As I’m a great advocate of the marketing maxim that you should ask your audience what they want, to decide the topic of this blog I ran a poll on LinkedIn.
So, here’s how to increase your brand awareness!
I’ll break them down into the PESO types of media as is best practice:
Advertising – the oldest form of brand promotion and now online as well as in the print media it began in. Choose the medium and outlet which best targets your key audiences and offers best ROI. Includes Search Advertising (Google AdWords) and Display Ads (print & online). Can be expensive, so expert help is needed if you’re new to it. Includes ‘native advertising’ – a feature written by you but in the style of the publication’s independent editorial and typeset (in print) like it.
Advertorials – a paid feature about your brand. Best ROI achieved by targeting the right outlets for your audiences and negotiating hard on the price!
Sponsorship – one of the PR tools, this can introduce your brand to your target audience. Ranges from sponsoring kit for a local youth football team to sponsoring a global event.
Sponsored media content – they write about something, you are the sponsor with a brief spot acknowledging it and profiling your brand. You need to chose the right media to partner with and the right topic to be linked to in order to get the right reputation boost from it.
Sponsored social media posts – the ‘sponsorship’ here is basically a paid boost to reach an audience you define. Includes paid deals with social media influencers.
Affiliate marketing – promoting your brand through another company.
Brand ambassadors – using well-known people who are followed by your audience on social media and appear in mainstream media to lend their ‘brand halo’ and trust to your brand. Cost varies hugely. Relationships need to be managed carefully!
Exhibitions – being at the right trade or consumer exhibition can work wonders, if well-targeted.
Events – again, the right event for the right audience is worth looking at. Can also organised by you.
Networking – a good B2B channel if your target audience is small-scale and you don’t need masses of new customers. Includes LinkedIn.
Entertaining – more restricted now for ethical reasons, but good if well-targeted at a small but influential audience.
Media relations – what most people think PR is all about. It gets your brand in front of the readers of the outlet – why we call it ‘amplifying’ your message. This ranges from the standard news media release and pitched feature to comment pieces, profiles and case studies. One of the best value forms of promotion, but to get best ROI you should get help from a CIPR member in order to identify the right outlets to reach your audience most efficiently, where the opportunities are in them, how best to approach them and with what content.
Blogger relations – like media relations, but with professional and non-professional writers. If they have a big following amongst your target audience, it can be a good tool to use. Beware ethical issues – always ensure any paid link is disclosed.
Influencer relations – non-paid publicity from those who influence your audiences. Includes lobbying Government and regulators, or public affairs as we call it.
Public speaking – being the expert speaker in a room full of potential clients is a great are a great way to introduce your brand to your target audience
Partnerships – these include links with charities to serving a community you want to be known in to co-branding
Social media posts – shared by you and organisations, people and brands you have a positive relationship with e.g. local business groups, clients and influential people.
Owned Content – the things you write and share via your own comms channels – e.g. email, social media, website, media relations, brand journalism, webinars, video and podcasts
User-Generated Content (UGC) – words, pictures and videos contributed by customers and social media followers
Reviews – these third-party endorsements are one of the most powerful forms of promotion – someone else saying you’re great. You need to actively manage these – asking for them and professionally dealing with any negative ones.