What Is Brand Recognition?
| 14 Ways To Boost Awareness

Most people would quickly identify Disney’s opening theme song. Or the phrase, Just Do It.

But why?

Put simply, brand recognition is the ability for people to identify (or recognize) your brand through sensory cues.

A jingle or audio cue, a tagline, a smell, or an image sparks something in their mind that reminds them of you.

The cultural phenomenon and wildly successful show from the 90s â€śFriends” used the purple door to help viewers quickly identify the show while changing channels.

Smart move from production designer, John Shaffner, as it became a 90s’ icon.

In this article, we’re discussing what brand recognition is, how it triggers memories of brand experience and how it increases brand awareness.

Memory Level 1 – Brand Awareness

Refers to the share of the market that’s aware of your brand; they know who you are and what you do. Brand awareness is crucial for recognition. If people don’t know you exist, there won’t be a trigger effective enough to make them recognize you.

Memory Level 2 – Brand Recognition

Refers to the moment your brand is recognized when the audience experiences a visceral cue that triggers the senses — like the purple door, a snappy tagline or a unique logo.

You have to be aware the brand exists before you can recognize it.

Memory Level 3 – Brand Recall

Ability to recall a specific brand when prompted, not with a visceral trigger like an image or a sound, but with the specific industry or market category. A brand that can be recalled through its category has a shot of being in the mix at the buying decision.

You have to recognize a brand before you can recall it.

Household names tend to be first in line for brand recall. For example, If I say “Cola”, you’ll probably think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi before any other brand.

Memory Level 4 – Brand Salience

The holy grail of brand memorability. Salience is the level of presence of the brand in the customer’s mind specifically during the buying decision.

If a brand is present in the mind of the audience in the buying decision, it has a very high chance of purchase.

The higher the brand salience, the higher the chance of getting a sale.

14 Strategies For Building Brand Awareness

Next, we’re going to dive into how to boost your brand awareness and earn brand recognition.

1. Know Your Audience

Casting a wide net won’t get you any more recognition than focusing on a strategically defined audience. 

Many first-time entrepreneurs believe the wider they cast their net the more likely they are to be recognized which may be a fair assumption.

But in most cases, the opposite is true and brands have a better chance of success by honing in on a segment of the market rather than spreading too thin trying to appeal to everyone.

Part of knowing your audience is also discovering where they are.

Do they use the major social media networks?

Will you find them on YouTube?

Use these insights to craft a content strategy that’ll help you get in front of the right eyes and ears.


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2. Define Clear Brand Awareness Goals

As with any marketing campaign, you want to set clear objectives and metrics to measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness efforts. Without them, it’ll be difficult to adjust strategies or gauge the impact of your campaign.

Measuring the growth of brand awareness can be easily done with a few key metrics.

Tracking social media engagement such as likes, shares, comments, saves, and others, the number of followers, increased web traffic, or a growing, engaged email list are all metrics you can use to monitor increased awareness.

Start by setting a benchmark and track progress regularly (monthly, quarterly, and/or yearly is a good place to start).

That said, high follower counts and engagement can become vanity metrics if there isn’t a clear path for those engaging to become customers.

After all, businesses need revenue.

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3. Share Your Differences

You don’t just want people to know your brand.

You also want them to know how you are different from your competitors.

Your differentiators and other unique aspects of your brand from brand values to brand personality are the foundation of your brand strategy that will help you stand out from a saturated market.

These should influence your brand voice and guide your communications at every touchpoint.

4. Use Content Marketing To Provide Valuable Resources

Brand awareness is about being memorable and staying on your audience’s mind.

What better way to do this than providing valuable knowledge or solutions so your followers can come back any time they’re facing a challenge?

Use a content marketing strategy to turn yourself into a go-to source of knowledge for your industry.

Content marketing is an effective strategy for establishing authority and building an audience of loyal followers and potential customers. And it has the added benefit of SEO to help you reach even bigger audiences.

Another important element is sharing selflessly.

Your content (blogs, pins, social posts, etc) should aim to educate, entertain, inspire, or solve a problem for your audience before you ask for the sale.

That’s how you earn your followers’ trust and build brand equity and ultimately brand loyalty.

A solid content strategy can grow your organic and paid traffic substantially.

But beware:

Content marketing is a long-term game that will take a while to bring in results.

5. Partner With Other Brands

Partnerships present the unique opportunity of reaching a bigger audience as part of an overall marketing strategy.

To start, consider brands that aren’t direct competitors but instead, complement your offer and attract a similar target, for example, a hair salon brand collaborating with a beautician brand.

But you don’t have to work exclusively with other businesses. Influencer marketing has picked up steam in recent years because people look for trusted experts to make recommendations. So consider this avenue to reach new markets.

