What is brand visibility?
Big and small brands alike buy TV and radio ads, sponsor little league teams, buy billboards, write blogs, and post on their Facebook pages. They are on an ever-ending quest to “get their name out there.” Many of these actions don’t have a big impact (more on that later), but as it turns out, they at least are starting with the right idea.
Do you have a certain friend who posts something everyday, many times a day on social media? For me, it’s often my acquaintances and friends who join MLM companies. (You know – the makeup, clothes, jewelry, fitness Network Marketing brands.) They’re ever-present in my newsfeed. The quality of their posts vary, sure, but they’re there. They show up.
They sprinkle in the product promotions. The majority of their posts are about their life, brand, beliefs, and journey. It is sometimes eye roll-worthy, but it works. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate their stories. If I ever DO need a fat-compressing wrap or a kick-butt workout, I know exactly who I should ask.
When isn’t Visibility the answer?
If you haven’t done the inner work to figure out what your brand is, all the visibility efforts will be less effective. Your aim is to own a specific space in people’s minds and hearts that you reinforce through the visibility. If you aren’t clear on what you stand for in the first place, reinforcing an ambiguous message won’t have the effect you are looking for.
Define your brand first.
Stop here if when you look at your brand, you cringe. Stop here if the message of your brand isn’t clear – to you or to your ideal clients. If you’re not sure exactly how to articulate what sets you apart from other people in your industry, you have work to do before you invest time or other resources in visibility.
Before you pitch yourself to another reporter, run a FB ad, even post something else on social media… Stop and figure out what your message is. Know what you stand for and who you provide value to.
Posting your lunch on twitter every day may make you “visible.” It won’t likely contribute to your brand building or goals.
The Case For Getting More Visible
While you might not be selling long-wear lipstick to old high school buddies, we can still learn a valuable lesson. In psychology, there’s a phenomenon called the “Mere Exposure Effect.” The more familiar we are with something (or someone), the more we like them.
Side note: There’s also a lesson NOT to take from our MLM-promoting friends. Facebook has policies against promoting businesses on your personal profile. Sharing value or personal stories is one thing. Using your profile as a never-ending billboard is against their rules. Stick to your business pages & groups for the bulk of your visibility work. You’ll also save yourself from annoying everyone.
Another example: Many Americans have a nostalgic love for Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches. I have many, many fond memories of my mom making me a sandwich to send in my lunch to school. The repeated exposure (mixed with the positive emotions of being taken care of) makes it a staple in many people’s cupboards. Italians don’t have the same exposure or memories about PB&J’s. It’s almost impossible to find peanut butter in a supermarket here. They don’t have the same affection for the product. (Now, Nutella… that’s a different story. I almost got trampled when they had a sale the other day. The stuff is everywhere.)
The repeated exposure of a brand, person, or product is powerful.
Everything else aside, SHOWING UP matters.
Who Needs Your Brand *Right Now*?
Another case for consistent visibility is that different people will need your products at different times. By staying top of mind, your brand will be easier to recall when they need you.
Imagine being in a crowded party. In the middle of the murmur of the crowd, you hear your name mentioned. Your ears perk up and you pay attention. This happens because we’re conditioned to pay attention to things that we care about. Our brain is filtering all the stimuli in the world against our internal gauge of what is important and what is not. Our name stays high on the “Important List.” Other things change based on what’s going on. You might notice phone advertisements when your iPhone is acting buggy. Or you find a plethora of desserts everywhere when you’re on a diet because you’re craving sugar.
We don’t pay attention to most messages we see, until we’re tuned into a specific idea. When your ideal client is ready to pay attention, you need to be there (like you always have been.)
In the online world, high visibility is akin to being in a convenient location in the real world. Stores that are close by often get our business because they are convenient. In the online world, when we decide that we’re looking for a new Virtual Assistant, the ones that show up on our radar at that exact moment are more likely to get our business.
