How to Increase Your Brand Awareness – 8 Ways to Boost Your Brand Even Without a Logo
The challenge YouTube channels face is the clutter and the wrong idea of what a brand means.
What you want to achieve on YouTube is to find a way where people recurrently go back to your channel to get more videos. Something you can get in a variety of ways.
Increasing your brand awareness is key to cut through the clutter on YouTube and earn people’s attention. And believe or not a logo is not the most important thing to build awareness.
But first, what’s a brand anyway?
I like the definition from Karen Post:
“A brand is the sum of all actions surrounding a competing entity. A mental impression that is earned through time. It is a culmination of emotional, logical, and physical attributes, characteristics, performances, assets, liabilities, and promises.
“A brand is not your name, a logo, a tagline, or the latest ad campaign. (…) The brand is what the market thinks, feels, and expects when it selects one thing over another.”
A logo is not a brand.
Every brand can have the benefit of having a logo, but that’s only a part of the story.
Your best scenario, in terms of brand awareness, is that people recognize your brand even without your logo.
The point where I want to get here is… if you remove your logo, what’s left? That’s it.
You can do so many more things to earn people’s attention by creating and integrating components that, overall, increase your brand awareness exponentially.
That’s the purpose of this post.
Only a few YouTube channels do this today. But yours can be the one on the few.
Let’s get started.
(By the way, much of these ideas are inspired by Martin Lindstrom’s book: Brand Sense. I recommend you to read all his books. Check them out.)
1. Synchronizing your story with your pictures
Everyone that works on your visual elements should be synchronized.
Here you want to transmit your brand’s story and values through every single detail in your pictures.
“Communication should never be commissioned from outside the company, but conceived from within its heart.” — Luciano Benetton.
Too many channels are missing the point of brand awareness through pictures.
The thing is, customized thumbnails are great until everybody does the same.
The other day I was watching a video from Video Creators where they explained how to create the perfect thumbnail.
The ideas are great and in most cases they’d work.
However, IMHO, they miss the point.
Yes, you’d be able to cut through the noise momentaneously. But what about in a year from now where everybody does the same?
Here’s where you can stand out by using images that communicate your story ‘from within your heart’.
For example, with this channel, you can have a rough idea of what it is about before you watch any of those videos: a guy recording his day-to-day activities.
Boost #1: Find the sort of pictures that show your brand story and values and use it, despite it’s not the current trend.
2. Colors speak louder than words
Your color communicates. A lot.
It should match your story and values. It should match the main idea you want to communicate.
But, it also has to make you stand out.
As Martin Lindstrom says in his book Brand Sense:
“Primary colors clearly have dominated in the world of brands. However, there’s no evidence whatsoever to support the fact that red, blue and yellow are somehow more effective. It seems tradition is the only reason why these colors dominate.”
“Color is essential to brands as it’s the most visible (and obvious) first point of communication. (…) Using a color in a logo, and then sporadically splashing it across print materials, will not automatically build or maintain the color ownership. However, colors create clear associations in our minds, and these same associations can’t help but benefit brands.”
Avoid using too many colors, because you lose the opportunity of making a stronger integrity and consistency you get with one color.
If you’re just creating a new brand around your channel, just pick one color nobody else uses in your category. and if possible, pick the opposite of your competitor.
Let’s take Brian Dean’s channel as example:
He uses that green everywhere.
Despite the last point, and that I personally don’t like that sort of thumbnail, he’s doing a great job integrating his color into building awareness around his brand.
Boost #2: Find your color and use it consistently. If possible pick only one. Don’t mix them.
3. Your name, your philosophy
Naming a product with a prefix or something that evokes a familiarity with a brand (as we’ve already seen be careful with that, read point nine here), makes it intuitively recognizable and cuts through the clutter, thanks to the story and values the main brand brings.
It’s difficult to talk about brands and marketing and not mention Apple. At some point, it always pops out.
Every time you see any Apple product, you see in most cases something that starts with ‘i’. Then automatically you relate it with the brand… iPod, iPhone, iMac, iWatch…
Their iPhilosophy is a critical part of their brand awareness.
And you can take advantage of it too.
Boost #3: Use your brand’s name in some sort of variation, so people can recognize your brand automatically.
4. Word association
Here I’m not talking about SEO. Because instead of selecting your word to see if you rank better than your competitors, you can get to pick the words you’re associated with.
