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3 Ways to Create Brand Awareness In the Attention Economy

Welcome to the attention economy, where algorithms push the content and creators who challenge the bounds of what is acceptable. So, how can brands cut through that noise?

Photo courtesy of Austin Distel via Unsplash

It’s 2022 and the lengths that both brands and individuals will go to get your attention are, frankly, impressive.

Today’s digital realm is filled with brands and individuals who push the envelope. That means fast food brands picking fights with one another on social media, TikTok stars stunting in bizarre manners and locations, and even traditional media outlets pushing controversial headlines for clicks.

Welcome to the attention economy, where algorithms push the content and creators who push the bounds of what is acceptable. How can brands cut through that noise? It’s no longer enough to phone it in, making content for the sake of it. But you also don’t need to dance along to a pop song, risk your life or embarrass yourself (or others) to gain brand awareness.

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In my book, The Hawke Method, I outline and delve into three key principles of brand building and marketing: awareness, nurturing and trust.

Awareness is the focus of this article and the beginning of establishing trust. It’s the moment of turning the light on and revealing, “hey, this brand exists.” You should know it and remember it. Awareness is the first step of good marketing and what many often think about when they hear the word “marketing.”

There are two components of awareness beyond that initial exposure, which are:

  • Brand Recognition—this is as simple as, “Hey, I’ve heard of this brand before.” Familiarity is the first step of creating awareness and cultivating trust.
  • Brand Recall—this means the target will remember your brand when reminded of what you sell. In the case of my company, that would mean saying the words marketing or “Your Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer” and having the target say, “Oh, that’s what Hawke Media sells.”

With those ideas in mind, how can we create marketing that truly creates awareness? Our attention spans are short and the competition for them is high. What can we do to create and cultivate awareness?

Show Up Where It Matters

Going viral is easy peasy, right? OK, so going viral may be more accidental than anything, but a sure-fire way to cultivate brand awareness is to go viral.

It happened to me. My social media manager said, “Hey Erik, you should post on TikTok!” and so I did. The video I posted in December, which showed the reveal of a flying car, exploded with 66 million views as of January 2022.

I have ridden my TikTok fame successfully from there, posting a combination of new technology, extreme sports and some of the best work I’ve done with HawkeZ and Hawke Media.

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Use the social media platforms that work today and keep throwing different types of content at them to see what sticks. For TikTok, in particular, I advise:

  • Pay Attention to Audio—original audio is, in part, what made my TikTok so successful.
  • Use Novelty and Nostalgia—the idea of flying cars plays into the dream of both flying and the Jetson’s fantasy of commuting through the air.

The best ways to create awareness for your brand often come from just showing up in the spaces where others are. I wasn’t intending to do anything more than to share on TikTok, but I ended up creating a massive amount of awareness around both my personal brand and Hawke Media.

Do It for a Cause

Look, in today’s world, transparency is integral. People don’t just want to ensure that you aren’t doing something shady, they also want to be sure that you are in business for better reasons than simply lining your pockets.

You can preach your expertise all day, but for what? Cause marketing is an extension of transparency and something to highlight when cultivating brand awareness. My team and I are hyper-aware of this, and so I’ve lead initiatives like Found Animals and the Orphaned Starfish Foundation.

In 2020, Hawke Media partnered with MISLA (Made in South LA) and MARTY (Making a Reality That’s Yours) to launch the first digital marketing academy in Los Angeles, FlyForward Academy, and we are revisiting that initiative in 2022.

Create a Content Network

When I first started my podcast, HawkeTalk, in 2020, I was just looking for something to do to connect with others.

The podcast is now approaching 70 episodes, and I’ve not only learned about the varying experiences that top names like Gary Vaynerchuk, Robert Dyrdek and Jessica Yellin have had on their roads to success, but I have also created a network of individuals who know and spread awareness about me, HawkeTalk and Hawke Media.

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Your network is your best asset, and collaborative content like podcasts, guest posts and social media collaborations create public connections that foster brand awareness in a very natural, organic manner.

Look, to gain brand awareness for my upcoming book, The Hawke Method, and my company Hawke Media, I didn’t have to dance to a pop song, hurt myself and laugh about it or embarrass myself to achieve awareness. You don’t either.

I was able to create both brand recognition and recall using these tactics, and I invite you to try them as well. And if you’re looking for a more in-depth look at brand awareness, nurturing and trust, lock down your copy of The Hawke Method. I’ve used the method within it to grow thousands of brands, and you can use it to grow yours, too.

Erik Huberman is the CEO and founder of Hawke Media and author of The Hawke Method: The Three Principles of Marketing that Made Over 3,500 Brands Soar (March 2022). Founded in 2014 and now valued at over $150 million, Hawke Media is the fastest-growing marketing consultancy agency in the United States.

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