3 Smart Ways to Build Brand Awareness

Amanda Gregory  /  May 01, 2019

You’re a marketer working hard on your lead generation. You’re driving great leads. But not at the scale you need, or with the results you want. Why? It could be the lack of brand awareness. Brand awareness is defined as the extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or series. Aka, brand awareness is defined as how well known your brand is.

Many people, especially marketers, hear “brand awareness” and immediately think of advertising: using a paid medium like television or digital banner ads to advertise a message. Is there a way to increase your brand’s awareness with your target audience, but without a costly media buy? Here are three things to try.

Referral/Brand Advocacy Programs: We’ve all heard stories about the power of word of mouth. But did you know that 83% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase? According to Nielsen, referrals from people we know and trust are the most credible form of advertising. How do you take happy customers and make them into brand advocates? Referral programs. While referral programs are all a bit different, the common denominator is that most of them offer a financial reward to both the person trying a product or service for the first time, and to the happy customer referring them.

Look at Uber’s rapid growth. How did they do it? Referral programs. They knew that once people tried Uber, it would become their preferred method of transportation over taxis. People who had great experiences would tell other people. So they offered their riders a credit for every friend who tried Uber for the first time – and they also gave a credit to first-time riders. Offering the program in-app made it feel seamless to the referrer. By giving free trials and rewarding customer referrals, companies like Uber remove barriers to trial and make it easy for happy customers to become brand advocates.

Guest Content/Influencer Marketing: When you hear Influencer Marketing, you might think of people selling products on Instagram. That can definitely be an effective form of Influencer Marketing. But at Catalyst, we think of a wider definition. We see Influencer Marketing as any form of bringing worthwhile information to an established audience. Our B2B clients sometimes think Influencer Marketing isn’t for them. But we remind them that a lot of the established best practices in B2B marketing are actually Influencer Marketing. For example, guest blogging is a great form of Influencer Marketing. Speaking at conferences or events is another. In both cases, you (or your company) as the authority are bringing excellent, practical content to a new audience (that of the conference or event).

Partnerships: This might be the sneakiest way to build brand awareness. Why? Because it just doesn’t make it to the list when people think about brand awareness. That’s a shame, because it can be really effective.

Here’s how it works: Find a partner who offers a complementary product to yours, or who sells to the same audience you do. Create a partnership agreement that has a mutually beneficial per-referral fee or revenue share, and create a joint go-to-market plan. This solution often creates a win-win-win between you, your partner and the customer, because it results in a better overall solution for the client. Many of our clients, including Microsoft and Adobe, go to market with other complementary products, and in these cases, are able to create a better end result for their customers.

It’s not easy to build brand awareness. It takes a clear strategic vision, plus time and dedication. These are just three of the many tools in the brand building toolbox. Identifying the need to increase your brand awareness is a great place to start. Want to keep building? Start with one of the above methods and test and measure from there.


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