It’s More Than a Feeling
Are brand awareness and brand recognition the same? Definitely not — and understanding the distinction will help you in your brand marketing efforts. Loosely described, brand awareness is composed of the sights and sounds a brand makes, or the cues which make a target developer audience aware of the existence of a brand, without necessarily knowing or understanding what it stands for. Brand awareness is the cost of entry into the market, and it supersedes brand recognition.
Brand recognition follows awareness. When you’ve reached brand recognition, your target developer audience knows exactly what the brand stands for. Effective brand recognition means the developer audience understands the products and services you offer. Even more importantly, they understand the value the brand delivers.
The distinction between brand recognition and brand awareness is relative to the lifecycle stage of your brand. Are you just starting out, or is your brand established? The answer to this question will influence your awareness-building approach. Whatever your motive, the best way to build awareness or recognition is through advertising.
Search advertising helps build brand awareness because it creates a connection between products and brands when developers search for a product or function when your ad magically appears. Display advertising, as another option, offers a little more opportunity for building awareness, because it appears in a context that reinforces the relationship between the product and the developer audience. An example of effective display advertising for developers would be an ad for a software tool in a developer newsletter.
Reasons Why Building Awareness Is Important
Your brand awareness efforts should be deliberate, methodical, and evergreen. Essentially, you should always fund an awareness campaign. Your brand is a seed that must be nurtured over time so the brand can grow.
A long-term approach is most effective because:
- Brands are equity. A brand’s value is equal to the level of trust placed in it by the developer through their experience with the brand.
- As awareness of your brand grows, and developers understand the quality, service, and value it provides, you earn leverage. That leverage gives you pricing power and lets you attach positive reactions to any additional products you launch. People pay more for highly recognized branded products because of the aura surrounding the brand, and not just specific products.
- Recognition of the specific elements of your brand provides competitive differentiation. You have the power to create preference for your brand. Without that recognition, your brand cannot grow.
Promoting Brand Awareness
Your brand awareness strategy must be designed to be unique, so you’ll stand out from the competition. (That’s the sights and sounds of your brand that were discussed earlier.)
Here are some opportunities to create uniqueness in branding:
- Sights: Make your brand vibrant and visible. If you have an established brand and it feels dull, look at your supporting graphics to see if you can raise your visibility.
- Sounds: Harley Davidson patented the unique sound of their engine as part of their branding strategy. There are a lot of sounds available both inside and outside a computer — can you find something unique and make it yours as part of your product or service?
- Placement and frequency: Look for channels that resonate with your developer audience. These include social sites, developer communities, newsletters, and videos. Match the channel to your audience to build awareness. Don’t forget to post and share frequently. Building awareness for your brand means marketing the brand at every opportunity. Frequency matters.
How To Measure Brand Awareness
Short of directly asking people about your brand, there is no metric directly attributable to brand awareness. So, should you invest in brand-building efforts if you can’t get a hard and fast return on investment? The answer is that without building brand awareness, you cannot differentiate yourself from your competitors, and you won’t grow your share of the market. You can attribute things like increased site visits or clicks to your awareness campaigns, but the real measure is in market share growth. Brands do not scale by themselves. They need investment.
BYOB (Build Your Own Brand)
Here are a few questions to help you decide if you should be investing more in your brand awareness strategy:
- Would a sample population of your target developer audience recognize your brand, its products, and its value proposition?
- Given the choice of your brand or your competitors’, which would your target developer audience recognize and prefer?
- Are you happy with your market share?
As you pause and reflect on your answers to these questions, consider that improving brand awareness is actually easy. So easy that your challenge is finding the most effective means of spreading the word. Maybe you can use some help.
Efficient brand building is achieved by matching your branding efforts to areas where your developer audience lives or looks for information. Want to learn more about options for building awareness for your brand? Connect with the team at DeveloperMedia for insights into how you can elevate your brand in the developer community and Build Your Brand!
HubSpot Guide to Brand Awareness
Harley Davidson Sound Patent
Forbes – What Is The Difference Between Brand Awareness And Brand Recognition?
SurveyMonkey – How to Measure Brand Awareness