Written by Canon Wing

I teach entrepreneurs and organizations the proven action steps to stand out within their market, improve the perceived value of their business, and better connect with their audience through naming, branding, storytelling, and communication platforms.

May 11, 2021

How to Activate Brand Awareness in 2021 [Case Study: Skims]

Today we are asking the question on every entrepreneur’s mind: How Do I Activate Brand Awareness in 2021?

Okay, so brand awareness represents the degree in which YOUR ideal audience recognizes and welcomes your brand into their lives. Obviously the goal for any brand is to achieve high brand awareness, and for today’s episode we are turning to the queen of brand awareness, Kim Kardashian and her new line of shapewear, to gain some key insights into how your brand can Come Out of Nowhere in 2021. If that’s your goal, to learn everything you can to help your brand Come Out of Nowhere and Become an Inspiration to Millions, send me an enthusiastic thumbs up by clicking that like button for me right now! I love enthusiasm. And stick around until the end of this episode because I have an exclusive link to give you for an awesome downloadable resource, a branding checklist that will help you cover all your bases, so don’t miss out on that…

Okay so let’s cut to the chase you WANT high brand awareness because it builds trust, it creates value, and it solidifies brand loyalty. No matter what business you are in, brand loyalty is your business plan, right? Because no other form of marketing is more effective than word-of-mouth advertising. It’s been well-established that word-of-mouth advertising is something like 50X more effective than every other marketing strategy, so yeah…you want high brand awareness.

As we are all collectively emerging from the worldwide upheaval that was 2020, brands are discovering that the game is changing. Business as we know it is once again changing. And what people want from the brands they love and choose to welcome into their lives—is definitely changing.

I’m going to give you the Top Three Tips For Activating Brand Awareness in 2021, and we are going to use Kim’s shapewear to give us a more well-rounded understanding of how your brand can use these tips to Come Out of Nowhere in 2021. Ready? Here we go.

The first tip is to: Amplify Representation

Remember when shapewear wasn’t cool? Remember when skin-tone undergarments weren’t considered sexy? No one wanted to be called out for wearing Spanx, how embarrassing. Shapewear was likened to wearing “granny panties,” like a girdle. Not anymore. Kim Kardashian brought shapewear out of the closet, and her line sold out within minutes of launching her brand, which she named Skims.

If you go to the Skims website, you will find models of all shapes and sizes, and you will find shapewear in a beautiful array of skin tones with sizes ranging from XXS to 5XL, because it is for every-body. Skims is dedicated to their values of inclusion and self-acceptance, and that is a brand message that will be highly sought after in 2021. The demand for human connection is at an all-time time.

For Skims, representation means all body types, and all skin colors.

What does representation mean for your ideal individuals?

Whoever your ideal customers may be, and whatever solution your brand may be offering, the constant through line for all brands is this: Needing a solution means there is a problem. That is a vulnerable position for any person, and there is often shame involved in admitting to themselves that they need the help of your brand. Just like there used to be twinges of shame surrounding shapewear.

In 2021, the world is just aching to know that it’s all going to be okay. People want to feel safe, they want to feel understood, and they want to be accepted just the way they are, so show them that your brand knows them best and has their back by Amplifying Representation in your messaging and marketing.

It also bears mentioning that another term for Brand Awareness is Brand Acceptance. We are far more likely to exercise acceptance with those who make us feel truly and unconditionally accepted. When your brand amplifies representation, you access the very powerful emotional trigger of reciprocity, that compels your ideal individuals to show your brand a generous amount of brand acceptance.

Next, we have: Define Your Narrative

2021 is not the time for sticking with old-fashioned people-pleasing. You want your Ideal Individuals to feel like they know your brand personally, so your brand needs to be a real person. Real people have strong opinions. Things they stand for, and things they will never stand for. Don’t be boring, simpering, and over polite. There is too much going on in the world, for a brand to humanize without taking a stance. Gone are the days of neutral branding, that sticks to its sales pitch and never wanders off the page. Because of the internet, even the smallest business has extraordinary reach from one end of the globe to another— so give your brand a strong voice that will resonate and align with the values and ethics of your ideal audience.

Imagine you met a person who only ever contacted you to sell you something, and only ever talked to you about what products or services they want you to buy from them. Is that someone you are going to be able to forge a lifelong loyal friendship with? Probably not, right. It’s the exact same situation with a brand. If you want to activate brand awareness in 2021, your brand is going to need to stand for something, and sometimes that might mean publically standing against things that don’t align with your brand’s value and ethics. Yes, you may ruffle some feathers, and you may even lose some sales— but winning brand loyalty is playing the long game. For the people who identify personally with what your brand proudly represents, your brand will become a trusted and kindred friend. Achievement for activating word-of-mouth advertising: Unlocked!

Even a brand by Kim Kardashian can falter, by not clearly defining the narrative. When Skims was first announced, it wasn’t named Skims. The brand’s original name was Kimono, and the brand found itself immediately wrapped up in controversy. Many people felt like co-opting the word for a traditional Japanese robe was inconsistent with the brand’s narrative of inclusivity. Inconsistency triggers distrust. Within minutes of announcing the name, #KimOhNo was trending, and ever the savvy businesswoman, Kim recognized the blunder and changed the name to Skims. And in 2021, she took it a step further and upleveled from the word shapewear to solutionwear. Because the world is so ready for solutions right now, big time.

And the final tip on How to Activate Brand Acceptance in 2021 is: Socialize

A well-known strategy for activating brand awareness has always been to position your brand where your ideal individuals will be. And in 2021, your ideal individuals are going to be online. All humans benefit from social connection, and the need in 2021 to feel connected is widespread and in high demand. To activate brand awareness in 2021, you’ve got to be social, and you’ve got to be authentic. Post on social media about things unrelated to your products or services. This is one of Kim Kardashian’s secret sauces for having an unparalleled ability to win brand loyalty. She socializes with her audience on a personal level everyday. We can follow her on IG and feel like we really know her, and completely forget that she is selling anything. Research shows that 52% of global brands attribute their reputation to how social they are online. And that number is up from 45% just one year ago! It is projected that the number is going to climb to 65% within the next three years. Online sociability matters BIG TIME. So get out there and start socializing. Even if your brand hasn’t launched yet, it’s never too early to start seeking out your ideal individuals and interacting with them online.

So there you have it! The top 3 tips for activating Brand Awareness in 2021.

Amplify Representation

Define Your Narrative


You can remember this trifecta of 2021 branding superpowers, by remembering it spells ads— which after 2021, will never be the same.

Now, I want to give you that exclusive link I promised you. Follow the link to download your Branding Checklist. It will give you a great foundation to start strategizing how your brand is going to activate Brand Awareness. It’s also chock full of Top Tips to Connect with Your Audience in 2021, so be sure to take full advantage.

Thank you so much for joining me! If you enjoyed this episode follow me on FB and IG and subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you don’t miss a single thing. I release new videos every Tuesday and Thursday, so treat these episodes as a masterclass for becoming an Inspiration to Millions with Branding. And as always the way to becoming an Inspiration to Millions starts with our motto: Love What You Do and Love How You Do It.