Brand Awareness: What It Is, Why Your Clients Need It and How to Develop It

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Content Marketing Director on Mar 25, 2022

We know you want to be able to show hard evidence of your success to your marketing agency clients. You know, the data that answers questions like How many conversions? How much have conversions increased? What is the campaign’s ROI? Has it improved since the last campaign?

Certainly, these things are critically important.

But they aren’t the whole story.

At the beginning of the marketing funnel, many marketers need to pay more attention to brand awareness. This will pay off further down the funnel. After all, when people are  very aware of your client’s brand, they are a lot more likely to convert.

Ignore building brand awareness at your peril. If you want a loyal customer base, this is where it all starts.

If your clients don’t understand this, it’s time to educate them.

And besides, you can do some level of brand awareness measurements. Just three of these methods are to check if website traffic and stickiness increase during increased brand awareness marketing activities and to track buzz on social media.

The Levels that Comprise Brand Awareness

The panacea of brand awareness is when a brand becomes synonymous with the category. That’s when someone asks for a “Kleenex” instead of a tissue or a “Post-It” instead of a “little paper square to write notes and stick on a document.”

Most brands never reach the rare air of that level of brand dominance, but there are intermediate levels between “Who? What?” and “Hand me a Kleenex, please.” Let’s talk about these levels.

It starts with brand recognition. Many people think all there is to brand awareness is brand recognition, but that’s far from the truth. Brand recognition is when a brand is mentioned to a person, they can tell you generally what the brand does. In other words, whether they sell computers or soda pop. But that doesn’t mean the person necessarily have any opinion of the brand or knows much about it.

If your client’s product has reached brand recognition, the next level you need to push for is brand recall. Brand recall is when someone can come up with the name of the product on their own. For example, if asked to name some floor cleaners, they might name your client’s product among others. Brand recall is on the road to top of mind awareness but is not quite there.

Top of mind awareness is achieved when your client’s brand is the first name that pops into people’s minds when they think of the category.

The next rung up the ladder is when people recognize the brand from visual cues even without the product’s name. For example, pretty much everyone recognizes the Nike swoosh. But it’s not just the logo. It is important for a brand to maintain a consistent color palette and style. In other words, you must work to make the look and feel consistent.

And finally, some brands reach brand dominance where it is hard for people to name any other product in the category – if they can do so at all.

Why Brand Awareness Is Important

Brand awareness is important because it raises your client’s product above the level of just being a commodity.

Companies that enjoy high brand awareness also enjoy

  • Trust and credibility
  • Loyalty and customer retention
  • Lower price sensitivity – that is, they choose your client’s brand because they have positive feelings about it, rather than looking for the lower price.
  • Increased interest from job seekers

Remember: People in your client’s target market are not actively looking for what your client sells all the time.  But when they are, you want the first company they think of to be your client’s company.

And here’s a bonus: The trust and credibility you built up with one product can help your client to successfully introduce new ones.

Some Tips to Achieving Brand Awareness

There are many, many things you can do to increase the brand awareness of your client’s product or company. Here are some general categories to consider.

Personalize Your Brand

Consumers today want more than buying from a faceless corporation. They want to be recognized as individuals, and they want to know just who your client is.

Let people in behind the scenes. Maybe photos from the last company party for example.

People respond better to social posts published by a person rather than just a company name. So, a post from Mary Jones, a company product manager, is going to attract more interest than a post with just the company name.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the humanity in your company. And don’t be afraid to inject some humor into your content.

Interact with Customers

Interacting with your customers is a natural extension of personalizing your brand. Obviously, social media is a great way to do this. Don’t just publish social media posts and forget about them. Interact with people in your comments. Hold polls. Ask for feedback. Comment on people’s posts. Share content. And don’t be afraid to boost your posts.

Most importantly,  post about things of interest to your audience beyond always directly selling your products. Try to be human.

Research indicates that more than 50% of brand reputation is a result of online social interactions.

Tell a Story

If you want people to remember your client’s brand, it’s critical that you tell a compelling story. Telling stories humanizes the brand and makes it much more memorable.

The story could be about how the founders used to meet at the local café and work out the idea that became their innovative product. It could be about how your company rose to the top in a David and Goliath story. It can be about any number of things as long as it captures the imagination.

Partner with Influencers and High-Profile Companies

A great way to increase brand awareness is to partner with those your audience already knows and trusts.

Look for social media influencers whose ethics and lifestyles align with your company’s values. Feelings people have for those influencers will reflect on your brand when they film themselves using your product. This can even work with B2B if you find the right influencer such as an industry pundit.

If you are selling B2B, another way is to partner with other respected B2B companies. Look for partners with the same audience but who are not competitive. You could work together on making your products interrelated or you could just hold joint seminars, market to each other’s audiences and give testimonials.

Use Content Marketing

Content marketing is wildly important if you are trying to increase brand awareness. This can include blog posts (including blog posts from outside experts), podcasts, videos and any number of other possibilities. Just make it easy for your readers to share your content.

Advertising Is Still Important

Advertising is not dead, and it’s a good way to get in front of an audience quickly. Pay Per Click, search engine advertising, social post boosts and even traditional advertising such as billboards and wrapping buses may all be possibilities depending on your client.

Create Referral Programs

Inspire your customers to become your evangelists. But you don’t have to depend just on love for your brand. You can also give people incentives for referring customers such as a discount, an upgrade or an opportunity to win a coveted prize.

Give Away a Free Taste

Many companies offer a free version of some products just so people can get their feet wet. This enables people to try the product then upgrade when they are ready for more bells and whistles. Even while people are using your free version, this spreads your reach to others who will buy the full-featured, paid version.

Umbrella Can Help You Increase Brand Awareness

Brand awareness heavily influences how people decide to buy and increases customer retention. If you are not an expert in this area, remember that you can also resell Umbrella white label marketing services.

If you would like to ensure your clients have the brand awareness they need to grow and be a powerhouse in their industry, contact Umbrella to discuss how we can help.


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