You can have the best product and services at the best price. None of that will matter, though, if few people have heard of your company. Even world-established companies like Apple and Nike still consistently make grand efforts to elevate their brand above the competition.
Raising brand awareness is an ongoing job. Here are 10 ways you can make your own brand known to the public mass.
Host an Event
While methods like social media are the norm these days, nothing beats meeting people face-to-face. This will help you build better quality leads. Here’s another thing to keep in mind: while you need social media to hype the event, the event itself also increases social media activity.
With an event hashtag, you can get people sharing news about your conference and brand as a whole. This includes before, during, and after the event. Live events also open you to other opportunities, such as hosting a livestream, handing out event swag, and introducing new products or product concepts.
Offer Customized Merchandise
Event swag was just mentioned; while free stuff, such as promotional pens, keychains, and coasters are nice, they don’t always make the most profound impact. Of course, people will more than happily accept them since they’re free, but it may not do the best job at promoting your brand.
Instead of the typical event swag, consider customized merchandise that is an event-exclusive and can’t be acquired elsewhere. Perhaps this can be something like a photo booth where guests can take funny selfies with the company logo in the background. The photo can then be imprinted on an item of the guest’s choosing.
Display Your Logo
This seems obvious enough, but it can’t be overstated. It’s all about visibility, and your logo should be visible both online and offline. For an event, plaster the logo on items like promotional items, banners, business cards, and on digital signage. You can also place a decal of your logo on company vehicles or even your own personal car.
The logo also needs to be present on the Web. Aside from your website, the logo should also be visible on all of your social media channels. If you frequently contribute to a discussion forum, each post should end with a signature containing the logo.
There is only so much you can do yourself. This is why you should get your followers to do a lot of the word-of-mouth on your behalf. Your followers are your greatest brand advocates, and they will spread the word to their own followers, some of which will then become new brand advocates and relay the message to their respective followers.
Yes, networking entails social media, but it can also include live event networking. You can even incentivize the very act of networking where followers become affiliates and receive commission or some sort of reward for every X number of people they refer to your company.
Create Brand Advocates
This follows the last step of networking and will be discussed more in detail here. Your greatest brand advocates are more than just people that spread the word. These are people who also attend your events, leave testimonials, or write a positive review about your latest product. Identify your top brand advocates and make some sort of proposal to them.
Your brand advocates may have their own blog or contribute to a high-profile site. Reach out to these people and ask them to promote your brand through these blogs, vlogs, and high page rank sites. You can make this a paid gig and pay a flat rate for each post or pay according to performance.
Organize a Competition
Create some sort of social media contest. This is a lot more effective than merely sending a post. Contests create direct engagement, and it is just plain fun for the participants, especially when there is a prize at stake for the winner.
Whatever type of contest you hold, it should also double as a marketing stint. One idea is an Instagram contest where participants take a funny selfie with your logo photo shopped in. Those that do this can be automatically entered into a raffle. Alternatively, you can also have participants come up with a funny caption and declare a winner based on social media votes.
By incorporating your logo into the photos, your brand is seen by your participants’ respective followers.
Use Social Media
This is obvious but it needs to be mentioned because a lot of people aren’t using it adequately. Using social media doesn’t just mean sending out a few posts. You need to be much more diverse and use social networks from different angles. This includes but not limited to:
- Paid ads
- Sending videos, images, and GIFs
- Linking to blog posts and video channels
- Creating a temporary channel dedicated solely to an event or product
Connect with Event Attendees
You need to consistently reach out to event attendees before and after the event. If the communication comes to an abrupt halt the minute the event ends, then guests are going to quickly shift their attention elsewhere, perhaps to a competitor’s product.
Keep their attention by connecting them and keeping them up to date. In the days and weeks after the event, you can continue to earn their good graces by sending reminders or giving them dibs to discounts, promotional offers, and exclusive content. An example would be something like discount VIP tickets for the next event that’s unavailable to first-time attendees.
Become a Sponsor
If you host an event, there’s a good chance you’ll need one or more sponsors to fund the event. However, have you ever entertained the idea of becoming a sponsor yourself? Of course, this may not be possible depending on your budget, but if you can afford it, then become a sponsor for a new startup.
Remember, being a sponsor is a win/win situation. The company you’re sponsoring gets the needed funds, and you get the exposure from their attendees. The goal here is to make your sponsorship worthwhile. The ball is in your hands, so don’t be afraid to ask for more than what the company asking for sponsorship is proposing.
Provide Useful Content
Branding isn’t just about showing your logo and hosting a live event. You can also increase brand reputation and authority by consistently releasing informative, non-promotional content. Use your blog, vlogs, and YouTube channel to deliver industry-specific material with useful takeaways. This includes content, such as:
- How-to and tutorials
- Breaking industry news and its implications for readers/viewers
- Behind-the-scenes or a “just for fun” type of content
- Q&A session via Ustream
These type of content are for the reader/viewers’ benefit and should not contain any type of promotional content other than perhaps a quick reminder or link in the closing statement.
Branding requires a multi-approach. By implementing different methods ranging from social media to live events, you create opportunities for your demographic audience to learn about your company, the people behind it, and what makes it a cut above the competitors.
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at JD Parties, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.
Featured image: derivative of untitled photo by Nicolai Berntsen licensed under CC0 1.0
In-text images: derivatives of photos by Rondell Melling, Jeff Sheldon, Dean Moriarty, David Porter, Rudy and Peter Skitterians, Siggy Nowak, Push Geo, Dean Moriarty, SCY and 1588877, all licensed under CC0 1.0