You can have the best product in the world, but if no one ever knows about it, you won't sell a single unit. That's why it's so important to create awareness of your product. But how you do this depends on what product you're selling and if you need to make the public aware of your brand or that they even need a product like yours in the first place.
Increase Want and Need Awareness
Some products fill an obvious need that customers already know they have, so people marketing these products can immediately start working on building brand awareness. But some products may solve problems that customers don't realize they have or at least aren't aware that they need a solution for. In these situations, you need to start by increasing customer awareness about their wants and needs so you can step in and offer your product as a solution.
The first step in this process is to teach customers that they have a problem or need that they may not have been aware of. Emotional and logical appeals work best and don't immediately introduce your product but instead focus on the consumer and their problem. Next, educate the customer about how your product can effectively fix the problem or meet their needs without yet focusing on your brand. Only after you've shown how your product can help meet needs or solve a problem should you make a sales pitch to promote your product over the competition.
A good example of this is the probiotic industry. Two decades ago, only doctors knew about the importance of good bacteria and maintaining a good gut microbiome. Thanks to marketing by probiotic companies, particularly the yogurt brand Activia, the average consumer isn't only aware of the need for a healthy intestinal flora, they're even seeking out specific probiotics as well as prebiotics. Without public knowledge of gut flora, there would be practically no demand for probiotics, but once the public knew about the importance of bacteria, marketers stepped in to demonstrate why their probiotics are the best ones.
USP Brand Awareness Marketing
Even if your product fills an obvious need that customers are very aware of, if you launch a product in an industry filled with more famous competitors, you need to come up with a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). The benefits for some USPs are immediately obvious, such as a product that costs half that of its competitor's product but still performs just as well. But, if your product is better in a way that the consumer might not recognize or care about, then you need to follow a similar strategy to that of the need/want marketing previously discussed to educate the public as to why it even matters that your product is better than the competition.
Dyson, an Example of USP Marketing
A good example of USP brand awareness marketing can be seen in Dyson's original ads. While the brand may be a household name now, when they came out, everyone was more familiar with Hoovers and Orecks. If Dyson simply told people to buy their brand, they never would have sold because while existing vacuums weren't perfect, the public thought they worked well enough. Instead, Dyson reminded people that while their vacuums may seem good enough, they still regularly clogged and lost suction.
So, Dyson came up with a simple ad; it had a picture of the Dyson vacuum and the slogan "Others clog, ours don't," and in smaller font, it promised, "No clogging. No loss of suction. Dyson."
The three aspects of need/want marketing are introducing a problem, educating on how to fix the problem and introducing your brand. While you don't want to combine the three when introducing a new problem, the rules are a little more flexible when introducing a USP, and Dyson introduced the problem and their brand here. Once Dyson got the idea of clogging and suction loss being a problem into the minds of consumers, the company's later ads focused on their technology, offering more education on how their unique design fixed the problem by preventing clogs and lost suction.
How to Spread Your Message: SEO
Regardless of if you need to raise awareness of a common problem or need, promote your USP or even just introduce your product that fills a consumer need that no other product fills, you still need a way to get this information to the masses. After all, you can't just make something and expect people to find out about it on their own without making any effort to create consumer awareness.
That's why you should build a website with plenty of information about your product and sufficient keyword density to help you show up in search engines for the phrases you want to promote. Follow up with active accounts on multiple social media networks to provide you with free opportunities for marketing your product — and be sure to check the messages regularly in case a customer tries to contact you through these sites.
How to Spread Your Message: Choose a Marketing Method
Next, decide on the right marketing method for your brand. You could give free products to reviewers or influencers with the hope of building good word of mouth marketing based on the quality of your product. You might consider running a traditional ad campaign in magazines, on television, on the radio, in newspapers or online. You might sponsor an event related to your product or one that's frequented by your target audience. Or, you could offer free samples to consumers and hope this inspires them to buy products and tell their friends.
You might also try referral marketing programs where other people advertise your product for you in exchange for a cut of the profits. Or you could establish partnerships with companies in a similar but not competing area of business so you can help promote each other's companies. For example, a local brewery could sell a local cafe's sweets at their brewery and the bakery could sell the brewery's beer. You may also host a contest that could attract a lot of attention to your brand, particularly if you have a unique or exciting prize. You might also hire a spokesperson, such as a celebrity or an influencer, to give your brand some cultural recognition.
Building a Brand Identity
Sometimes it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. In these cases, it can be helpful to create a unique brand identity. While this strategy isn't for everyone (you probably don't associate any particular personality traits with Ritz crackers or Dyson), it can help make some brands popular. Some brand awareness examples of companies that have used this strategy include Old Spice, with its goofy over-the-top commercials, and Skittles and Wendy's, who have used Twitter to create popular, often sassy brand personalities.
While it's a bit risky and certainly doesn't work for everyone, some companies even find success by courting controversy. When employing this strategy, it's important to choose an issue that the majority of your customers will probably agree with or you may end up alienating a large portion of people who might otherwise buy your product. On the other hand, those who support your cause may flock to your company. An example would be when Victoria's Secret hired a transgender model or when a restaurant in Washington D.C. refuses service to particular politicians.