There is a clamor of noise everywhere today’s consumer turns. People wake up to pings from companies wanting them to shop in their stores or get 15 percent off for ordering today.
The drive to work is filled with billboard advertisements and radio spots touting the latest or best whatever. The average person sees thousands of ad impressions. It’s hard to boost your brand awareness amid all the noise.
Statista reports global advertising spending at $560 billion in 2019, and the number grows each year. Advertising is big business, and with the plethora of ads, standing out becomes harder to do.
Fortunately, there are still a few ways you can make an impression on your target audience.
The Dos and Don’ts of Branding in 2020
1. Be Transparent and Speak on ROI.
In a study on transparency return on investment (ROI), researchers found about 94 percent of consumers were more loyal to completely open brands.
If you claim to be green, show how you are and offer proof of your commitment. When you gain loyal fans, you also create a street team that tells others about your company.
2. Sell the problem you solve not the product.
What is your mission as a brand? Dig down into the core of why you do what you do.
After all, you could have started any type of business, but you chose the industry you’re in. Once you know your reasons, it is easier to communicate your purpose and establish a strong message for your brand.
3. Your Network is your Net Worth.
You can learn a lot from those who have gone before you. Join your local chamber of commerce and talk to other business owners about what tactics work for them or how they overcame challenges.
One benefit of networking with other businesses is that they may offer to do joint promotions. You may also find a mentor who will help you with ideas on how to get your name out there.
4. Maintain Consistency.
Your message should be the same, no matter where the user encounters you. If your passion is helping working moms put fresh food on the table in minutes, then every message you put out should be geared toward that.
If you want to be known as having the best customer service out of all your competitors, then prove it with testimonials and by helping clients on social media, in-person, and on the phone.
5. Create Your Own Style Guide.
People have to see your logo or brand name five to seven times before it sticks in their memories.
Ensure those impressions count by creating a style guide so they see the same images and messages over and over again. A style guide outlines log use, typography, and even the tone of your messages.
6. Start a Referral Program to Scale
No matter what type of business you own, you likely have loyal customers who stick with you through everything. You may even be on a first-name basis with some of these people.
Tap into their passion for what you do by starting a referral program. Encourage those fans to share your business with others and reward them when it results in a sale.
7. Do Content Marketing.
Want to expand your reach a bit more online? Offer to write some high-converting content for other people. Seek blogs where your target audience is most likely to spend their time.
One word of caution here, though: People find it offensive if you just write a self-promotional post. Give them value, ask for a link in your bio, and let them come to you.
8. Wrap Your Vehicles.
If you run a service-based business, such as heating and cooling or housecleaning, you absolutely must wrap your car and get your name out in the local community. Vehicle wraps work for every type of business, and vinyl wraps are an inexpensive advertising solution.
Every time you take your car out for an errand or drive to the office, people see the ad. Make sure the wrap is eye-catching but easy to read.
9. Attend Events & Shows.
Get your name out in your industry by attending trade shows. Set up a booth and let your best people represent your brand. You may even gain a few customers, but by just being there, you increase name recognition.
10. Run Social Media Contests.
Want to get in front of a lot of other people? Host a contest on social media.
One example is when a brand asks people to like and share a post to be entered for a chance to win one of their products. This gets your name in front of their friends and family, and they might just like and share as well to enter the contest.
11. Tell Your Story.
There is something unique about your business that no other person can claim. Your history and personal story are what drive you.
Share it with your customers and point out the original aspects of it. Think about some big brands that started in a garage or a college dorm room.
12. Put Your Name/Logo Everywhere.
If your logo is your brand name, then you are off to a good start. If not, then add your name to your logo and put it everywhere you have a presence. Put it on your Facebook page, website, signature line, and upper corner of every ad.
13. Team Up With Influencers.
Influencer marketing spending is projected to reach $10 billion this year. The reason for the growth in this area is that it’s effective.
Influencers speak to highly targeted audiences, and if you can get one to jump on your brand’s bandwagon, then they will refer you.
14. Host an Event.
Host a grand opening, unveil a new product, or have a customer appreciation gala. Invite local media to the ceremony for some free promotion. A live event also gets you up close and personal with customers.
15. Hand Out Freebies.
Promotional items put your brand name in people’s hands. A hat with your name reminds the person where they got the gift and puts your name in front of others when they wear it. Something that’s used every day, such as a pen, is also a good promotional tool.
16. Brand Your Packaging.
If you mail anything out, send it in a package with your company name and logo. Brands such as HelloFresh and Amazon do a good job of this. Nearly every package that arrives from Amazon has its name and logo on it.
17. Dub a Hashtag.
Create your own hashtag to use on Twitter and gather attention. Also, use other popular hashtags to grab interest. If a current event somehow ties into your product, throw in your two cents and add the event hashtag as well as your own.
18. Offer a Trial Period.
People love to try something out, especially if they’ve not heard of your company before. One way to boost brand recognition is to offer a free demo or trial period. The user can experience what you offer without any risk and decide if they want to partner with you.
19. Entertain Your Audience.
A funny commercial or video that tells a story becomes memorable. Think about some of the commercials you remember most, such as GEICO’s cavemen or Allstate’s Mayhem commercials. Whether you love or hate them, they are memorable and tied to the brand.
20. Retarget Visitors.
No matter how amazing your landing page is, some visitors will bounce away. However, if you’re smart about tracking, you can see which ones stayed or interacted in some way and retarget those people again through social media or online advertising
The Bottom Line: Simple is Best
Many of the recommendations on this list might seem a bit dated to experienced brand managers. Surely brand promotion in 2020 is all about innovative techniques that make use of AI algorithms and automated ad targeting?
Well, yes and no. New approaches certainly have their place in branding in 2020, but only as an addition to the kind of basic marketing practices that have been successful for years. Get a great logo, get it out there, and treat your customers like people.
Sometimes, it really is that simple.
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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Emerald Journal journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.