How to Build Brand Awareness for the Holidays

August 12, 2019 Giulianno Lopez

Much like having a crush that sees right through you, marketing and selling a product to customers that haven’t even heard of you can be frustrating, to say the least. Whether it’s your personal or professional life, these issues stem from the same root: lack of brand awareness. This area of focus is something that’s on the minds of so many marketers. According to a recent study by eMarketer, 37% of senior digital marketing experts surveyed called brand awareness their primary goal for this year—easily becoming the top choice.

The basics of brand awareness

Now, what is brand awareness exactly? These types of campaigns are all about getting audiences familiar with your brand. Typically launched during the early stages of a business or when introducing a new product, brand awareness campaigns should address a major pain in your general vertical. They go beyond your ideal customer profiles (ICPs) just knowing you exist. Customers need to know about you: what you stand for, what your logo and marketing materials look like, and what you have to offer.

Contrary to popular belief, brand awareness isn’t just about exposing potential customers to your brand as many times as possible; it’s about communicating your brand’s values, personality, and unique mission. In fact, another study from eMarketer showed 64% of shoppers cited values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a particular brand, and 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from brands they’re already familiar with. On top of that, marketers spend over 70% of their budgets on prospecting and converting new users. To make a long story short, brand awareness should be a top priority for your brand, especially for the holiday season. 

Below are five brand awareness tips and tricks to ensure your holiday marketing initiatives and campaigns drive the most impact:

1. Get a holistic view of your customers

Brand awareness efforts should be tied to a long-term investment in customer lifetime value (LTV) as well as a decrease in ongoing customer acquisition costs (CAC). So how do you do this efficiently? This starts with the activation of your data and building a holistic view of your customer so you know what’s working, what isn’t, and how you can iterate and optimize accordingly.

But how do you get your data organized to pursue brand awareness efforts? Programmatic agency MightyHive found that marketers on average were only tapping into 47% of their company’s first-party data potential, and Sizmek found that 85% of brand marketers want to increase the use of their first-party data.

The rise of walled gardens complicates this a bit further: marketers are dependent on these platforms in order to get their name out there, but they may not be your final sources of truth. Instead, opt for solutions that enable you to combine your plethora of first-party data with second- and third-party data sources so you can actually see what’s influencing traffic across all your marketing channels. You not only get to build a view of your customer but also build a direct relationship with them in the process—building customer lifetime value as well.

2. Know how to measure it

Every business, no matter the size of their resources or team, has definitive goals and as a result, need metrics to help measure them. With there being, on average, 56 touchpoints for each sale, it’s more important to keep a close eye on the right metrics. Here are three ways you can measure your brand awareness campaigns:

· Video Ad Views - The number of times that a video was viewed within a given timeframe. These timeframes vary from channel to channel—so be sure to check.

· Impressions - The number of times an ad has been served to your audience, whether they are a unique/repeat audience or not.

· Reach / Unique Users - The total number of times your ad is displayed, no matter if it has been clicked or not.

The key here is unique. It’s not every single time your ad was displayed or a post was seen; it’s the number of times your ad was seen by a new and unique person. The idea here is the more people your ad reach, the more people are aware of your brand and your offer. Reach can also help you figure out whether there’s something wrong with your ads. If your ads have reached a lot of people, but you haven’t seen a single conversion—this would be a good time to revisit your creative or messaging.

On the other hand, if your content has a broad reach, this means it’s successfully making its way to new users, meaning a higher chance to be shared and engaged with.

3. Send email love letters

Staying top-of-mind means slipping your ICP the occasional note. And thanks to channels like email, you don’t even need to know their locker number. With email retargeting, a tracking cookie your website visitors picked up is matched to their email address. This allows you to send them deals and offers based on the products they’ve viewed—or even added to their cart and abandoned. 

But don’t just stop at product-specific emails. Remember, this is about brand awareness. Use every touchpoint with your consumers to reinvest in your brand. That can mean sending them values-based announcements, like a charity drive you’re participating in, or it can be something as simple as making sure that your tone and voice comes through in every email you send.

Here are a few tips to incorporate when creating email content for your holiday campaigns:

· Solve problems and add value if you’re simply trying to educate and inform readers. Your copy must provide them with real, actionable value so that they come to see your brand as a respected resource, and you can develop a relationship of trust.

· Respect your reader and stay away from the hard sell. Remember, you’re focusing on solving someone else’s problem, not promoting a product or service for personal gain.

· Get at the why behind the product. However, if your content focuses on addressing the challenges your product solves, you can create a broader narrative about why people should use your products and services.

· Provoke an immediate reaction. This copy needs to generate an immediate demand to get people to take a specific action.
     · Time-sensitive ask (e.g., webinar tomorrow, first 500 signups win)
     · Don’t miss out (e.g., 80% of marketers are changing their attribution models)
     · Get better results (e.g., Automated campaigns see 26% higher click-through rates)
     · Your account needs attention (e.g., Your ads need a refresh immediately) 

4. Hashtag for the holidays

The key to leveraging your brand awareness is to always be in front of your customers. If they’re on social platforms, you can use hashtags to pop up in their feeds. Use this existing brand awareness to boost your holiday campaigns on social channels with targeted hashtag usage. For maximum effect, make it memorable and make it you—it has to resonate with your brand voice and with your customers’ expectations.

To get some extra #bangforyourbuck, you can incorporate a sweepstake or other contest. Sun-Maid Raisins used one to great effect with the #12DaysofSunmaid campaign. Tying a giveaway to your brand during the holidays can engage your existing fans, but also spread the message of who you are and what you stand for beyond your existing audience.

Consumer awareness of your company is one of the most powerful tools in the brand-building toolbox. This goodwill can turn “meh” growth into hockey-stick growth. And when you combine it with the sales boost of the holidays, it can kickstart your growth even higher.

5. Be authentically you

You know what kind of brand you want to be, but do your customers? Consumers need to know what you stand for, or you're never going to rise above the noise from your competitors.

What this means for brands is taking the initiative and making your values clear, even if they’re polarizing. In fact, seven out of 10 millennials consider company values when making purchases. If you support a cause, whether social, environmental, political, or anything else, leverage that in your marketing. Don’t let the potential of alienating some customers cause you to you miss an opportunity to former a closer connection with your target audience.

For brands that don't quite have that level of recognition with their customers, it’s time to build brand awareness to capture hearts and wallets.

Download our 2019 Holiday Seasonality Calendar to help you map out your upcoming holiday campaign and power through the Q4 madness.

About the Author

Giulianno Lopez

Giulianno Lopez, Content Marketing Manager, AdRoll

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