Brand awareness is the first step in growing market share for a CPG brand. When consumers are aware of a brand, they’re more likely to give it a try and possibly become a regular user. However, gaining this brand awareness is a challenge as a crowded marketplace has been a CPG industry trend in recent years—and will continue into 2018.
An effective brand awareness marketing strategy is not simply one that reaches your target audience but also one that has the potential to convert that new audience into active customers. There is still an abundance of opportunities to reach out to consumers despite growing competition in the sector, whether it be at brick and mortar locations, through social media, on television, or via radio advertisements.
While the strategies available to CPG brands looking to grow awareness are numerous, the effectiveness of each option varies greatly. To gain a greater ROI from your brand awareness marketing strategy, you need to be able to connect with consumers in a way that makes your brand memorable. Many established companies have already successfully managed this—and you can use their examples to guide and educate your own growth efforts.
Online Brand Awareness Strategies That Offer Strong ROIs
When building brand awareness for a CPG brand, you need to consider the goal of your target audience when they begin a search that will eventually lead them to your product. Consumers don’t always begin an online search with the intention of buying a specific product. Commonly, they are searching for information, a story, or simply to be entertained. Here are a few ways that successful brands have used online strategies to grow brand awareness:
- Coca-Cola and connecting through icons: Many people have heard the rumor that Santa’s red outfit actually came from a Coke campaign. While not exactly the whole truth, there is a grain of reality to it, as the Santa we see today is heavily influenced by Coke’s marketing campaigns from the 1920s that depicted a very realistic Santa. By connecting their brand to an iconic figure, Coke was able to significantly increase their brand awareness. That awareness reached a point where some would say that Coke also managed to increase Santa’s brand awareness—at least the US version of him. Essentially, Coke managed to connect their product with a beloved figure, which transferred some of the adoration for that figure to their product.
- Dollar Shave Club and shock value: In 2012, the Dollar Shave Club rolled out of the gate with a viral marketing video that gained a lot of attention on a crowded platform. The video showed surreal images and came with the tagline, “Our Blades Are F**king Great.” The shock value of the video helped it gain 4.75 million views, with many of those coming from social media shares. The clear irreverence of the campaign gave the company an ‘everyman’ feel that consumers were quick to connect with and remember. Keep in mind: shock value doesn’t always prove successful as it can alienate some would-be customers. Ultimately, this is a decision you need to consider with your target audience in mind. Will the users it brings in develop a strong enough connection to make up for the ones that may be permanently turned off? For Dollar Shave Club, the answer was yes, as their target demographic of younger, blue-collar men, were more likely to be amused, rather than offended by the strategy.
- Pedigree and building an emotional connection: In 2015, Pedigree rolled out its “First Days Out” campaign. The campaign featured the stories of two recently released convicts and shared how their dogs helped them reconnect with a society that had changed significantly in the time they were in prison. While it was a bold choice, as many would not consider convicts the ideal brand ambassadors, it targeted individuals with a strong belief in second chances. Specifically, it targeted an audience of dog owners who would choose to adopt a dog from an animal shelter, rather than buying one at the pet store, connecting that whole ‘second chances’ theme. The tagline “You save a dog. A dog saves you” was one that resonated with those dog lovers. The four-minute video gained a lot of attention for the brand and helped them connect with consumers in a memorable way.
All three of these brands used unique ways to connect with consumers as market share growth strategies. Either by partnering with icons they loved, creating a shocking moment, or tugging at consumers’ heartstrings, they were able to solidify their brand in front of a new audience. This is something that any brand is capable of achieving—and can be adapted to work with today’s digital platforms.
Adapting Your Brand Awareness Marketing Strategy to Maximize Your ROI
While the brands from the above examples focused on large campaigns, brands can also do all of the above on a smaller scale and achieve similar positive ROI results. Every measure that gets your brand in front of a new audience can offer a valuable opportunity. Simply by breaking down the larger campaigns into smaller components, we can see how this is done:
- Partnerships: Your brand doesn’t need to integrate well-known icons into every commercial. Instead, you can leverage smaller partnerships to cross-market your products. This can be via partnerships with an online personality, or even with another, complementary CPG company. Shopping apps work to increase brand awareness as they expose your brand to an entirely new and actively engaged audience.
- Anti-advertising: One of the reasons that the Dollar Shave Club video was so unique was that it allowed the brand to gain consumer attention through something other than outright product advertising. The video was played for laughs and, because of that, it drove viewers to want to watch—and share—it. Your brand can adapt this strategy by offering information or stories to consumers in a way that’s intriguing and memorable.
- Personalization: The Pedigree commercial was memorable because it connected specifically with pet owners. Your brand can do this by finding a way to personalize communications based on who you’re reaching out to—or even when you’re reaching out. Consider the case of shopping apps again, only this time in regards to leveraging geolocation technology. If a consumer is in a store aisle looking for a whitening toothpaste, they may receive an advertisement for a specific brand of this or a complementary product. This is contextually relevant because the person is in a shopping environment, and are then offered incentives to either visit a store or interact with a specific product, driving awareness of your brand.
You don’t need a massive marketing campaign when using the strategies of other successful brands for building brand awareness. You simply need to be able to leverage the partnerships available to you to create a compelling message in the right moment. Shopping apps offer just such an opportunity. In partnering with an engaging third-party app to deliver your message to new and current target audiences, you can create a brand awareness marketing strategy that also ushers them through the sales funnel—ensuring your campaign delivers a positive ROI.
Image courtesy Gajus