Visibility is a Key for Brand Growth
In the book “How Brands Grow,” Byron Sharp shows us studies and stats that demonstrate that brands don’t actually grow through repeat (“loyal”) clients. The main driver of growth is NEW users/customers, even if they only buy once. Reach is more important than loyalty. It’s counterintuitive, I know. (You can get the book on Amazon to read for yourself.)
To reach new audiences (and woo them into becoming a client/customer), we need to be visible. The content, ads, emails, and social media posts we create increase our probability they find us. It creates more opportunities for people to come into contact with our brand.
Visibility Creates Recognition
When we encounter a random blog post by someone we aren’t familiar with, we appreciate the content, but it’s quickly forgotten. Just because we landed on someone’s website once doesn’t mean that we’re going to remember it months later. Our memories are way too short for that.
Your audience needs repetition so they start to recognize who you are. As you can guess from the theme of the post, consistent visibility is a key to making this happen.
Once we’re “out there,” people have an opportunity to build a lasting and cumulative belief of our brand over time. They start to recognize our brand, content, voice, and visuals. The important part here is consistent visibility. For people to know you, you need consistency of both frequency and look/voice/feel of your brand.
And bonus – once they know who we are, it engages the “Mere Exposure Effect” that we talked about earlier. They recognize our contributions as ours, and it all builds on each other.
(Pin this for later!)
Where Visibility Goes Wrong
Plastering your logo everywhere isn’t going to cut it. The second element of visibility is a spark of connection. We need to engage people’s emotions.
I remember sitting at a summer T-ball game, watching one of my little brothers swing the bat. As I looked around in the hot summer sun, I noticed the faded paint of some company’s logo on the sideline. I wondered why in the world companies would waste money advertising there.
Or imagine this. If you posted only your business logo everyday for the next month, what would happen? Sure, people would see it. But after a while, people would either stop paying attention or hit that “unfollow” button.
To make visibility work for you, being seen *is* the first step. We covered that bit. Yet, showing up won’t have a big positive effect unless your ideal clients *notice* you there and enjoy seeing you. That’s where it’s time to bring your brand into the picture (beyond your logo.)
We need the brand to be consistent, yes. And then, we need to create engaging experiences so they also *notice* you. We need to have conversations that go beyond the nuts and bolts of your product or service. We need to talk about things that matter to human beings.
We need to create brand experiences that are surprising, aspirational, heart-warming, insightful, useful. … anything but boring or predictable. People buy from people. One of the easiest ways to do this is to tell stories in our visibility content. Tell real, relatable human stories. Even if they aren’t related to your product or service on the surface, use stories that support core message of your brand. (Hint: use your primary archetype to help filter through stories that would be “on brand” for you. (You can take the quiz here. My Brandfluency archetype courses give specific examples of stories to tell for each type.)
Always Be Inviting
I’m not sure about you, but I hate adding things to my to do list that aren’t effective. The last thing I want to spend all day on Facebook and not see results.
The last step of effective visibility for brands is to have an endgame in mind. If that goal is to get more clients, know that. If that goal is to sell a course, know that. Use your visibility campaign to connect people to that endgame.
Invite people to deepen their relationship with you at every step. Likes and shares on a Facebook post don’t pay for dinner, even if the post goes viral. Ask people to join your email list. Or set up a call. Or buy your product.
How to Get More Visible
The problem with visibility for most people – myself included – is a lack of time and competing priorities. We have a million ideas and tasks vying for our attention. Even when we “know” how important visibility is, it gets pushed down the list because it’s not a habit.
There’s mindset work that often needs to happen to make room for the work of getting visible. You need to release perfectionism and know that your voice is worth sharing. If it doesn’t come easy to you – you’re not alone.
To pull this all together, increasing your brand visibility is the key to growth, as long as you do it in a smart way.
- Pick platforms/media where your ideal clients are, and show up there consistently (frequency, message, and style).
- Get noticed by creating a mini-brand experience (think emotion!).
- Always be inviting people to go deeper with you.