Scott Cook once said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is, it is what consumers tell each other it is.” The world of business is changing at a rapid pace to meet consumer demands, maximise utility and stay ahead of the competition.

Companies have learnt to see themselves as a package that needs to be sold to the consumer and not just the products or services they offer. Everyone knows first impressions last, but in business, sustainability is just as important. How long can you maintain the image you have created? How long will your product remain relevant and how do you grow and evolve while still peaking the interest of current customers; all the while penetrating new markets and increasing your market share?

The answer is brand awareness. How well do you know yourself? Do you know how the market perceives your company and your products? A bad reputation can overshadow the quality of a great product. In recent news Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), a well-known clothing retail company found itself caught in quite the controversial storm over a hoodie worn by one of its child models. Images of the child wearing the hoodie sparked outrage on social media and in the world at large, creating a snowball effect that saw celebrities, social media influencers and other consumers expressing their desire to no longer be associated with the brand whether in the form of sponsorship or buying any of its clothes.

It seems petty to react to a hoodie worn by one model instead of the other, but when one becomes in tune with the makings of a good brand, they consider the sensitivity of its clientele as well as those of society as a whole. Had the image been reviewed with different eyes and the question “How will this affect our brand?” been asked, the incident may have never happened. Having a negative brand will result in the loss of clients and a decrease in income while the inverse will reduce commercial risk, strengthen market position and retain happy clients.

Knowing your brand, understanding it and making sure that customers view it without misinterpretation ensures that when customers buy your product, they believe in it and they stand by it. There are many ways to build brand awareness and spread the word about your product, social media, advertising, word of mouth and email marketing. All tools that can boost a product’s brand.

When planning to market your product, paying careful attention to all the aspects of brand awareness is essential because it is the sales pitch between your product and the consumer.

By: Jade Novelist