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9 min read

How to build brand awareness


Whether you’re a B2C or B2B brand, building brand awareness is essential to make you stand out from the competition and draw in prospects who will go on to become loyal customers.

With effective branding, you can build trust with your customers and generate positive associations with your business before they’ve even started doing their research into your products and services.

In our State of B2B branding report, we surveyed B2B marketers from a wide range of industries and company types to discover just how they’re measuring the success of their brand-building activities, and what their budget allocation is like.

You can read the full report, or read on to discover just a snapshot of our findings, along with tips and tricks on how to build brand awareness successfully.

Fundamental steps to successfully build brand awareness

​​Define your target audience and buyer personas

The first step is conducting thorough market research to fully understand your ideal customer. Identify details like demographics, psychographics, needs, behaviors, and where they are most active, both online and offline. Getting to know your target audience inside and out will allow you to create tailored branding efforts that truly resonate.

Identify key channels and platforms to engage your audience

Once you have a clear picture of your ideal customer, determine where they are spending time and are most likely to engage with your content.

This could be on your website and blogs, social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, paid ads on Google or social, email campaigns, influencer partnerships on YouTube or TikTok, and more. Make sure your brand has a consistent yet tailored presence on the channels that make sense for your goals and audience.

Create compelling and consistent messaging and assets

With your target audience and platforms identified, now focus on creating consistent and compelling branding assets and messaging tailored to each channel. Develop eye-catching visuals like images, videos, logos, and color palettes. Write slogans, captions, and copy that clearly convey your brand voice. Maintain consistency through brand guidelines.

Expanding reach through sponsoring events or cause marketing related to your industry can further boost brand visibility. Find relevant influencers who appeal to your audience and collaborate on sponsored content.

Leverage PR and earned media

Finally, build credibility through PR efforts like press releases, contributed articles, and earned media mentions. This third-party validation helps reinforce your brand in the minds of your audience.

Measuring the outcome of brand-building

As a revenue marketer, you're focused on the hard numbers. Leads generated. Deals closed. Revenue hits. But we can't ignore the power of brand-building. Tracking how your branding efforts impact key metrics over time is crucial.

It shows higher-ups that brand marketing drives real business results. It helps you figure out what's resonating and what's not, so you can get more bang for your buck. It improves attribution by connecting branding to downstream revenue. And it enables you to forecast and prioritize like a pro.

The bottom line is having quantifiable data on your brand equity and health makes you look smart. It proves the value you bring to the table as a strategic marketer. And it ensures your long-term branding work gets the respect and investment it deserves.

So don't leave it up to chance. Put in the work to measure the outcome of those brand efforts. It'll pay off in the long run.

We asked our respondents if they actually have any process in place for measuring the outcome of their brand-building.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents (80%) reported that they measure the success of their brand-building activities. Of the minority who don’t, we found that 66.7% of them rated their brand compared to their competitors as a 5 or less, compared to just 8.8% of those who do measure their brand-building activities.

Measuring the outcome of brand-building

Metrics for measuring brand performance

Solid brand metrics help you connect the dots between branding efforts and business impact. Tracking awareness, consideration, and favorability over time shows higher-ups how brand marketing is driving real results.

These metrics also allow you to spot what's resonating vs. what's falling flat. That means you can optimize brand initiatives to get more bang for your buck.

So, we wanted to know how exactly our respondents are measuring their brand-building performance to help you get a better understanding of what you’re potentially missing. We presented them with a list of options for common ways that marketers can measure their brand performance. Here are the results.

Metrics for measuring brand performance

The biggest share of the results for the metrics our respondents use to measure their success is Sales performance (45.8%), and the rest shared between Branded search volume (25%), Share of voice (12.5%), Web traffic (8.3%), Social followers (4.2%), and Other - which included Share of search - (4.2%).

“At Populate, we have regular marketing and sales meetings to make sure that what we're doing is working. We frequently check key metrics to make sure they're improving. Whether that's hits on the site or leads coming through.
“We have a good relationship with all our clients and try to be transparent in every stage of their journey with us, so usually, we can ask for direct feedback from them. So from time to time, we'll ask them "How did you find us? What made you reach out, or choose to go with us at Populate?" which usually gives us a good indicator of how our brand is perceived.
Steffan Mitchell, Brand Manager at Populate Social

Brand-building activities

We wanted to discover exactly how the respondents in our report are building their brands, what kind of brand-building activities they undertake, and what they have had the most success with.

We gave them a list of options for brand-building activities and asked our respondents to select the ones that applied to them, with the option to choose multiple.

Here’s what people said they were doing currently to build brand awareness.

Brand-building activities

Most respondents chose a number of options, with the majority claiming that they undertake some kind of content marketing as part of their branding strategy: Blogs/reports/white papers (83.3%), Videos/podcasts (83.3%).

