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In this article, we discover the power of brand awareness in driving success for nonprofits. We also explore effective strategies for boosting brand recognition and share how to measure brand awareness for your social impact organisation.

When we hear the word brand awareness, it may feel niche or foreign. Sometimes, we may even find it hard to explain to a colleague in an elevator or a friend at dinner. Yet, brand awareness is central when we think of successful global organisations. Today, when we are lost for key information, we “Google it”! When we hear phrases like “Just do it!” we immediately think of Nike. These are good examples of the power of brand awareness and how it can effectively catapult an organisation into the everyday life experience and thus lead to stronger customer loyalty and relationships.

But what is brand awareness, really?

In this article, we unpack what it is and why it is important. We also share some strategies you can apply to your nonprofit or social impact organisation to magnify your impact!

Understanding brand awareness

Simply put, brand awareness refers to the extent to which a brand is recognised by and familiar to consumers. It is also how a brand effectively communicates its unique value proposition to its target audience and differentiates itself from competitors. In most cases, high brand awareness drives customer loyalty and purchase decisions. When consumers are aware of a brand, they are more likely to consider it when making a purchase, and they may be more willing to pay a premium for products or services from that brand.

But does this mean brand awareness is only for big businesses? Can nonprofits tap into this resource?

Absolutely, yes! As a nonprofit, having a strong brand can be a game-changer for your stakeholders. By being visible and easily recognisable, donors are more likely to give donations and support your programmes. On the other hand, communities are more comfortable adopting your interventions and becoming your champions on the ground, which directly increases your impact on the community.

Below are some strategies to build your nonprofit’s brand awareness.

Increasing brand awareness for your nonprofit

Before we dive in, strong brand awareness takes time and relies on you having consistent messaging and delivering high-quality service to your stakeholders. Without this, your strategies may have minimal impact.

Here are some tactics you can include in your overall communications strategy to build your brand awareness as you get started on this journey:

  1. Develop a strong brand identity: In today’s social sector, many nonprofits do important work and sometimes compete in the same space; having a consistent and unique brand identity can be a low-hanging fruit for your nonprofit to stand out. Is your logo, colour scheme and messaging consistent across all your platforms? Is your tone of voice consistent with your brand across different channels? Responding to these questions can shed light on your brand identity and guide you on effective ways to reinforce it across your various platforms to ensure it is clear and consistent.
  2. Tell a story: Stories are a natural component of human life. We seek connections through stories. At Magnia, we have witnessed through our workshops how teams can capture incredible stories when they take a step back to listen to each other. By developing storytelling for your nonprofit, you can build brand awareness and move beyond the data to personify your brand. Think through central characters and how you can tell their stories in an uplifting way to reflect your brand’s promise to your stakeholders.
  3. Use social media and content marketing: Social media platforms and content marketing can support you to effectively reach and engage with your stakeholders when building your brand. Consider creating shareable and informative content with your audiences to get them excited about your brand. For example, why not share the latest impact report from your MEL team on your social media platforms? Such simple and clear steps can open you up to new audiences.
  4. Utilise offline marketing techniques: While digital marketing is important, it is just as vital to remember traditional offline marketing techniques such as print ads, event sponsorships, and public relations efforts. These in-person interactions can help boost your brand’s visibility and get people talking about your brand.
  5. Focus on providing quality service: The key is always to ensure that you provide excellent service to your stakeholders to build a positive reputation and increase brand awareness through word-of-mouth marketing. Ensure your internal structures and teams are well-versed in good customer service and that you are gathering valuable feedback from your stakeholders.

How can you measure brand awareness?

While brand awareness can be a challenge to measure quantitatively, there are strategies you can include to measure just how well people know your brand and how your target audience perceives it.

When measuring brand awareness, one quick win is to use social media metrics to identify how the brand engages online. Consider setting up social media management tools like Hubspot, Sprout Social, Buffer or Hootsuite for deeper insights. Our personal favourite is Hootsuite because of its nifty feature that lets you see your digital platforms’ brand awareness in real time!

Additional data-gathering tools you can use to measure your brand’s performance include tracking the number of online searches. This can be done using tools such as Google Trends, which can provide data on how frequently a brand is searched for over time. Below, we have also shared some quick pro tips you can use to gather further insights, so read on!

Pro-tip: Using Google Search Console to measure brand awareness

One of the cheapest ways to measure your brand awareness is using Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google that allows you to track the performance of your website in Google search results. You can use Google Search Console to measure brand awareness by looking at the number of times your website appears in search results (impressions) or the average ranking of your website’s pages in search results (average position), or the specific search terms that users have used to find your website in search results (queries).

By tracking these metrics in Google Search Console, you can get a sense of how visible your brand is in search results and how effective your SEO efforts are at driving traffic to your website.

Summary

In today’s ever-increasingly competitive environment, nonprofits, now more than ever, need to find ways to stand out and keep up with new technologies and trends to enable them to do their work. These innovations, however, also offer an opportunity for nonprofit organisations to consider new uncharted pathways where they can access new demographics and meet their communities where they are at. At Magnia, we believe even with limited resources; nonprofits should take a step back and ask the hard-hitting question, “How can we increase our brand’s visibility?” By answering this question, there is an opportunity for these organisations to think strategically about their impact and how to lean on brand awareness to build it.

If you found this article interesting, check out our next blog post on how to build your content strategy for your nonprofit.

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