White Out, Kleenex, Saran Wrap, Tupperware, Google.
What do all of these brands have in common? They’ve achieved such a high level of top-of-mind awareness they have become completely synonymous with the products they represent. In other words, you don’t reach for a tissue; you grab a Kleenex. You don’t do a search in your browser; you Google.
Some argue that this level of household name status, otherwise known as “brand genericide,” can be problematic because these types of companies tend to lose control over their trademarks. However, from a brand awareness perspective, this is the absolute top of the food chain and certainly has its benefits. Above all, these brands are exceptionally recognizable. When consumers can readily identify a brand, they also tend to place their trust in it. Consequently, this pinnacle of brand awareness enables companies to dominate their market.
Whether you’re a small business or doing business nationwide, achieving genericized household-name status may be pie in the sky. But don’t throw your hands up just yet. Putting in some effort to boost your brand awareness can absolutely move the needle in the right direction and may be the secret ingredient your marketing approach is missing.
In this article, I’ll discuss ways to boost your brand’s top-of-mind awareness to foster trust among your audience and ultimately increase sales.
To start, develop a unique branding and always stay ‘on brand’
Before you can be recognized as a brand, you must do two fundamental things: create a unique brand and avoid deviating from that brand. Start by clearly defining your brand’s mission, vision, and values. Develop a distinctive brand voice and personality that resonates with your target audience. Use this identity consistently across all touchpoints, including your logo, website, social media profiles, packaging, and marketing materials. By ensuring a cohesive and memorable brand image, you increase the likelihood of staying top-of-mind with consumers.
Here’s a great example of a brand titan doing everything right. Can you recognize who these images belong to without any context other than the images themselves?
I’d bet a million dollars you guessed correct – it’s Target. And when it comes to brand awareness, they’re writing the book. Their clean, bright, and modern vibes permeate everything Target touches, from their website, to their social media content, to ads, and even in-store experiences.
You may or may not have the marketing budget of a brand like Target or some of the other major household names. Regardless, here are a few strategies that will help you build your brand’s awareness and ultimately boost sales.
It goes without saying that the longer time you spend doing something, the more you’ll remember it. By keeping visitors on your website – wallpapered with your logos, carefully curated copy and product offerings – they will remember your brand more than if they bounced right away.
There are a number of ways to increase time-on-site. To start, let’s talk about pop-ups. A hugely popular method in increasing time-on-site is with a strategically placed and triggered pop-up. Create a timed pop-up or even a pop-up that is triggered when the user is about to exit the page.
In this unique example, a retailer teases an upcoming sale and tells visitors to “prepare their cart”. The promise of 50% off would surely convince me to stay and look around. No doubt it helped convert loads of new customers.
Would you like to create a pop-up of your own?
Pop-ups can do more than just drive customers straight to an online store. Use them as the perfect jumping-off point for launching visitors into a sales funnel. In other words, include an email capture field in your pop-up for lead collection or even to drive traffic to an online giveaway.
Speaking of giveaways, online interactive campaigns such as giveaways are also great strategies to increase time-on-site. Don’t be scared to get creative with your giveaway. Hidden objects games, scratch-and-win giveaways, and even spin-the-wheel type promotions are far more engaging than a traditional giveaway in which participants simply enter a form.
One great example is this hidden objects game built by Tootsie Roll that used clues to send visitors on a mini scavenger hunt. Finding all of the hidden objects allowed each participant to submit an entry to win.
Create memorable customer experiences
Delivering exceptional and unique customer experiences is one of the most effective ways to keep your brand in the minds of consumers. Start with customer service. Aim to exceed customer expectations from the first interaction to post-purchase follow-ups. By consistently delivering positive experiences, you create a lasting impression and increase the likelihood of customers recommending your brand to others.
Another way to create memorable experiences is through interactive marketing campaigns running parallel with your sales and promotions. To piggyback off the previous section on how to increase time-on-site, giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests, are other effective means of driving engagement, creating memorable experiences and ultimately solidifying a top-of-mind status.
As I mentioned previously, giveaways in the form of games and other types of interactive marketing can come in all shapes and sizes. For example, offering a personality quiz is a fun way to interact with site visitors. As a bonus, the outcome of the quiz can help you promote new products and even collect and store product preferences for each participant.
Another way to create a memorable experience associated with your brand is through the use of user-generated content (UGC). When participants create their own images, videos, and other content to participate in a promotion or giveaway, their investment of time and creativity goes a long way in driving top-of-mind awareness associated with your brand.
Take a look at this example by yours truly. The folks here at ShortStack offered a giveaway utilizing our branded frames feature in honor of National Pancake Day. We received 3,000+ pancake-adorned entries, but furthermore, delivered a perfect on-brand experience to our audience.
Stay in touch
When traffic arrives at your website, some users will immediately bounce, some will scroll or sit idle, and some will convert. No matter which path each user takes, follow-up communication is a smart next step.
You may be thinking how this could be possible if you didn’t collect any content information such as an email address or phone number. If you invest in ads, targeting your ad expenditure to those who recently visited your site can be a great way to re-engage the attention of those who left your site without converting.
And, for those who either interacted with your site – left an email address, abandoned a shopping cart, or even converted – follow-up email communication is necessary for cultivating that prospect into a customer, or to keep that customer coming back.
When you enlist the help of your most loyal customers and/or influencers by offering commissions or other incentives, you create an army of brand advocates working toward the same goal – selling your brand. Although this may cut into your revenue, the return on this small investment can be exponential. After all, who is more relatable to your customers? Your company? Or a fellow customer and user of your products? Referrers, affiliates, influencers, and brand advocates can be more effective at selling your brand than your best marketing strategy on your best day, so incentivize their effort with commissions or freebies.
Sometimes, it takes a little extra creativity and a bit of courage to do something really out-of-the box. But for some brands, doing something that draws attention is the exact thing they need to be able to cut through the noise of everyday marketing. Remember when Red Bull and Go Pro sponsored Stratos – Felix Baumgartner’s free fall jump from space? In this unforgettable event, Red Bull was able to get the world’s hearts pounding without drinking a single energy drink. It’s reported that Red Bull spent $30 Million dollars on that historic event. But, the brand awareness driven from such a bold marketing move is absolutely priceless.
A few other bold marketing events that I can conjure from memory include Baskin Robbins’ Free Scoop Day, that time Payless Shoes opened Paylessi – a fake, high-end shoe store intended to fool fashion influencers, and when Domino’s Pizza announced you could order a pizza simply by texting a pizza emoji.
Now that you’ve got the gist of how brands orchestrate zany marketing strategies that grab attention, you may be wondering how your brand can follow suit. You may not have the budget to drop a guy from space, but your memory-making niche is out there. Remember Blendtec’s “will it blend” campaign? With almost no budget, a blender company created a series of videos putting items like golf balls and even an iPhone in a blender. The videos earned them nearly 3 Million views.
To sum things up
Building and maintaining a top-of-mind brand status doesn’t require a massive budget or even a national presence. What it does require is a continuous effort, a strategic and consistent approach, and some creativity.
By developing a unique brand identity, providing memorable customer experiences, engaging with consumers through interactive content marketing strategies (like games, giveaways, and UGC), and leveraging referral and influencer marketing, you can ensure that your brand remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds.