How to Build Brand Awareness and Loyalty

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You can have a great idea, the funds to execute that idea and the people to help you bring it to life, but without a brand, you have nothing.

Branding is the bread and butter of any business, and the ultimate key to its success. Simply put , it is the ability to clearly differentiate your products and services from others. A brand is the core of a company’s life. It can be used in any industry or category. There are many elements that go into making a great brand. It is very similar to a person in that it has distinctive and defining characteristics that position the brand for a desired market. It helps to define a business and add character to appeal to that market.

Take Oreo cookies, as an example. Instead of marketing itself as creme sandwich cookie maker, the company takes its product to the next level. The company’s tagline “Twist lick, dunk” was used to market the product as a way to have a complete snacking experience. The resulting power of the brand helped separate Oreo from other cookies — a layer of character and likeability that appealed directly to its target market, which has helped make it consistently successful for more than 110 years. Oreo without the brand would be just another snack label.

Branding is also broad and complex: There are many components needed to build one, even before promotion and advertising, including asking the following: How do you know who you are advertising to, how do you know what you are advertising, and how do you know when it’s time to rebrand and reposition?

Related: 3 Examples of How to Build a Strong Brand Community

What is Brand Equity?

Brand equity is a foundational element in branding. It is the total value of a brand that is based on expectations and associations. This equity is determined by name recognition, loyalty, perceived quality, and actual associations.

Brand awareness is, of course, critical, and falls into two categories: recognition and recall. The first refers to recalling past exposure (e.g., hearing a jingle that instantly recognizes the company it belongs too), while the second is about what product comes to your mind when you discuss a category (e.g., a brand you envision when you think about insurance, or toilet paper). This will vary depending on the person’s location and their lifestyle.

What is more important: recognition or recall? It depends on each company’s goals and objectives.

Brand loyalty shows how loyal a customer is to a brand. Some consumers won’t buy a particular brand while others may be comparing brands and might not choose one. Others might choose the lowest-priced option, while others may stick with it. There are also those who just buy because they do. There are loyal, committed customers who will continue to purchase your product. There are proven ways to increase this loyalty, such as frequent buyer programs or incentives. It’s interesting to see how people will only fly with one airline, captivated by the loyalty points they accumulate.

Related: 5 Ways to Build Highly Valuable Brand Loyalty

A consumer’s perception of quality refers to the value they associate a brand with, no matter how good or poor it may be. Perception is everything. Brands can differentiate themselves from their competitors by doing what is necessary to be different. This allows them to show that they are better. Specialization and/or exclusivity can also lead to higher perceptions of quality. Influencer marketing, for example, can have a positive effect on perceived quality. It all comes down to the perception of the brand by the consumer and its overall image.

The last component of brand equity is actual associations. This could be any thing a consumer associates with it, such as a spokesperson, a logo or even a tagline — anything that makes the consumer think of a particular company.

A company can begin to evaluate its position in a product category and its uniqueness by being aware of all these elements. Understanding one’s value can help you understand your target market and how to reach them.

Related: ‘Brand Equity’ Is an Intangible That’s Worth Real Money

The first step in building a brand is to understand the brand equity of the business. This equity can provide insights that can help narrow down a target audience and determine if a brand needs growth or repositioning.

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