Social campaigns were the second most popular option (76.7%), followed by Paid ads (66.7%) and Attend industry events (66.7%).

Partnerships come in at just over half of respondents (56.7%), but the rest of the options were less popular, with less than half of respondents selecting Video ads (43.3%), Host industry events (33.3%), Out of home ads (23.3%), Trade magazine ads (20.0%), and finally Television ads (10.0%).

We found virtually no difference between how respondents ranked themselves alongside their competitors when we looked at those who undertake many brand-building activities (5 or more) and those who do few (4 or less).

But 50% of those who claim their CEO does not understand the importance of branding were doing 4 or fewer brand-building activities.

Successful brand-building activities

As part of the report, we were particularly interested to know which brand-building activities were actually bringing the respondents success.

This is because brand-building activities drive business impact that can be measured through increased awareness, consideration, and favorability over time, enabling data-driven optimization, attribution, forecasting, and prioritization of marketing investments.

Presented with the same list, we asked them to pick the ones they saw the most success with, again with the option to select multiple branding activities.

These results show the percentage of respondents who selected the option as one of their most successful brand-building activities out of the activities they are currently undertaking.

Successful brand-building activities

These results show some interesting trends. Despite few respondents choosing Host industry events as an option, almost all who did (90%) considered it a success in terms of brand building.

Attending industry events scored second-highest for success (65%), suggesting that event marketing is a crucial channel for brand-building success and that more marketers should be investing in this type of marketing as part of their brand-building strategy.

Content marketing activities like Blogs/reports/white papers and Videos/podcasts (60% respectively), and social campaigns (56.5%) provided respondents with relative success.

However, we were surprised to see that both Paid ads (40%) and Video ads (38.5%) did not yield a significant amount of success for respondents, along with partnerships (29.4%) and sponsorships (25%).

Just 3.3% of respondents claimed to have success with all their brand-building activities.

Roadblocks to brand-building success

So, if brand awareness is so important, what’s currently holding marketers back from doing more? We asked them what their main roadblocks were, and here are the results.

Roadblocks to brand-building success

Lack of budget (53.3%) was the clear stand-out reason why marketers aren’t currently able to put more into their brand-building activities, which is to be expected. It’s an interesting result when we consider that nearly all respondents believe their CEOs do understand the importance of branding.

Despite this assurance from the top, budgets still appear to be lacking.

“I believe one big roadblock a lot of companies face is trusting the process and putting a good strategy together before starting. Something we always ask ourselves is "Are we doing this for the sake of doing this and does it contribute to our goals?" which is something you always need to keep front of mind.
“Another aspect I believe some businesses may struggle with is not having a strong team around them. Brand building should not only be front of mind for a marketing team but also needs to be supported by those in operations, administration, and new business roles.”
Steffan Mitchell, Brand Manager at Populate Social

Budget percentage for brand building

Branding doesn’t work without the budget to make it happen. We asked our report respondents how much of their current marketing budget is allocated specifically to brand-building activities.

Budget percentage for brand building

The results show a wide breadth of responses, with almost all options selected by some respondents aside from Up to 100%, demonstrating that none of the respondents’ marketing departments are currently dedicating all of their marketing budgets to branding.

The option with the highest percentage of respondents was Up to 30% (28.8%), followed by Up to 20%, Up to 40%, and Up to 80% (14.3% respectively). So there doesn’t appear to be a general consensus among the respondents as to what is the appropriate amount of budget to be spending on branding.

Sufficiency of budget allocation

We asked whether our respondents felt they were receiving enough of the marketing budget to put toward their branding efforts.

Sufficiency of budget allocation

It was an even split on whether respondents felt that their budget allocation for branding was sufficient for their needs.

Unsurprisingly, most people who believe their budget is sufficient had higher allocations, and those who don’t believe it’s sufficient had lower budget allocations.

When we queried why those who did not believe their budget allocations were sufficient weren’t able to allocate more, we received a number of responses, including:

  • Growing business
  • Leadership priorities
  • Spending cap
  • Branding isn’t considered important
  • Lack of KPIs
  • Time and resources
  • Priorities are elsewhere
“Many companies claim they believe in the power of branding - but then when it comes to getting the budget approved for a project or campaign, they resist because they can’t see the immediate ROI. It’s a leap of faith.”
Solveig Rundquist, Head of Brand & Buzz at SuperOffice

State of B2B branding report

Want to discover more of our findings, including how marketers are building their brand awareness and what metrics they’re using to measure that awareness?

Download the full report today!

Written by:

Hannah Wesson

Hannah Wesson

Hannah has worked in content marketing since graduating and has a wealth of experience writing for a wide range of B2B and B2C companies.

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How to build brand awareness