A major hurdle for challenger brands is getting your name out there. When your product is new, and no one knows about it, it can be a challenge grow awareness amidst the millions of other brands competing with peoples’ attention each day. Building brand awareness takes patience. It isn’t something that happens overnight, but it’s something that you can control through your brand’s behaviors and the strategy that drives them.
Brand awareness is the percentage of people who have heard of your brand within a given universe. There are two primary types of brand awareness: prompted and unprompted awareness.
Prompted awareness, sometimes referred to as aided awareness, provides people with a list of brands from one category and asks them to select all of the brands they know. Often, when seeing the name of a brand, a memory of it will be triggered, so it provides an easier recall for people who may have only interacted with your brand a handful of times.
On the other hand, there is unprompted awareness. This is sometimes referred to as unaided awareness and asks people to name all of the brands they have heard of within a particular category in a more open-ended way. The higher your unprompted, or unaided awareness, the more forward you are in the minds of people and the more known your brand is.
Naturally, your prompted awareness will be higher than your unprompted awareness at the beginning. But as a growing challenger brand, your eyes should be set on growing that almighty unprompted awareness for the commercial gains it has been proven to drive.
Awareness has three primary commercial effects on brands:
Trial: The more people who have heard of your brand, the more likely they are to pick up and try your brand. Recognition at shelf when a brand is new to a category is a huge stimulant for trial. For this reason, category leaders – the ones with the highest awareness and market share – will use marketing efforts to promote their category over their brand. They know when they drive new customers into the category, their brand will be purchased because of the high awareness.
Earned Media: Brands with the highest awareness in each category tend to be the ones that people talk about. This is both in terms of consumer-to-consumer word of mouth and also earned PR coverage. The higher your brand awareness, the more likely that a major outlet will pick up that story of yours, listen or follow the decisions your brand is making, and provide you with a bit of a free boost.
Penetration: It has been proven that the higher your unprompted awareness, the higher percentage of households you’ll find your brand in. Penetration is one of many commercial objectives that challenger brands set for themselves. The more your brand grows its unprompted awareness, the more it’s becoming a household name. This leads to revenue and market share gain.
So now that you understand the importance of building brand awareness and what it can do for your brand, the next step is to understand how you do it. That’s done by building a solid brand strategy.
A brand strategy is a playbook for your brand. Think of it like a war plan. A compass. It is an opportunity for you and your team to force themselves to have a deep think about your brand, what it stands for, how it is better than the competition, and what it offers to people. Where is it now, and where do you want to take it?
Your brand strategy lays out your business objective (such as gaining market share, penetration, disrupting the category, etc.), as well as your marketing objective and your target audience. It looks introspectively at your brand’s proposition through to its distribution, and outwardly towards its creative communications approach and paid media execution plan. It is essential to visit and revisit at least once per year to maintain its currency.
To build your brand’s own brand strategy read our full guide here, or download our brand strategy building template here.
Unsurprisingly, brands with a more solid brand strategy will be more on the forefront of their awareness building power. When it comes to building your brand’s own awareness, there are 8 different things you should be focusing on.
Drive your own brand awareness by building a solid brand strategy