Go beyond brand awareness.
Aim to be a brand favorite.

It might seem easy to build brand awareness if you’re selling sneakers or coffee. These products have cool built into their brand DNA, just by virtue of helping customers look good or feel good. The challenge behind promoting a certification or membership is understanding what is cool to your audience.

Since certifications can act as visible markers of success, they demonstrate a willingness to invest in personal development, foster confidence in necessary skillsets, and signal a sense of professional accountability to customers and employers. Memberships can mean access to career resources, connections to influencers within niche industries, and the security of being part of a knowledgeable community.

Professional Association Certificate graphic

With such a powerful package to offer your audience, how do you leverage it to go beyond building brand awareness to building brand preference?

Start with the basics: Tell them who you are. Tell them what resources you offer and how you can help them advance, personally and professionally.

Here are just a few tips to make current and prospective members aware of the value you bring and what it can do for them.

ask-audience1. Ask Your Audience. Member testimonials and referrals can be excellent vehicles for building brand reputation. In today’s digital age, you can tap into your social media followers, your email subscribers, and anyone else who regularly engages with your online community and ask them to help spread the word about their positive experiences with your association.

2. Invest in Thought Leadership. Through avenues like content marketing and event sponsorships, you can position yourself as an industry leader, which can do immeasurable good for your reputation as an in-the-know, credible association.

Hello! name badge

3. Be Confident. Simply by being willing to put your name out there, to invest in and support the community, you are making your name recognizable and your industry involvement visible. Recognition is the first stage of trust.

4. Stay Connected. Go beyond offering a positive customer service experience. Offer a long-term support network of professional opportunities, from networking events to informational newsletters, and you will provide long-term relevance to your members.

By emphasizing the benefits you offer to your audience’s professional lives, you will build a trustworthy – and superior – brand reputation. Check back next month for advice on how to find hidden audiences, which you can target using a similar approach.

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Backe is a digital marketing and brand communications agency, focused on creating smart, beautiful and strategically driven work. We build communities, relationships, and meaningful connections.