Marketing & Branding

Branding All Year Long: 5 Super-Smart Ways To Build Brand Awareness

5-Super-Smart-Ways-To-Build-Brand-AwarenessWhen you’re thirsty, do you reach for a Coke or a soda? When you sneeze, do you need a Kleenex or a tissue? When you need information, do you Google or search?

If you find yourself using the brand names for the every-day products and services in our lives, you’re not alone. In the article “18 Sneaky Ways To Build Brand Awareness,” Megan Marrs explains that these terms are known as proprietary eponyms, and they’re the apex of brand awareness. “These brands have become so well-known, they’ve replaced the generic terms for similar products in our language,” she says.

Of course most brands won’t become the household names that achieve proprietary eponym status, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from what these brands are doing and implement the tactics into your own brand building campaigns. So we’ve done a deeper dive into Marrs’ list and selected five we believe have the most impact. (If you want all 18 ways to build brand awareness, read the complete article here.)

While Marrs’ may consider these tactics sneaky, we think they’re smart. Super smart, in fact. Why? Because when you involve promotional products to the tactics on this list, you create a tangible component to your marketing campaigns…which gives you the opportunity to make lasting impressions while measuring ROI to track success.

So read on if you’re interested in boosting your brand awareness…

  • Referral Programs

Referrals are powerful, so it is no wonder Marrs began her list with this one. Your prospective customers are bombarded with advertising messages all day, every day. With all the slick sales speak out there, how do these prospects know which company to choose? They ask their friends, family and coworkers—those trusted members of their inner circle that will tell them the truth.

So how do make sure your company is part of the referral conversation? Sometimes you just need to ask. And sometimes you need to offer an incentive (read: promotional product!) for your customers to share what you have to offer to their network.

The key is to develop a system for referrals so that it becomes an integrated part of your business practices. (Get more insight in the Huffington Post article “Why Every Business Needs A Referral System.”)

Next, make it fun! Maybe you offer a cookie canister whenever you receive a referral. And if you make contact with that referral to talk about your products and services, give them a canister as well. As long as the product is targeted to your audience and is something they will find valuable, it will go a long way in building the brand awareness you want when it’s time for them to make the purchase.

  • Local Partnerships

Hitting the list at number five, partnering with local businesses can be another great brand building strategy, according to Marrs. “Partner with other local businesses to hold joint intros to seminars or festivals,” she suggests. “Sponsor local sports teams and donate to charity events. Getting your brand plastered around festivals and events will do big things for your brand.”

So what’s one sure-fire way to get your brand noticed at these events? Marrs didn’t say, so we’ll tell ya: Promotional Products.

Which leads us to the next item on the list…

  • Promotional Products

Of course we would have began the list with promotional products (LOL), but Marrs has branded merchandise (or as she calls it “freebies”) on the list at number seven. Unfortunately, she doesn’t tell you why promotional products are so effective other than “everyone loves free stuff!”

True. People are drawn to promotional giveaways. But why are they a super-smart way to build brand awareness? Because they are kept and used by recipients for months—if not years.

Think about this: Fifty-eight percent of promotional product recipients keep them from one to four years. Furthermore, 73% use promotional gifts at least one a week, and 45% use them at least once per day. Because of all this repeat exposure, 85% of promotional products recipients can identify the advertisers on the branded merchandise they own. And at about half a penny, promo products have a lower cost-per-impression (CPI) in the U.S. than prime-time TV, national magazine and newspaper ads.

That’s powerful stuff. Learn even more about the effectiveness of promotional products here, here and here.

  • Social Media Contests

In Marrs’ eighth way to build brand awareness, she suggests hosting a social media contest in which contestants submit a photo or video, with other users voting for their favorites. “Contestants will share the link with friends and family to get more votes, building your brand awareness as a result,” she says.

But what if the video submissions included people wearing a t-shirt with your logo on it? Even better! So not only would you get the brand awareness from the video, but you’ll also get brand awareness when your t-shirt is worn all around town. There’s a reason tees are called walking billboards. And people love them. (Find out how you can create the perfect promotional t-shirt here.)

  • Unique Personality

“One surefire way to increase band awareness is by giving your brand a fun, unique brand identity,” Marrs says. Being memorable is all about how you tell your brand story—and promotional products play an integral role in the narrative.

How you tell your story and, by association, the branded merchandise you choose, is essential to your survival. You have to begin by making a great first impression. And you must have a relatable identity.

Keep in mind that experiences are how we make memories. For brands, delivering a memorable experience facilitates not only a first impression but also that relatable identity customers crave. Enhance the customer experience by choosing promotional products that give recipients no other choice but to remember your brand.


However you go about integrating these five super-smart ways to boost your brand’s awareness, remember that you must have a strategy behind the tactics you employ.

While there is no quick fix for becoming a household name, Marrs says putting these brand-building strategies to work will help launch (and continue) your efforts. You may not become as well-known as Coca-Cola, Kleenex or Google, but it can’t hurt to try!


Want to build your brand with some super-smart ideas? Book an appointment by clicking here or call us now at 248-538-4700 to learn how. Mention the blog, and we’ll send you some SMART Swag to get the conversation started!