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How to increase brand awareness, the complete guide

Whether you're a small business or a major enterprise, every ad dollar counts—because let's face it, it's a jungle out there. Today's advertisers are operating in a saturated content environment that's chock-full of distractions.

In other words, it isn't enough simply to make a sale. If you really want to grow as a business, you have to build your brand, too. And that's where brand awareness comes in.

Back to basics: What is brand awareness?

Let's back up a bit. What is "brand awareness," anyway?

In short, brand awareness is the degree to which audiences recognize your brand, messaging, and products. Think of those iconic logos you know at first glance, the catchy jingle that reminds you of your favorite snack, or the color scheme of your hometown sports team. All those little cues add up in people's minds to form a complete picture of what a company sells—and what it stands for.

Brand awareness sits at the very top of the marketing funnel, meaning it's one of the first steps toward making that coveted sale. Of course, product consideration, conversions, and brand loyalty are critical, too—but before you can achieve any of those ad objectives, you need to make people aware that your brand exists.

4 components of a brand awareness marketing campaign

Every single touchpoint with potential customers is an opportunity to influence how people perceive your brand, so it's important to put some thought into how you present yourself—especially in the digital world. The following strategies can help humanize your brand, convey your mission, and more.

  1. Identify your brand voice. Is your brand playful or powerful? Educational or entertaining? Do you use industry jargon or pop culture slang? These are all questions to ask as you're defining your brand's tone of voice. Develop a detailed guide to your unique brand voice, including examples of the type of language that fits best. Whether you're interacting with customers on social media or touting your products or services in a podcast ad, your brand voice should be consistent and familiar.

  2. Tell a story. Regardless of the format or platform, it's important to identify the right narrative for your brand. Think about your business goals and target audience, and develop a story that embodies your brand's origins, purpose, and values while also tapping into your audience's emotions. Storytelling is a powerful tool for connecting with customers, and it can be a great way to generate word-of-mouth referrals.

  3. Create value. Delivering useful digital content can help build positive associations with your brand. This content might take the form of online articles, videos, or podcast sponsorships. How sales-focused you make this content is up to you, but often, less is more—as long as you have an effective call-to-action (CTA). What's more, content that's high-quality and high-value is often highly sharable, too—meaning you can expand your brand's reach to new potential customers without putting in any extra legwork.

  4. Diversify your marketing. To effectively build brand awareness, you have to go where your customers are spending their time—and these days, that might be a lot of different places. Studies show that by 2025, close to 65% of U.S. adults' daily media time will be spent with digital formats like video, social media, and digital audio.1 So, consider a marketing strategy that allows for experimentation with one or more of these formats.

How to increase brand awareness with digital audio ads

There's no question that digital audio plays an intrinsic role in our day-to-day lives. Just a decade ago, podcasts were niche. Today, they've gone mainstream: In 2022, 62% of U.S. consumers listened to audio podcasts.2

What does that mean for brands? Essentially, digital audio ads can be a key component of your overarching brand awareness strategy—provided you follow these key steps to reach your target audience.

  1. Leverage context. The same rules about aligning your brand with relevant content apply when you're developing a digital audio campaign. If your goal is to introduce potentially interested customers to your product or service, you'll want to match your messaging to audio that attracts the audiences you're hoping to reach.

    One tip is to focus on creative that matches the moment—for example, advertising running shoes on fitness-focused playlists or podcasts. By leveraging context, you'll create strong brand associations—and listeners are more likely to remember you down the line.

    Sonic branding is useful for driving recall, too. Just as jingles worked to keep brands top of mind in the heyday of TV, a specific sound or a consistent voiceover artist in your digital audio ads can stick with listeners. Ultimately, this may pique their curiosity about your brand.

  2. Reach people where they are. Recent research shows that nearly half of Americans spend five to six hours a day on their mobile devices outside of work use.3 Smartphones go wherever people go—and by advertising with digital audio, you can do the same.

    With digital audio ads, you can reach active listeners on any device throughout their day—as well as in screenless moments, like during the morning commute, while running errands, when socializing with friends and family, or even when nodding off to sleep.

    No more waiting for a customer to visit a particular website or drive past a specific billboard to see your ad. Instead, you can get your brand in front of an engaged audience (and even offer them a clickable link) by delivering ads between the songs or podcasts they love to hear.

  3. Make it personal. People love personalization. One study found that 60% of shoppers are more likely to become repeat buyers if they have a personalized experience.4 Our own data backs this up: 73% of Spotify listeners who took part in our Sonic Science Volume 2 research said they’re open to listening to ads if the tone fits what they’re doing at the time.5

    Think of your brand awareness campaign as a chance to start a new relationship on the right foot. By customizing your audio content to people's interests and preferences, you show listeners that you care about their digital experience. That's the kind of message you want to send, particularly if you hope to turn that online interaction into loyal, long-term engagement.

Brand awareness campaign examples

Brand awareness campaigns can take many forms, but knowing what an effective campaign looks like can go a long way toward your own success.

One great example is Toyota's multi-format, influencer-focused audio campaign. To promote the new Corolla Cross and reach young drivers on the go, Toyota combined audio, video, and podcast ads on Spotify to help listeners "Find that Perfect Fit." They also invited influencers to curate custom playlists and advertised on select podcasts. Such tactics enabled the brand to boost Consideration Intent, Favorability, and—you guessed it—Awareness.

Another prime example: When promoting Love Island, ITV turned to audio ads, digital overlay ads, and sponsored playlists to boost awareness of the reality show's new season. Capitalizing on the theme of love and using audio voiced by Love Island's narrator, ITV created ads that targeted and engaged potential viewers. The campaign ultimately achieved above-benchmark results in key metrics like Recall and Awareness.

It isn't just consumer-facing companies that can benefit from an awareness campaign on Spotify. Tech brand Salesforce was able to target the next generation of Business Decision Makers when promoting their Customer 360 suite. Since 65% of American Millennials consider Spotify their audio platform of choice,6 exposing millennial decision-makers to a new product was simply a matter of combining audio, display, and video takeover ads—and connecting with listeners on the devices they use every day for work and play.

How Spotify can help your company build brand awareness

If you're interested in exploring digital audio as part of a larger brand awareness strategy, Spotify's a great place to start.

Spotify Ad Studio, our self-serve ads manager, offers a range of intuitive solutions and tools to help you create digital audio ads that are completely bespoke to your brand—from scratch. Peruse our resources for voiceover tips, script guidance, sound-mixing services, access to background tracks, audio revision tools, and more.

Want to dive deeper into how audio advertising can help boost brand awareness? Learn more about advertising on Spotify today.

Sources: 1. "US Time Spent With Media Forecast 2023," INSIDER Intelligence by eMarketer. 2023. 2. "Percentage of consumers who have ever listened to audio podcasts in the United States from 2006 to 2021," Statista. July 2021. 3. "How much time on average do you spend on your phone on a daily basis?" Statista. October 2021. 4. "The State of Personalization 2021 Report," Twilio. June 2021. 5. Sonic Science Volume 2, Spotify x MindProber. February 2023 6. GlobalWebIndex, Spotify Free Users, Market = US Q421, Q122, Q222, Q3222

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