One common goal of business branding efforts is to increase the company’s profile and reputation, either in the local community or on a national or international level.
When trying to get your name out there, there can hardly be a better tool for spreading brand awareness than signage in its various forms. Whether it’s street signage or a decal on the side of a van, there are many types of signage – and each can be used to spread your business brand identity far and wide.
In this article, we’re going to look at what brand awareness entails, and cover some strategies for growing your brand with signs.
What is brand awareness?
‘Brand awareness’ is a term that often gets used interchangeably with ‘brand recognition’, although the two phrases mean slightly different things:
- Brand recognition is the extent to which the public can recognise your visual branding assets when they see them – such as associating a particular logo or wordmark with your brand. For example, McDonalds’ golden ‘M’ logo is able to bring the restaurant chain to mind by itself, even without any other design elements.
- Brand awareness is whether the public (or whichever target customer base) has heard of you in general and knows something about your reputation, ethos, and other information about your business. For example, the name “Starbucks” means something to almost everybody – you already know that it’s a coffee shop and you probably have a pretty good idea of their product range and the way they do things.
Peak brand awareness might be what marketers call of top-of-mind awareness – which is to say that your business would be the first one people think of when they consider companies in your niche. We might say that Amazon has top-of-mind awareness for most people when we think of online shopping.
It may not be necessary for your brand to become a household name on the level of Nike or Coca-Cola among the general public if your business only serves a particular niche. For a company that specialises in selling plumbing supplies, good brand awareness can just mean being well-known among plumbers and tradespeople – even if the average ‘person on the street’ doesn’t recognise the name.
Strong levels of brand awareness can be very beneficial. Studies show that customers faced with two or more roughly equivalent purchase options will often just opt for the one they’ve heard of – perhaps assuming there must be a good reason why one of them has a more prominent reputation.
Growing your brand awareness with signage
There are few shortcuts when it comes to developing your company’s brand recognition and awareness. It takes time and dedication to get to the point where your target demographic is strongly aware of your reputation – but once you’re there, they will seek you out every time as the go-to option.
Signage is a great way to help people become familiar with your brand. Signs are ubiquitous in our world, and when placed prominently and/or repeatedly they can help us to become familiar with business names and concepts.
There is a classic marketing theory known as the ‘rule of seven’, which says that a potential customer may need to see your branding up to seven times before they finally are familiar enough with the business to make a purchase.
With this in mind, it can be a great idea to invest in more signage for your business – not just front-of-house fascia signs, but also window signs, street signage, interior decals and vehicle signage.
After all, the more frequently people see these signs, the more they will internalise and come to recognise your company’s name and logo – even on a subconscious level. When the time comes to make a purchasing decision, it will be much easier for them to think “I’ve heard of that company” if they have seen your signage day after day.
Some types of signage that are great for building brand awareness include:
- Free-standing signage – this can be placed some distance away from the business premises to increase the reach of your branding.
- Illuminated signage – many types of signage can have LED lighting built into the design, helping your logo to shine out in the dark and be easily seen from afar.
- Novelty / feature signage – a sign doesn’t have to just be the name of your business. A creative, bespoke and nontraditional signage design can be a great talking point and a way of getting people to notice your building.
Not only can signage popularise your name, but the design choices you use (such as fonts, colours, and icons) can also serve as a visual shorthand for your company’s ethos and character – letting customers know what type of business you have.
Vehicle signage: the secret weapon
If your business happens to own and operate any vehicles (such as a delivery van or lorry), you may be sitting on a great brand-building opportunity.
Vehicle signage is a very cost-effective branding strategy that essentially transforms your existing vehicles into mobile billboards. If you’re going to be out and about every day, why not put some logos and imagery on the side?
Vehicle wraps and vinyl decals are a great way to extend the reach of your brand awareness all over the local area. Whenever people see your vans out and about, they’ll see your business name and logo, and will become a little more familiar with your brand as a whole.
Wrapping a van with an eye-catching design is a one-time expense that can pay off for years to come, as your branding will be seen wherever you go. In this regard, it is probably one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing possible (and certainly cheaper than a traditional billboard advertisement).
When looking to improve brand awareness and recognition, the use of signage is one of the most powerful strategies. Seeing your signs every day will naturally help people to grow familiar with your company – and you’ll be at the top of their list to call when it’s time to do business.
This post was contributed by Medash Signs. For over forty years, Medash has designed and manufactured affordable commercial signage for businesses of all types around Kent and across the UK.