Traditional advertising placed brand recognition at a premium. Digital marketing has expanded the possible goals of ads in today's commercial landscape, building direct channels for conversions and offering a myriad of other benefits that can be used to build a case for ROI.
But the value of brand awareness itself is just as important as ever — it's why a company like Apple doesn't even have to put its name on its billboards to effectively advertise a product. Consumers see the ad content and understand where it's coming from. Not every company can have such influential awareness at their disposal, but any brand can use consumer recognition as a measure of their success within a specific market.
The first step is testing that brand awareness, and there are several effective ways to figure that out.
Try a Good, Old-Fashioned Survey
Surveys are a throwback to pre-digital ways of measuring brand awareness, but they're still very effective as a basic barometer for recognition. You can run them across several channels, such as by email or over the phone. Surveys can also take several approaches to building a body of respondents. For example, they could aim to evaluate brand recognition among existing customers or attempt to randomly sample consumers within a local market.
By running these basic surveys, companies can get a general idea of how their brand is being discovered and how effectively it is reaching its target audience.
Build out a Digital Local Strategy
Location-based targeting and marketing options make it very easy to focus brand awareness campaigns within a certain geographic area or consumer demographics. In some cases, brands can improve their local recognition just by building out their presence online. Updating Google Business listings, adding the company to various online directories, inserting location information into social media accounts and encouraging online reviews from existing customers are all great ways of doing this.
When you make these upgrades, though, it's critical to measure the results of these actions, which serve as a test for your local marketing and recognition efforts. You'll want to know the results of various online changes to assess the value of future actions.
Embrace Social Listening
Social listening leverages the information available through social media platforms, and it's incredibly useful as a supplement to traditional survey methods. Unlike surveys, social listening can eliminate problems of response bias, and it ensures that feedback is gathered randomly and without discrimination. More importantly, social listening measures your presence within the social space, which has become a critical area of brand recognition marketing efforts.
Social listening tools are needed to effectively monitor and evaluate social conversations, but the insights are incredibly valuable.
Track Your Website Traffic Sources
If you have a lot of business conducted through your website, Brandwatch recommends evaluating the sources of your website traffic. In general, direct referrals are strong indicators of brand recognition, since a consumer had to physically type your URL into the browser. But social referrals can also indicate a strong presence on social media. Monitor these ebbs and flows over time to understand how your brand awareness changes.
Building brand recognition is sometimes as much art as it is science, but companies will reap the benefits for years if they can manage to build a strong presence in the minds of consumers.