ColdAd doesn’t exist
That is to say, it doesn’t exist in a traditional way and in the traditional places. We don’t create brand awareness by advertising on TV (last century’s medium). Nor does ColdAd generate brand awareness by cold calling businesses. This is, by the way, the origin of the name ColdAd.
And yet, for some reason, you are aware of our brand. How is that? You think that’s air you’re breathing?
We exist entirely on the Internet. Of course, this is what we sell, and this is the domain in which we need to prosper. So under the old adage that suggests the content dictate the form, it is only natural that our brand awareness campaign would lodge itself here.
There are many companies who desperately need to do the same thing. Many companies joined the digital revolution in full flush and fervour, but then left it to last century’s techies to maintain their presence. But in this ever-shifting multi-verse of Google algorhythms and the ever-enhancing methods of getting found on social media, you need to take stock of what your digital campaign is doing.
And it can do so much more than before.
Brand awareness begins with presence
Much is said about “Mind Share.” But what is it?
As ever, the advertising world relies on two major things:
- The desire (manufactured or real) for a product or service.
- Brand awareness for the desired product or service.
They used to say, “we don’t sell the drill — we sell the hole.” What this means is that advertising focuses on the need, rather than the product. So the goal is to have a campaign that aligns a company’s product / service with the unfulfilled need.
This is even more true on the Internet. More than ever before, customers are talking to each other and to companies. More than ever, customers are conscious and complicit in a brand awareness methodology. In fact, they revel in it.
Customers perceive themselves having more power because of the Internet. They can quickly scan and assess any desired product. They want to get a good “feeling” and buy into a brand before they buy from it.
Customers want to get a “feeling” from a brand.
Websites that offer clean and simple navigational experiences are preferred.
Brand awareness moves into the 21st century
Gone are the days when advertisers sent out messages to an unknown public (direct marketing: junk mail, cold calls, etc.) Throwing, as it were, darts into the darkness.
Now those customers, or targets, are coming straight towards a company rather than the other way around. What can we do with them, (i.e.: followers, “likers”, subscribers, brand awareness participants), is the new question?
You must have “mind share.” You must be present at any moment a potential customer / lead has a question, has a problem, has a need. And the sooner you can answer, assuage, console, respond to a lead’s need, the sooner you’re going to convert them to a customer.
What are the needs of your potential revenue generating customers? If you have an appropriate level of brand awareness and acceptance, the answer is easy.
Don’t be fooled by the Internet
Just because you have the power to use every channel available to you, doesn’t mean that you need to. Because ColdAd is entrenched in the teaching, tutoring, mentoring, describing and working within the Internet, it only stands to reason that we should be found across the board. From Twitter to LinkedIn. Pinterest even.
Not every business exists this way. To create awareness, you first need to be aware of your brand.
- What are the various products and services you offer?
- What does your sales team require to generate sales?
- Who has the power of decision making in your organization?
- When is the best time to reach your customers?
Five brand awareness steps to consider
Step 1: Determine your short and your long-term goals
Brand awareness depends on either managing existing contacts, or creating new ones. It can also mean simply creating a fond feeling and “mind share” in a search engine audience. Consider all these things immediately. If you simply want a short-term, tactical campaign, consider a giveaway or special offer to create a stir. We used a practical and brand-relevant gift to create a Social Media-driven contest for the simple purpose of generating social media clients / hits. And it worked.
If you’re looking at long-term solutions, consider adding yourself to as many discussions that exist on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Add any pertinent information that you can to that discussion. Create blogs that answer questions that arise from that social media chatter.
In the long run, your presence will grow; your legitimacy will grow and hence, so will your share of brand awareness.
If you’re looking at long-term solutions, consider adding yourself to as many discussions that exist. Try to be an authority in your industry.
Step 2: Create better content
If I haven’t said this enough: content is key. With each word you use, you are creating a resumé and legitimizing your brand. Even grammar and spelling count, kids. In researching this blog, I went through at least a dozen other blogs from respected sites and writers. I found at least 3 errors a page. Which on the surface can seem like nothing, but consider the long-term feelings associated with your brand. (Side note: please tell me of any errors you find in my blogs, cause I’m not a perfectionist.)
But regarding content: be specific, be detailed. Give away a glimpse at a trade secret. Reveal that there is a hidden wealth of knowledge just waiting to emerge. If only your target audience were to click through and give their much-valued email address. Remember, you now need full opt-in permission before you can send any communication over the Internet.
Content should be funny, fun and informative. Business casual. Consider rich media links.
- Can you create anything interactive?
- Can you be more specific to the brand you’re selling?
- E.g.: Is there a more brand-awareness-relevant term for “Contact Us” that suits your product?
Re-think the colour scheme and look of your website. Black backgrounds are for 1990s comic book store sites. Your design and aesthetic approach is also part of brand awareness. What is your colour scheme? Why is Facebook blue? Why is TD Bank green? (I believe they even patented their green just like how Cadbury’s patented their kind of purple). Why is Canadian Tire red?
Step 3: Develop a system of metrics and brand awareness KPI
As written about previously, it’s important to measure the success of your campaign. But how can you ask the Internet to tell you its response to a campaign? How can you tell if and what your public is thinking about your brand?
You can’t. But you can determine Key Performance Indicators (KPI) based upon the habits and activities of those online.
- How many people are coming from social media sites to your website?
- And from which social media sites?
- Which of your tweets perform the best?
- Which of your blogs get the most attention?
- Which of your web pages keep the visitor’s attention?
- What is the success of your online email capture forms?
- What are each month’s main keyword searches for your brand?
Cut or alter the ideas that don’t work. Add new ideas. Re-write content. Create SEO pages for the keywords that are newly relevant based on up-to-date research.
I also recently responded to a question on a blog to say that HootSuite is great program to ‘listen’ to social media chatter. So I’m mentioning it here, too.
Step 4: Budget for the long term
What is your ROI (Return On Investment)? How much did you budget for advertising / brand awareness? How much are you making from your campaign? Again, having a metrics-based analysis is generally a good idea. You can figure out how many products were sold to which visitors to your site. And then figure out what the long-term ROI is for each visit.
The point is, to be aware and show your success.
With each rise of your ROI, you may wish to increase the budget for your Pay-Per-Click / Banner advertising. As your brand awareness grows, you may be able to compete in the larger marketplace and take on the companies who presently control the main “mind share” or brand awareness for a particular service.
Step 5: Pay attention to your audience
As your campaign ages, your audience will age as well. Keep up to date with what your customers are talking about. Keep listening on all the social media portals. (Again, I mention HootSuite as the tool of the day). If something happens in your industry that affects the public perception of that industry, you must acknowledge and care about it.
Simply putting up a website and a list of your demands / beliefs doesn’t show the world that you are actively participating in the discussion of things that matter to your customers.
Consider Walmart and the way they have created a brand awareness campaign around of their perceived activities at home and abroad. They are perpetually trying to revise the perception that they are a faceless corporation by creating images of “ordinary” Walmart people. Why? Because their customers, while simply trying to find the best prices, also identify themselves with the identity of Walmart. And no one wants to think of themselves as faceless. Brand awareness is a two-way street.
How you present yourself to your public is endemically linked to how they perceive themselves. This is why advertisers target their audience 20 years below the actual age of their audience. A customer buying an Audi perceives himself or herself as a younger person. They are buying a product to make them feel younger.
So if you’ve paid attention to your audience, you’ll know how to structure your language, your blogs, your twitter comments, your FAQ pages and your link-back sites. You’ll know where else your audience is going to get information.
Your brand awareness campaign evolves organically between you and your visitors / leads.
How do you prefer to run a campaign?