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Your ultimate DTC brand awareness strategy guide

Amy Burchill
minute read
Written By
Amy Burchill
April 26, 2024

Building brand awareness is a slow burn.  

That’s because building brand awareness takes time and patience. 🧘

But when you get it right, the rewards can be huge. 

In this article, we’ll walk through everything you need to create an effective brand awareness strategy. We’ll offer tips on measuring the performance of your campaigns, and we’ll give you the tools you need to maintain your brand as you grow.

What is brand awareness? 

Brand awareness is crucial to your ecommerce marketing strategy and the growth of your business. Fundamentally it's about making sure your brand is recognised and remembered by your target audience. But that’s not all. 

Good brand awareness also supports your marketing channels. For example, when people know who you are, your paid ads don’t have to work as hard to introduce your brand. Brand awareness creates compound interest over time so you become trusted across all your marketing channels and activities.

Why you need to take brand awareness seriously 

Yes, being at the top of your audience’s mind is crucial if you want to build a steady revenue stream. 💸

But there are loads more benefits to building a solid brand awareness strategy. Let’s take a look at some: 

  • Build positive brand equity: Yang Lui, the CEO of underwear brand JustWears, explains that brand integrity is a combination of brand awareness, brand loyalty and your perceived product quality. All of these help build trust and recognition over time, making repeat purchases from customers more likely without them considering alternatives.
  • Promote the values you care about: Brand awareness is an opportunity to promote all the things that you and your audience care about. Whether that’s sustainability, human rights, equity and inclusion—things that make a positive impact on the world. The greater your brand awareness, the bigger credibility and impact you can have on the things you care about. 
  • Support your marketing channels: As we mentioned, brand awareness goes a long way to support your marketing channels. When people know and trust your brand, you don’t have to work as hard to explain who you are in the first place. For example, people might follow your social media account simply because they love and trust your brand. 
  • Grow your business: Ultimately, brand awareness helps you grow your business. But you don’t need to aspire to be like the massive corporations (just look at Amazon—tons of brand awareness but a poor reputation. 👀). Growth might mean building a trusted community of like-minded people. Or it could mean establishing yourself as the go-to challenger brand in a crowded industry. 

Now you’ve seen some reasons to invest in your brand awareness, let's get into some strategies you can use to increase it. 📈

8 strategies for boosting your brand awareness 

Here are some strategies that we, along with other DTC brands, recommend implementing to help boost your brand awareness. 

1. Nail your brand identity 

Your brand identity is vital. It ecompasses everything from your brand voice and logos, to your brand architecture and values. The stronger your brand identity, the more you’ll be recognised by your target audience. And recognition is key to your brand awareness strategy. 

For many small and growing businesses, it’s often beneficial to position yourself as a challenger brand as a way of setting yourself apart from bigger corporations overshadowing your industry. This in itself can help drive brand awareness because consumers will recognise you as the go-to alternative to established markets. 

JustWears, for example, is a challenger brand in the men’s underwear industry. They’re a challenger for a number of reasons:

  1. Their product is innovative (their boxers have a pouch for your crown jewels) and aims to solve a common problem that many people suffer when wearing big-label brands (chafing).  
  2. JustWears’ brand voice is cheeky, bold and humorous—a refreshing break from the standard ‘serious’ tone many of the bigger underwear companies use. 
  3. JustWears’ brand values are cemented in their founder’s personal experiences—they aim to help people in under-developing countries, particularly those in areas of deforestation. This means all their products are made from 100% sustainable sources. 

You can learn more about how to build a challenger brand in our interview with Yang Lui, the founder of JustWears, over on our podcast. 🎙️


2. Build a content strategy for your blog  

Blogs aren’t just for search engine optimisation (SEO). Whilst they help you rank for keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for, they’re also a great way to build brand authority. By writing about key topics within your industry, you can become the go-to educational source for that subject. This type of useful, educational content is also useful in generating brand loyalty.

This is something that supplement brand, DR.VEGAN, has put a lot of focus on. Their blog is a hub of education for people wanting to learn about nutrition and health. On our podcast, Sophie—the brand’s Head of Growth—explains how this approach also helps drive people to sign up to their newsletter (another brand building tip which we’ll get into in a moment). Sophie says:

“We are a real hub of education for a lot of consumers. We have over 200 blogs on our website about different health needs. If someone just comes to us for that content, that's great. Our brand’s goal is to educate and inspire people about nutrition and health.”

Building a blog also gives you lots of opportunities to share and repurpose content on social media and newsletters. It can also be a channel for you to collaborate with experts. 

3. Launch a newsletter 

As we’ve seen with DR.VEGAN, a blog is a great way to encourage sign ups to your newsletter. 

