What Is Brand Recognition?
So, why is brand recognition important? No business wants to get lost in the crowd. Standing out and being recognized from among your competitors is the best way to keep an edge, no matter what sector you are in. Brand recognition is the art of being recognized and known for what you do. Building brand recognition is important because it directly correlates to sales, making it relevant to frequently ask ourselves what the best strategy is to build brand recognition.
While it’s not an exact science per se, you definitely want to find a strategy that fits your industry, distinguishes you from your competitors, and fits within your company ethos so you can maintain the right brand image well into the future. Although there may not be a specific answer on the best strategy to employ, let’s take a deep look at the essential components that make a brand recognizable.
What Is Branding?
Before your company can be recognized for its branding, you’d better have a brand to share. Branding is the names, visuals, phrases, and designs that make your company unique. This includes everything from logos to jingles to catchphrases, and most of the products we buy on a regular basis have built their branding into recognized household names. When someone says Nike, everyone can picture the logo (a swoosh) and the catchphrase: “Just do it.” McDonald’s conjures images of golden arches and a jingle that ends with “I’m lovin’ it.”
Building a brand can help unify your company’s external and internal image, and helps build brand recognition by creating more schema (little memory hooks) for customers to connect with. Branding is usually a person’s first experience with your company, as well as the longest lasting impression you’ll ever have an opportunity to make – at the end of the day, this will become the prominent way in which people affiliate their feelings with your brand.
Why Is It Important to Build Brand Recognition?
The definition of brand recognition is something that communicates what value your company’s products and services bring to consumers, along with consumer familiarity with those offerings – both positive and negative. Growing positive brand recognition is essential to gaining sales traction. Failing to build brand recognition means that your brand is not what comes to mind when people are looking to have their needs met by a product like yours, and if your brand doesn’t come to mind, someone else’s brand will.
Building positive brand recognition is vital – the odds are that if you think about where to get a sandwich for lunch, anyone can come up with a handful of places. However, the brand consumers will ultimately choose is the one which has made the most positive impression, simply because people associate this with the quality of the product.
The Major Components of Brand Recognition
Logos & Visual Cues
Developing a logo that represents your brand is the simplest way to leave an impression. This can be basic and straightforward like Shell Oil’s golden shell, or you can add subtle communications within the image like the arrow in the FedEx logo. Other examples of brand recognition as visual cues might include signage at physical locations, like Starbucks’ universally recognized siren.
Since people are narrative creatures, even simple questions like, “How was your day?” demand a story. A recognizable brand should be no different, but for a brand’s story to build brand recognition, the story needs to place your ideal client as the hero of the story. There is no better example than Macintosh – particularly, the narrative that Apple computer users were unique and creative compared to their IBM counterparts.
Audio & Physical Cues
Sound is a great way to make something more memorable and evoke an emotional response – whether it’s an ear worm like the Whopper song or a simple saying like, “We are Farmers”, it’s hard to forget a catchy jingle. Packaging may leave less of a memory mark, but it can reinforce your brand’s recognition. Product packaging can reflect company ethos (green and eco-friendly packaging is the obvious one), but cheap versus high-quality packaging can reflect on your brand quality as well.
Continuity & Flexibility
These two terms may seem contradictory, but maintaining brand flexibility allows you to take advantage of unique opportunities to maintain recognition (i.e. Strategic Brand Management). Google Doodle is a terrific example of brand flexibility, but if you try something similar, you don’t want to lose the essence of your brand image.
Best Practices for Building Brand Recognition
Invest in Aesthetic
Do not rush to find a logo or other branding material, and don’t simply look for the most affordable option. Branding is often a person’s first experience. The reality is people judge a book by its cover all the time. Make sure your brand evokes a level of quality that feels trustworthy.
Tell the Right Story
All great stories not only present a problem but also resolve them. The most recognizable brands present themselves as the means for someone to overcome an obstacle in their life. Brand recognition is not about brands becoming the hero, it’s about brands helping your customer become the hero in their own journey. Knowing this, you also need to know your brand – some brand stories succeed by presenting the outlandish and comical, while other brands require sincerity. You need to know where your brand falls on the spectrum before creating a story, and how to deliver that story most effectively.
Don’t neglect engaging with your customers and make sure to meet them where they already are. This is an important component of brand recognition because it makes it personal and consistent. This can range from regular social media posts to actively responding to customer reviews.
Strategies for Building Brand Recognition
This is the largest and most effective medium for connecting with people who are most likely to be interested in your brand. Building brand recognition through social media marketing requires consistency, quality, and intentionality to be successful. This approach will give you the most organic reach.
Social media is where you may choose to post some of your content (pictures, blogs, and announcements) but you will also want a static location for your content on your brand’s website. Just like social media posts drive organic reach, well crafted content on your site can drive organic search results.
Internet Ad Campaigns
Although organic connections might be ideal, a powerfully placed ad campaign (in social media or through a search engine) can still be very effective in building brand recognition.
Personal testimonials and support from influencers has a huge impact on brand recognition and customer engagement. This is a great opportunity to connect with an already engaged audience.
Depending on your brand and product, a physical presence or inviting people to online specials and events, is a great way to build brand awareness and recognition. You can combine this with any of the above strategies to grow engagement.
Examples of Brand Recognition in Practice
Brand recognition doesn’t always pan out to brand value, but it is a good indicator of successful and sustainable branding. Studying some brand recognition examples, you can find some common themes emerge. Netflix and Google are great big-name brands with high brand value that have even been turned into common verbs. Aside from having great products, part of what made each one successful was organic engagement and customer relations.
On the other hand, Patagonia has had long-lasting success because it focused on a niche market, understood their needs, and spoke their language – this was all pre-social media, but the sincerity and commitment to their values distinguished them from competitors. Both emphasized quality products but took the ethos of their brand seriously in every single outward and inward engagement.
How To Measure the Success of Brand Recognition Efforts
The internet era offers a variety of metrics and lots of big data to measure your brand recognition efforts. You can track various levels of engagement on most social media platforms, including unique views, active engagements, and how many people are clicking the links you use. You can also measure the success of paid ads using similar tools but are likely to have access to point-of-sale data as well.
You’ll be able to track basic demographics such as geography, age, and the genders of those most engaged with your brand. Don’t forget about traditional methods as well – you can do brand recall surveys and customer engagement/satisfaction campaigns as well.