Pick one of a few words that you want to be associated with, and, gently, introduce them in your vocabulary.
Repeat them everywhere.
Needless to say that these words have to match your brand’s story. Otherwise there’d a mismatch and nothing would happen. Well, maybe something bad for your brand.
Therefore, the key is to use those words consistently and don’t forget to mention them in every communication (one of the most common mistakes.)
Martin Lindstrom also points out in Brand Sense:
“To create a truly smashable brand requires consistency and patience—a difficult requirement in a corporate world where the only constants are ever-changing branding strategies and revolving marketing presidents. Add to this fluctuating financial market which demands instant results, and the brand message becomes just another bit of information in an enormously overcrowded field.
“The key to forming a smashable language is to integrate it into every single piece of communication that your company is responsible for, including all internal communications.”
Roman Atwood knew this a long time ago with his Smile More campaign. I don’t know the results, but the words he uses and the story his brand tells… match.
Boost #4: Selectively pick the words you want to associate your brand with, and introduce them gently in every communication.
5. Does it sound good?
I think that brands that use the right sounds on YouTube can boost their awareness dramatically.
In Brand Sense we found..:
“Brands can be built using sound—not the sound that we take for granted on radio or television commercials, but more like the background music that plays on websites, in stores, on hold buttons on the telephone, or even as ringtones.”
Mostly this strategy is used for introductions, but it’s also for background music to make the video easier to digest, or some branded effects.
Anyway, the challenge here is not to use a random, generic sound, but to link it to your brand. Thus every time people hear it, they relate it with your brand.
Use it but don’t abuse it
Boost #5: Develop and test a specific sound for your brand, then stick with it.
6. You’ve arrived at your destination
Navigation is not only critical for websites, but for videos too (and channels.)
“Consistency is the only way to cut through the clutter of contemporary noise. One of the best tricks in the branding arsenal? Good Navigation.”
The best way, as Martin Lindstrom says in Brand Sense, is to be consistent in the way you organize your videos and the structure you follow.
It’s not only about the three act structure (which successful YouTubers follow), but also organize your content within the video always in a similar way.
The idea is to be consistent in the way you organize your channel and videos, so people can’t get lost.
Coming back to Casey Neistat, if we take one of his videos as an example, you’ll notice that he always starts his vlogs in the same way, and follows the same pattern always.
Boost #6: define the structure of your videos, so people can learn by your consistency by the way they ‘navigate’ through your videos.
7. Behavior never lies
This point is especially important for YouTubers or any brand that has a human face as a main strategy.
Brands communicate with everything.
The language you use, colors, names, sounds, you go down the list.
But also, the way you talk, walk, your style… Everything!
The way you behave is a path to consistency and get awareness as well.
If you analyze successful YouTubers you’ll notice that they’ve defined a way to act, so they do it.
Boost #7: if you want to build awareness, you’ve got to know around what sort of behavior you wanna build it. Define the way you act and be consistent.
Building a ritual around a brand is the ultimate goal for a brand strategist. It’s sort of difficult… but not impossible.
In Brand Sense, Martin Lindstrom also says: “Most rituals are generated by consumers. To date, few brands have seen the value in supporting consumer-generated rituals despite the enormous bonding that they can give rise to.”
The easiest way to take advantage of rituals is to pick a day of the week, and do something only on that day.
Q&As here work pretty well.
As you can tell by in the video above of Casey Neistat he has the Mail Time. I think he doesn’t follow a regular schedule anymore, but I’m sure he hooked some viewers to his Q&As and Mail Time.
But there are also other long-term strategies here. More complicated, but worth it.
For example, TheHoonigans channel was built basically on YouTube. It’s a brand about race cars (tuned.)
Early on they had a ritual call Hoonigan Friday Burnout, where they burned tires every single Friday. But not only them. Their followers uploaded their videos too. They started to demand ‘Hoonigan’ stickers. And now it’s one of the most successful channels in the category.
Boost #8: Make a ritual and relate your brand around it. The easiest way to do this is to pick one day of the week, and do something exclusive in that day.
As you can tell, one of the key points to build brand awareness is consistency. So the best advice I can give you is to stick with your strategy. Don’t change things because you’re tired of them. Change them when they don’t work anymore.
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