And newsletters are another way to build brand awareness. Unlike your regular promotional and product emails, a newsletter aims to bring educational value to your audience. They’re not necessarily trying to push your latest product line or advertise a mid-season sale. Take this cute email newsletter from DTC brand, Cat Person

Taking an awareness day (International Cat Day) that’s super relevant to their audience, they’ve provided some little-known facts that are sure to peak the interest of any cat-lover (aka “ailurophile” 😻). 

Next time someone is thinking of buying new cat food, they might remember this email and head over to Cat Person’s website. 

4. Build out your social channels 

Social media isn’t just a golden opportunity to reach a wider audience. When you build out your social channels, you’re also creating touch points where potential customers and followers can interact with your brand. Each touch point builds a little bit more trust and familiarity between your brand and your audience. This, in turn, supports your other marketing channels to create a consistent picture of who you are.

Take Piglet in Bed, a UK-based bedding brand. They’ve built out their social presence across TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest. Across all channels, they reinforce their brand identity which is rooted in the English countryside aesthetic. They’re also bold and cheeky, but want people to feel safe and comfortable when interacting with their brand. 

On TikTok they’ve got an impressive 108K followers—and growing! They create ‘cosy content’ that helps reinforce their brand personality. Many of their videos get loads of comments from people enjoying their gentle, comforting aesthetic. As well as people ready to buy their products. Just check out the comments in this video. 😍

@pigletinbed Hot chocolate, gingham sheets, knitted robes and movies in bed are calling me 😌 @myoldpub #fallaesthetic #autumnvibes #fall #englishcottage #spookyseason #autumnaesthetic #pigletinbed ♬ original sound - gilmoregirlstok

You can learn tips on growing your TikTok following in our chat with Rhiannon, Piglet in Bed’s Head of Brand.


5. Work with influencers and creators 

The benefits of influencer marketing campaigns can be huge. Successful partnerships can not only boost your brand awareness, but they can offer some serious return on investment (just check out some of these influencer marketing statistics). In particular, micro influencers (people with social media accounts of 10,000-50,000 followers) often have a very niche audience. Partnering with them can help you spread your brand message to the people most likely to engage with you. 

Take the orthopaedic shoe brand, Calla Shoes. They create stylish shoes for people with foot issues (like bunions and callus). They regularly work with influencers that align with their brand. For example, Calla partnered with ballet dancer @eurkabody (23.5k followers) to demonstrate how comfortable these shoes are after a long day of dancing.

They also have loads of mentions on TikTok from people trying on their shoes. This video from @alexniwater has loads of comments with people looking to purchase a pair for themselves. 👞💸

For tips on working with influencers, take a look at these resources:

6. Partner with complimentary brands 

Similar to working with influencers, collaborating with another brand can help you reach a wider audience and grow your brand presence. But you shouldn’t just partner with any-old brand. As Paul McEntree comments in The Drum:

“A new brand collab should fall into one of two categories - utility or entertainment. If it is not adding value, there is no point."

In this particular article, McEntree is discussing the collaboration between Lick Paints and the iconic brand, Heinz. For this partnership, Lick created a paint the same colour as Heinz’s Tomato Ketchup. On our podcast, we spoke with Amie, the Head of Social Media and Creators at Lick, about the collaboration. She says Heinz approached Lick as part of their long-term campaign, 'Irrational Love of Heinz.' The goal was to capture the essence of Heinz in a distinct paint colour. 🔴

This opened up a loads of opportunity to get creative on social media. Here’s what Aimee says about the campaign: 

“Throughout the campaign we had collaborative moments between Heinz and Lick. We created collaborative posts on Instagram and pieces that bounced off each other on TikTok. We had that unity. But we also wanted to lean into our individual content styles as well. So for us, that was leaning into our own content like our paint videos and showcasing Red HTK 57 (the Heinz paint code) through real homes to inspire the community.”It got Lick some great PR coverage, with publications like House Beautiful and the Evening Standard talking about it. 🤩

7. Encourage word-of-mouth marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is exactly what it says on the tin: people talking to other people about your brand. It’s also a big contributor to brand awareness, with 27% of shoppers ranking word-of-mouth as the top way they discover new brands. To encourage word-of-mouth, you need to be doing things that are worth talking about. If you’ve got a great product then, naturally, people will want to recommend you to their friends. But the goal is to turn these loyal customers into real ambassadors who’ll continuously champion your brand. Here are some tips to help your word-of-mouth marketing. 

  • Encourage user-generated content (UGC): 79% of people say UGC helps them with purchase decisions. That’s because genuine reviews from real customers go a long way to building trust between your brand and your target market. To encourage UGC, you could create competitions or offer small incentives (like free products) to people willing to share experiences with your brand on social media channels. 

