Whether your company is already considered the cream of the crop, or if you dream of getting to the #1 spot, increasing your brand’s awareness is one of the best ways to make sure that you become – or stay – head and shoulders above the competition.
Experts agree that the trick to increasing visibility is to make your business global. Doing so may seem risky, or even frightening. With a sound strategy, however, you can significantly improve your return on investment (ROI) and pave a clear road to corporate success. Large companies, such as Lenovo and IBM, have reported that their ROI increased over 50% when their brand name went global – netting them billions more in revenue.
How can you lead your business in that direction? Start by developing a plan with three central components: quality, innovation, and creativity. Over 90% of customers surveyed listed those three factors as the most important considerations they made when purchasing, and continuing to purchase, products from certain companies over those of their competitors.
Make Personal Connections
In addition to being purchasers of your goods and services, your clients are people too. They’ll respond positively or negatively to certain stimuli, and that’s not something to overlook when planning your communications. Customers want to feel valued and are more likely to purchase products from companies they trust, and the seed of that trust is a personal connection.
What keeps your repeat customers coming back, and how can you attract new clients? Contrary to what you may believe, it is not just a matter of luck.
The most successful companies have a business strategy that includes a short- and long-term plan, along with a clear, focused message and targeted customer base. That requires doing some research into local populations – cultures, trends, and demographics. Then, tailor your message to your market to make strong emotional connections.
Check out Kmart’s #ShipMyPants ad campaign for an example of how to use a sharp message to attract a specific audience. The humor in this commercial may have been off-putting to some viewers, but along with making waves, it made the once-bankrupt store some brand new fans.
Stepping Stones to Success
Don’t immediately switch to international thinking; instead, start with baby steps. The thought of going global can be frightening, but if your company already has a good local presence, you have the foundation you need to start scaling. Many small businesses make a strong local name for themselves the good old-fashioned way: a physical office, a friendly customer service and support center, and personal relationships with customers.
In today’s digitized world, a bit of friendliness goes a long way so it doesn’t hurt to uphold those traditional business methods. The value of face-to-face interactions – or screen-to-screen interactions, in the case of live online support – is still a powerful and effective way to gain credibility and attention for your company’s name. Simply move from providing that winning service in person to also providing it online – on Facebook, Twitter, etc. – and your business will go global before you know it.
Most of your customers are linked to social networking communities and have a wealth of digital connections. In other words, they give you access to their friends, family, coworkers – and even that friend they had in the 8th grade – and those people are all your company’s future fans, waiting to hear about what you have to offer.
Asking your current customers to participate in surveys, polls, online chats, and other methods of providing feedback will help spread your company’s name. Specifically speaking, it will increase your SEO/SEM rankings, which is one of the most important methods for increasing sales overseas. With a little bit of planning and a sound strategy, you can easily build on small achievements to increase your capital on a larger scale and go viral.
Increasing Awareness Increases ROI
Brand awareness is critical for business success. Whether you are a small company or an internationally renowned firm, a sound marketing strategy must be in place to ensure you stay at the forefront of customers’ minds – and the top of their shopping list. Making the most of the tools at hand, especially social media and the web, will help more of your target market understand just how perfect your product or service is for them.
But, how aware of your brand are people in the first place? There are a lot of ways to answer that question, including number of times your brand is mentioned by users on Twitter, how often your brand name is brought up in relevant online conversations, and whether or not your brand is being referred over your competitors. Of course, it also helps to know if people are sharing your company’s content, like pictures and blog posts, or if they’re searching directly for your product.
Brand Awareness Tools
That’s a whole lot of online activity to track! How can you possibly monitor every corner of the internet at once? There are a lot of tools to measure brand awareness, including Google Analytics and SocialMention.com. And, you can really take the reins with Google AdWords, which directly encourages visitors to interact with and learn about your company.
This popular advertising tool doesn’t simply put your pitch on the side of the road for anyone who drives by; you can pick specific placement spots and target audiences to get the biggest bang for your buck. On top of that, AdWords collects data to form a clear picture of your brand’s response rate. The more information you have in the online marketplace, the more prepared your brand is to be seen and heard.
Ujjaval Parikh is the founder of Integration Yantra, a digital marketing expert that specializes in web management and analytics, business communications, and online branding. With a unique background in computer science, finance, and PR, he loves to develop customized solutions to help companies attract clients and promote long-term growth.