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If someone asked you, “Name a place to go get coffee,” would you have a go-to place in mind? If so, why did you name that one place over anywhere else? Is it because of the atmosphere, their excellent drinks, or just because it’s where “everyone” goes?

Whether it’s a local café or national coffee franchise, that brand has achieved “top of mind awareness” for you. And because of this, that company is likely to earn much more business from you than any other coffee house near you. “Top of Mind” awareness is the ability to establish a brand that people think of first. It gives your brand the power to create lifelong customers, but it requires time and diligence.

So how can you do it? Below are some best practices:

Establish a visual identity. Most people are visual learners. When you’re trying to create top-of-mind awareness, you need to associate yourself with a logo, atmosphere, or any other likable image that will help you reach the forefront of your customer’s minds.

Provide exceptional experiences geared towards a specific market niche. You can’t win top-of-mind awareness with everyone (unless you’re a multinational corporation), so you might consider creating a small but fiercely loyal group of niche customers. Everything about your brand should be catered to this group’s interests, culture, trends, and consumer needs.

Reward your loyal customers. Everyone likes to feel as if they’re part of a community. Give your loyal customers that sense of inclusion by giving them discounts or special perks the more they shop with you.

Invest in both traditional and modern marketing tactics. Social media and online marketing are critical factors in creating top-of-mind awareness, but it isn’t the only way. A local commercial, PR campaign, or billboard may help attract customers.

Don’t EVER talk bad about the competition. If someone asks you to criticize the competition, don’t do it. Instead, talk about your company and why you believe you are the best alternative in the marketplace. Focus your communications on your company, not someone else’s.

In the end, word of mouth will spread if you provide exceptional service every time. Gaining a loyal customer following is one of the most challenging tasks for businesses. It requires cooperation and a shared goal involving everyone in the company. And it requires the company to provide a positive environment for customers and employees alike.

For more information on brand awareness tactics and marketing, contact Tucker/Hall.