Check out our tips for using user-generated content

Not only do people love a free sample, but it’s a great way to speak to potential customers in real life. 

(Oh, and we had a chat with Josh, the Senior Growth and Ecommerce Manager at MOJU on our podcast!)


  • Attend industry events: Attending industry events is a great way to cement your brand as an authority in your industry. Take the CBD brand, Goodrays, who attend events like The London Coffee Festival. Although they don’t sell coffee-based products, it’s a clever way to introduce caffeine-consumers to their brand. 

Note: Renting a space and building a stand for an event can be pricey. If your budget is tight, consider attending as a visitor. Although you won’t be able to promote your brand in the same way, you can still network and meet other people within your industry.

8. Delight and surprise your customers

To encourage people to talk about your brand, make sure you’re looking after your existing customers. A happy customer is more likely to post about you online and recommend your products to their friends. Go the extra mile and make sure you’re creating good customer experiences. One way to do this is to delight your customers by surprising them with occasional treats and discounts. For example, you could send them a small gift (like a free sample) on their birthday, or offer them £10 off after their first purchase.

The hair care subscription brand, Hairstory, sends out free samples when it’s time for their subscription customers to renew. As Ben Clark, their (ex) Head of Lifestyle marketing told us, each subscriber gets a 3-day notice email to let them know when their next payment is coming out. This can come to a surprise to people who aren’t keeping tabs on their subscriptions, so the Hairstory team sends out small gifts to recognise these important moments. 💕

You can listen to our interview with Ben on Ecommerce Marketing 101. He offers his top tips for boosting repeat purchases

How to measure the effectiveness of your brand awareness strategies 

Once your brand campaigns are in full swing, you’ll want to monitor their effectiveness. This is also a great way to show the return on investment to your boss. Here are some ways to measure your brand awareness campaigns. 

1. Customer surveys: Getting feedback from new and existing customers helps gauge their awareness of your brand. It can help you understand what channels people are finding you on and help you see how your brand is resonating with them. 

This is something Chomps, the US-based DTC snack brand does regularly. They use post-purchase surveys to find out whether relevant audiences are connecting with the brand values and USPs. 

You can listen to our podcast with Matt Holtwick, the Manager of Growth and Retention at Chomps. He talks us through his paid acquisition strategies to attract and retain customers.


2. Social media metrics: On your social platforms, track metrics such as follower growth, engagement (likes, comments, shares), and reach. High engagement rates and an expanding follower base can indicate the growth of your brand awareness. 📈

3. Website analytics: Analyse your website traffic data to assess brand awareness. You can look at metrics like unique visitors, time spent on your site, and referral sources. If a significant portion of your traffic comes from direct visits or branded searches, it suggests strong brand recognition.

Check out these marketing apps and tools to help glean data from your online channels. 

4. Social listening: Use tools like Mention and Buzzsumo to monitor online conversations about your brand. Pay attention to mentions, sentiment, and trending topics. Positive sentiment and frequent brand mentions can indicate successful awareness campaigns. 

5. Share of voice: Using a social listening tool, you can also compare your brand’s share of online conversations (mentions, social media posts, articles) to competitors. A higher share of voice suggests stronger brand awareness.

6. Search volume: Use tools like Google Search Console and Google Trends to check search engine data for brand-related queries. An increase in branded search terms indicates growing awareness. 

7. Inbound links (also known as backlinks): When other websites link back to yours, it can indicate that they trust your content. For example, if you’ve got a blog about health and nutrition, and you see other health sites linking back to your articles, it suggests an increase in brand authority.  

It's important to note, however, that not all links are from reputable sources. If you use tools like Ahrefs, you can see what domain rating these referring websites have. The higher the rating, the more likely they’re from a legit and trusted source. 

Keep control of your brand identity in campaigns

Once you’ve settled into your brand awareness campaigns, it's important to maintain your brand identity. This means ensuring every piece of content, including your messaging and visual assets, align with your brand. This helps consumers recognise you and it underscores the work you’ve put into building your brand’s personality. 

To do this, use a brand asset management tool like Dash. ✨

Dash is a place for you to organise, search and share all your visual assets. That includes brand guidelines, logos, product images, videos and more. Having everything in one central location, means your teams and external partners will always have access to the most up-to-date brand assets. For more information, check out some of the resource below:

If you want to give Dash a whirl, you can sign up to a 14-day free trial

Amy Burchill

Amy Burchill is the SEO and Content Manager for Dash. She works with ecommerce experts to create articles for DTC brands wanting to improve their campaigns.

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Amy Burchill

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