marketing concept is, but is sometimes overlooked.  Whatever your business is you are the best (and cheapest) way of getting the word out.  Whether you are a savvy fashion designer who wears her own dresses, a web site designer who designed their own website or even a restaurateur who is seen nightly eating at his restaurant…every small business should have an online marketing strategy which includes multimedia (videos, images, audio, etc.) of the owner using their products. Allowing potential customers to see the owner standing behind their own product will convert into sales and referrals.

3.    Follow Up and Stay Accessible. Brand advertising and development is on going. Most people rarely purchase a product the first time they see it online. Potential customers will bookmark the product, come back, get outside opinions and then make a decision after careful consideration. Your direct marketing strategy should always include following up with a prospect, since it usually takes 6-7 exposures to a product before someone actually buys something. Always take every opportunity to answer questions, respond to emails and phone calls because this can mean the difference between making the sale or not.

4.    Article Marketing. Writing articles will help you build credibility and brand visibility.  This marketing strategy is time consuming, but extremely effective in branding your product. By writing short 400-500 hundred word articles for trade or mainstream media or blogging consistently makes your product and website more visible.

5.    Smaller Niche Markets. Brand awareness isn’t just for larger companies who can afford to hire top dollar marketing consultants. There are many small businesses thriving because they narrow down their market by being more specific about what they are selling.  So instead of concentrating on building a brand around women’s apparel, it might be more profitable to concentrate on bohemian style blouses to start.  Successful brands realize the importance of starting small while building recognition.

6.    Social Media. Since the emergence of social networking websites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, branding experts have come to realize that these free social outlets can greatly contribute to brand development and potential sales.  Social media marketing strategies can include building a following for your customers to stay informed, offering coupons and incentives and providing direct one-on-one contact with your customers.  Social media is critical to building brand awareness for small businesses especially if you have limited funds and brand experience.

7.    Make a Bang with Multimedia. Every day start-ups are looking for the biggest bang for their advertising buck. The best way to create a buzz around your brand is using multimedia – specifically video. One of the biggest innovations of Internet marketing is online video. Once a company starts creating real videos, with real people using their products they become more accessible to the consumer.  This can be done simply you’re your iPhone or a small video camera and posting it on your website or even YouTube.  The reality is that no matter how many brand development techniques you implement, people want to see real people using the products or services that you are selling.

8.    Build an Email List. List building is one of the most important marketing strategies that you can utilize.  It is easy to create an email list (or database) by asking visitors to your website to sign up for a weekly newsletter or for more information about your product.  You can make it more inviting for people to sign up by offering some sort of perk like a discount coupon or some sort of exclusive access to the website if they sign up. Creating an email list, will essentially give you direct marketing access to people who are interested in your products. When there are new additions to your website or a special insider sale, you can reach your customers directly and potentially make more sales.

9.    Send Regular Emails. Brand creation doesn’t end once you have captured a long list of names and emails. Brand loyalty occurs whens when you keep in constant contact with your subscribers. As an entrepreneur, you should be sending emails regularly, around once a week (you don’t want to be annoying). These emails should include additional information about your products, news and articles during the week they may have missed.

10.Research Keywords.  Keywords are the specific words people input into Google (BING, Yahoo or whatever search engine you use) to search for or locate information on the Internet. For example, if I am looking for a Greek restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn I would go to Google and type in ‘Greek Restaurant Williamsburg Brooklyn’ and the most popular options will show up first. If you are the owner of a Greek restaurant in Williamsburg Brooklyn you would make sure you use ‘Greek, restaurant, Williamsburg, Brooklyn as the keywords that appear on your website (within the page title and body text) and perhaps even in some article titles for article marketing.

The brand building process is on going. Even after you have implemented these marketing strategies, there is always more that can be done. Developing a brand that is successful both on and off line is a lot easier than most people think. All you need is time, energy and a brand-building strategy.   Is your brand recognizable?  


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