Brand Recognition or Brand Awareness: What’s the Difference?

The issues a single business needs to face and overcome on a daily basis can seem staggering. The need for loyal employees is always growing, while customer retention is a constant battle, and sustaining cash flow amidst this crisis is a top priority, among other things, too. At the heart of all of these and many other problems your brand faces is one not so simple notion: anonymity. 

If your audience, customers, and competitors have no clue who you are and what you do in your industry, you cannot hope to achieve business longevity. That’s why businesses need to understand these two concepts of brand recognition and brand awareness and learn how to utilize both to support business growth and development. 

Only then can you begin to unravel the complex strategy that will lead to more long-term customers, improved employee retention, and a solid reputation in your industry. While each business needs a unique approach, some steps are universal, so let’s delve into the most essential steps to achieve both of the abovementioned notions.

The layers of brand perception: recognition and awareness

Let’s first distinguish between these two intertwined ideas. First of all, brand recognition is one of the first instances needed to achieve brand awareness. People need to be able to identify your brand based on your visuals such as your logo, and your storytelling elements such as your slogan and tagline. You have a jingle? Even better. If you ask a customer to recognize your logo out of a bunch of similar logos, they should be able to do so.

On the other hand, awareness is the next-level connection you want to establish with your customers. It requires recognition as the foundation, but then you build upon that basis with your continuous creativity to enable your customers to know what your brand stands for. Brand awareness implies stronger, emotion-based connections between you and your customer. When you’re presented with that famous Nike swoosh, you’ll likely not just think of a random pair of sneakers, but also envision the persevering athlete winning a race or a similarly powerful image – and that is proper brand awareness.

Put your content to use

To earn more of both of these wonderful notions, you need to start with a long-term strategy such as your content creation. It should be a source of free, invaluable advice, entertaining facts, and anecdotes to help your audience relate to your business and the people behind it. That said, trends change constantly, and you need to keep up with the changes by producing visually appealing content as much as you write stellar articles.

To achieve that balance in content output, the experts in the agency Infostarters create infographics that portray brand values and tell a story in much the same way a blog would, but with the help of branded visuals and attractive graphics. This, in turn, elevates audience engagement, which leads to higher levels of brand awareness over time. Simply put, a single infographic will do you no good – you need to be consistent and produce quality content over the long term to see results.

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Utilize various marketing tactics

Of course, your business will invest in sponsored posts and advertisements to stay competitive and present on various platforms. However, beyond promotional posts, businesses should use brand-oriented strategies, which is the core of the brand marketing definition, as these tactics strive to elicit awareness over pure conversions. 

Striking that balance is vital to avoid presenting yourself as an overly-promotional entity, and to ensure that your presence is inspiring diverse customer actions, from purchases to content shares, and even content creation. Think: reviews, videos, contest participation, etc.

Social engagement for more of both

Social networks have become places where brands come to life. If you still come to advertise only, you miss out on a whole slew of engagement opportunities that the modern customer craves for. Instead of sticking to ads only, you should build a social media strategy that entails everything from influencer campaigns, contests, and simply posting content from your site to generate more traffic to your educational blog. 

If you respond to shares, comments, and participate in audience engagement across a variety of channels, your brand will slowly increase not just its recognition, but awareness, and ultimately build a value-based reputation that will bring you more loyal customers.

Pinpoint your target demographic

Wanting to be noticed and retain that visibility is a noble goal, but only when you know the who behind it. That is, whose attention will your brand benefit from in the first place? That’s why the old ways of spammy ads and intrusive commercials have been abandoned in favor of the “slow and steady wins the race”. One ongoing effort that falls under that category is understanding your target audience, which is far from a one-time research spree, where you uncover everything in a week and then capitalize on that knowledge a decade later.

To retain relevance in the form of recognition and awareness, you need to keep learning about your target demographic. This is one form of commitment that many brands fail to pursue long enough to see the results, but if you do, you’ll notice that while you might start out by being merely recognized, soon enough your audience will actually connect your brand to specific values and promises that build awareness.

Although one cannot exist without the other, both brand recognition and awareness take time to truly form your reputation in its entirety. A great portion of that effort is in the hand of your customers, and of course, you always relinquish some of that power when engaging with influencers. However, you should always understand the distinctions that make these two notions unique and tailor your strategies to target and accomplish both. 

About the author: Jolene RutherfordJolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and inform people.