6. Show A Human Face

Platforms like LinkedIn make it easier for people to grow their presence than it is for company pages.

The simple reason is that people like to engage with people. 

As you’re building brand awareness for your business, showing a human face makes it easy for people to connect with you.

Steve Jobs was at the forefront of Apple’s advancement as an industry leader but you don’t need to be Steve Jobs to be the face of a brand.

7. Use Brand Storytelling

As a service provider, you’re in business to sell solutions to problems.

So you need to dig into how your audience experiences their problem and present your offer as the solution to the feelings that arise.

Successful brands use a compelling narrative to attract and captivate their audiences.

When introducing the first iPod (a new product people didn’t even know they needed)“A thousand songs in your pocket.” was more impressive and memorable than listing the iPod’s technical capabilities.

Stories, no matter how small, help us to find meaning.

8. Invest In Digital Marketing

People have never been as accessible as they are in the digital age and digital marketing aims to take advantage of that.

Social media marketing is a powerful tool to reach broad audiences.

Email marketing helps you foster engagement and connect with users regularly on a platform you own.

SEO makes it easy for people to find you and learn from you. 

A marketing strategy that integrates the most relevant digital channels can help to establish your brand as an industry leader, ultimately earning brand recognition.

9. Use Paid Media

Whether on Google, Youtube, Facebook, Radio, TV or any other paid media channel, advertising can be an effective strategy to reach your exact audience.

A paid strategy can help you increase brand awareness within the platforms your audience lives in and find new audiences in other spaces.

But keep in mind that a brand awareness campaign will need a very different strategy from a sales-oriented campaign.

As a rule of thumb, it will cost you more to turn a stranger into a customer than it will to increase awareness.

10. Launch A Referral Program

If you’re working with an ideal client, chances are their colleagues or network are pretty similar and could be a good fit for your business.

So don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and offer small incentives like discounts or “finder’s fees” to those who send you new business.

This way, you’ll earn new followers and build a bigger audience of like-minded people who could potentially become paying customers.

Additionally, providing stellar service is a foolproof way to earn recommendations from loyal customers once a project is over.

In my case, one of my first writing clients went on to recommend my services to several of their own clients — even years after we stopped working together.

Or, if you don’t want to go all out with a referral program, make it a habit to request testimonials from clients regularly.

And use those in your marketing to build authority.

11. Encourage Sharing & Brand Advocacy

According to SemRush, word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, with 83% of marketers using it in their strategy to increase brand awareness.

An easy way to tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing is by creating high-value content that’s easy to share.

Blog posts, infographics, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, and other bite-sized pieces of content are the perfect format for your followers to shoot through DMs to a friend or colleague.

Bonus points if you actually encourage users to share your content or channels through your Calls to Action in everything you share.

Make it easy for them to embed, forward an email, or otherwise get you some valuable exposure for free.

12. Promote A Tagline

From Nike’s â€śJust Do It” to McDonald’s’ â€śI’m Lovin It”, a catchy tagline is another way to grab that brand recognition.

A catchy tagline supports a memorable brand name and a well-designed brand identity.

There are countless great examples of memorable taglines from recognizable brands, which help those brands to increase their awareness and recognition.

Though the two examples above speak to an idea, new brands should aim to focus on their point of difference to solidify their position.

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13. Align With Industry Experts

Similar to partnering with other brands, interviewing expert guests on your podcast or video series is a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your expertise while reaching new audiences and potential new customers.

Aligning with well-known industry leaders or influencers is a great way for small businesses to enhance their profile with their target audience.

Guest appearances will also get you some valuable backlinks to boost your SEO.

If you have a big network, it’d be worth announcing that you’re interested in speaking engagements or other forms of exposure since you never know who might have an opportunity for you.

14. Establish A Cohesive Brand Presence

Last, but certainly not least, a cohesive brand presence is crucial for successful branding.

When it comes to raising awareness and earning recognition, recall and salience, consistency is key.

Every element of your brand has the potential to create a memory hook from your logo to colors, typography, images, illustration, and jingles, the list goes on.

Use these elements across every brand touchpoint to turn that awareness into recognition.

Over To You

Having a good-looking brand identity is great, but it’s not enough. The visual assets of your brand are not your brand. They’re just assets.

For them to be effective, they need a marketing strategy to gain presence and a brand strategy to provide meaning.

Once that initial awareness has been achieved, it becomes a game of consistency and availability.

Stay in front of your audience with consistent visual assets, brand messages and an overall experience that is aligned with the position you want to own in the mind of your audience.

Do that and you’ll be well on your way to recognition, salience, brand equity, and ultimately brand growth.

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