It’s one thing to be known far and wide as a brand. It’s another to be trusted, adored, and successful, all at the same time. If your target audience doesn’t know you, or where to find you, you’re not going to make any sales. Moreover, if those customers don’t believe in the value and functionality of your products or services, you’ll never build a loyal install base.

These elements require building strong brand recognition, which means promoting your brand appropriately so your audience can easily recognize your company, products, or services. The question is how you go about it. What are some strategies you can use to strengthen your brand’s reputation and curb appeal?

Brand Recognition vs. Brand Awareness

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to make the distinction between recognition and awareness. Recognition is more about identification and realization. When a customer sees a big yellow “M,” for example, they know it’s related to McDonald’s.

Brand awareness, on the other hand, is more about the feelings and emotions a brand evokes. To put it more simply, it’s all about the experience.

Having a high brand awareness doesn’t necessarily translate to solid brand recognition, and vice versa. For a business to be successful, you need both. But we’re going to focus solely on brand recognition in this guide.

1. Leverage Innovative Platforms

It takes a lot of work, research, and resources to identify your market audience. If you’ve already done this, then great! For startups and small businesses, doing so can break the bank regardless of how valuable the information may be.

There are better and smarter options, thanks to AI and machine learning. Google’s AdSense Auto program, for example, will automatically measure and place ads in front of the right eyes. It uses machine learning to discern who would react best to a particular brand or message.

It’s not the only solution available, and many others are just as accessible. By getting your brand in front of the right people, you build buzz. And by building buzz, you generate more interest in your company, which leads to recognition.

2. Get Creative on Social Media

While it’s often free to create social media profiles, share content, and engage with customers, it takes a lot of time to realize a return. Despite what some may claim, it’s tough to make it big right out of the gate, unless you’re already a sensation before joining.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. At the same time, you’re not going to see major attention unless you get creative — so go big or go home. Some of the best brands and marketing campaigns are so successful because they are viral hits. Virality can be random, but it also comes from creativity and innovation. The most creative content makers are the ones who hit it big on social media.

Be sure to incorporate strong elements of your brand. Or, if you work with influencers, encourage them to do so.

3. Don’t Neglect SEO

Who hasn’t heard of SEO, or search engine optimization? It’s a mission-critical strategy for increasing your rankings in search results, boosting website traffic, and building a robust online presence for your brand. But you’d probably be surprised to know most companies are doing it wrong. That’s because there are so many things that can go wonky.

If you don’t already, you should make concerted efforts to improve on-site and brand SEO across your channels. You might also consider updating or creating business profile pages via the relevant programs, like Google business. It’s also not a bad idea to get some expert help with your on-page SEO practices and strategies.

The more your brand shows up across online channels, the more likely it is new customers will recognize you and come aboard. Plus, there’s just something about ranking higher in search results that speaks to authority and trust, especially if you can get a leg up over your competition.

4. Kickstart a Regular Event

Hosting local events, participating in charity and support drives, or even sponsoring local businesses, sports teams, and other well-known entities is a solid strategy. You’re probably doing this, or something like it, already. Regular events are the key, though, because as those happenings become synonymous with your brand, customers will instantly recognize you.

A seasonal barbecue with food, games, and fun can quickly turn into something everyone is looking forward to, year after year. If you can come up with something creative, that’s even better.

5. Pay for Promotions

Paid promotion these days comes in the form of “influencers,” who are commonly found on social media. Generally, they’ve found fame through unconventional means, which has ironically become conventional in today’s world. They share moments of their lives with followers via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. Just a mere mention of a product or service can have thousands, if not millions, of their followers supporting the brand.

It’s a viable solution for building brand recognition, improving trust, and getting some eyes on your products. The trick is to find an influencer that aligns with your brand’s core values and focus. Choosing Marques Brownlee to market a new leaf blower, for example, is probably not the best idea. On the other hand, if your products or services target the consumer electronics market, then he’s a fantastic choice.

6. Update Your Packaging

If you’re shipping goods in plain, nondescript packaging, you’re missing out on valuable recognition juice. Branded packaging not only promotes your company and services, but also makes the fulfillment and delivery process for customers much more enjoyable and engaging. Even more so when the packaging is unique and memorable. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate design, either. Even simple personalization has many benefits for the consumer and the brand.

Way before Amazon began delivering its goods, their boxes, envelopes, and containers were plastered with the company’s logo. Ever wonder why that is? Well, now you know. It’s not the only company that does this, however, and there are so many awesome examples, including RedBull, Shopify, L’Oreal, and many more.

If it’s not something you think you can handle in-house, don’t fret. Some third-party providers can help you customize yours.

7. Reward Your Customers

Rewards programs are often incredibly lucrative, and not just because people earn credits or freebies. It’s a way to give back to your most loyal customers, show your support, and recognize one of the most important elements of your success.

Customers who feel valued are happier and more willing to support the brand, which often generates buzz and positive recommendations. Companies with strong loyalty marketing programs are shown to generate revenue 2.5 times faster than those that don’t, and also produce 100-400% higher returns for shareholders.

8. Don’t Sleep on Old-School or Offline Engagements

Technology has come a long way, and there are so many new ways to interact and communicate with customers that it’s easy to forget some of the traditional methods. Phone communication, emails, direct mail, customer referrals, reviews, and even print ads are all still highly lucrative, even in today’s digital-oriented landscape.

The internet is a great place to generate leads, but it’s not the only active or valuable channel. Remember that when it’s time to plan a campaign.

Now That You Know Them, Use Them

These eight strategies offer some excellent ways to build brand recognition, engage with your existing customers, and reel in some new ones. You don’t have to follow them all, at least not at the same time, but do try to use them.

Which do you think is best for your brand?

Author Bio: Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.