So, how long does it take to build brand awareness?
A week, a month, a year, 5 years?
Well, this depends heavily on the brand awareness strategy, how aggressive that strategy is executed and how that awareness is defined.
When you build a brand, your first task at hand it to get that brand out into the market by putting brand messages under the nose of your target audience.
But what does brand awareness achieve and does “awareness” on it’s own make a difference?
In this article we’re going to break it down.
Building Brand Awareness
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What Is Brand Awareness And Does It Matter?
Brand awareness is an enigma for some.
I mean, of course it’s the awareness of a brand in the market, but that doesn’t exactly make it crystal clear as to what benefits come with that and why brand awareness is important.
So, why don’t we start with the definition?
Brand Awareness Definition
The dictionary version describes brand awareness as:
“The extent to which consumers are familiar with the qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services”
To be honest, every time I see a dictionary definition of a branding term, I always feel it was written by an expert in linguistics, not branding (which of course is the case).
I would describe brand awareness as
“The level of consumer awareness of a brand, its idea and offered value as a market provider.”
OK, I might be splitting hairs, but hairs are important.
Why Is Brand Awareness Important?
Essentially, your brand awareness is the level in which people see your brand and its offer as a legitimate option to meet a specific want or need in the market.
So, if you want to place your brand in the mind of your audience when they’re considering which solution to purchase, you had better raise your brand awareness.
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Develop A Brand Awareness Strategy
There are many tactics you can use to raise the awareness of your brand.
Brand awareness is where branding meets marketing.
Brand awareness tactics and marketing tactics are one and the same and using these terms interchangeably will be accurate 99% of the time.
The terms “branding” and “marketing” are often used interchangeably, however, marketing doesn’t enter the equation until the brand awareness phase, at which point the entire brand has been developed.
Marketing represents the front lines of the brand.
Marketing tactics (or brand awareness tactics) are tools the brand uses to get its message in front of the intended audience (which identified in the positioning strategy phase of the brand development).
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Build Your Brand Awareness Strategy Around Your Target Audience
When you know who your audience is and where they congregate, you can devise a strategy to get your message in front of them.
By first identifying where your audience congregates, then why, how and where they’re most likely to be receptive to your message, you can devise a plan to tailor messages to those specific environments.
Whether these messages come in the form of paid advertising, organic social posts or helpful blog content, the goal is to help your audience to understand that your brand exists as a legitimate option for a want or need they have.
The plan that results in the decisions made here is both your marketing strategy and your brand awareness strategy.
Brand Awareness Marketing Is Just The Starting Point
Once you’ve devised a plan to engage your audience, you then need to place your brand messages in front of them in the environments you’ve identified.
These messages will increase the awareness that your brand exists in the market.
Maybe your message helped them to overcome a challenge through content or maybe it showed them a specific product or service.
Either way, your job is not done with the first engagement.
Your Brand Awareness Campaign Needs To Offer Value
Your audience is not going to suddenly place your brand in the mix of their buying decision because of one message.
You initial engagement is a hook and your hook needs bait in the form of value.
Of course you can throw a budget at paid advertising and get your hook in front of millions, but if your hook offers no value, no one is biting and eventually your hook will become a nuisance in the market.
Will they know of your brand because of these messages? Possibly.
Doesn’t that constitute brand awareness? No.
Brand awareness requires that when your audience recalls your brand, they associate it with a certain level of value.
Brand awareness therefore is the insemination of your brand position in the mind of your audience as it’s here that the seed of your brand takes root.
From this seed, through every touch point and experience, your brand grows in the mind of your audience until it grows big enough to own the idea from which it was born.
Metrics For Brand Awareness Measurement
There are many metrics to measure the awareness of your brand.
As a brand owner, try not to get sucked into too many metrics. Your time is better spent on creating more and better brand awareness messages.
As a brand builder or manager, you may need to illustrate that the needle is moving.
In this case, these metrics will help you to paint that picture for your client.
The more visitors you have coming to your website, the more people know about your brand.
If you’re placing brand awareness messages into the market and your website visitors are increasing, this is a clear indication that your messages are landing.
Google Analytics can help you to break down the sources of this traffic and therefore which messages are proving more effective in driving traffic and raising awareness.
Mentions are when your brand is mentioned in the media from a source that is not you or one of your partners.
Industry publications, social media channels & groups, forums or anywhere conversations are held around your industry are locations you can monitor.
There are countless software tools you can use to monitor such mentions on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis, which will help to quantify brand awareness efforts.
The more people sharing your brand messages, the greater reach advantage you have. Shares drives “earned” traffic and someone receiving a share from someone they trust, is far more valuable than if they were to receive a message through interruption marketing.
Monitoring the type of information or content being shared and on which platforms can help you to lean into or tailor more messages around what’s performing well.
This is one of the most obvious indications of brand awareness.
Different brands use different social media platforms.
Some brands perform better on Linkedin while others are more effective on Pinterest.
You will need to identify which platforms are worth your effort and attempt to quantify the value of your following.
Eg. A follower on Linkedin might be worth more to your brand than a follower on Instagram.
So, How Long Does It Take To Build Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness has different levels so although many ask this question; it’s probably not the most effective question.
You could have a wildly successful campaign and be on the lips of the worlds biggest industry influencers in a matter of days or you could be still trying to get to your first 100 followers after a few months.
If you don’t take the time to define your brand awareness campaign and marketing strategy approach effectively, then your brand awareness might never reach a level you aim for.
If on the other hand you go after exactly who your audience is, in exactly the right places with exactly the right messages, brand awareness will come quicker to your brand than most.
Brand Awareness Campaign Example
The Dollar Shave Club is one of my favourite brand awareness campaign case studies.
The founder of Dollar Shave Club, Michael Dublin was at a party in 2012 when his friend’s dad asked him for help in shifting 250,000 razor blades.
Dublin’s method of delivery for his video? YouTube
Before this now iconic video, no one knew who the Dollar Shave Club was.
Just 48 hours after the release of the video, they had generated 12,000 orders and enough traffic to crash their servers.
3 Months later, the video had clocked 4.75 million views.
The Dollar Shave Club came to the market with the right offer and the right message at the right time which earned them a cult following and an eventual takeover from Unilever for a whopping $1 billion dollars.
So… how long does it take to build brand awareness?
Get your brand strategy right and you could be surprised.
It’s an understandable question.
Brand owners want to know how long it’s going to take before their new brand starts to pay for itself.
But there is no black and white answer to this one but there are simple steps you can follow.
One: Take the time to understand your audience.
Two: Build your solution and offer around them.
Three: Create a messaging strategy to resonate
Four: Deliver those messages in the right place at the right time.
Track and measure your metrics overtime and double down on what gets the best results.
Do you have a great example of a brand awareness campaign?
What’s your biggest challenge in building awareness for your brand?
I’d love to know.. drop me a message in the comments Right Now!
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