How to measure Brand Awareness – What you need to know

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Table of Contents

What is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness is defined as the extent to which consumers are familiar with a particular brand, and the associations they have with it. This can of course be influenced by many factors, including advertising, word-of-mouth, social media and positive experiences with the brand.

Is brand awareness important?

Quite simply, the ability to build – and keep building – brand awareness is critical to your brand’s success.

It’s the first step in the purchase decision process – if consumers are not aware of your brand, they won’t be able to bring it to mind when they are thinking about making a category purchase.

Brand awareness not only drives consideration, it drives preference too. The more aware consumers are of your brand and the features and benefits of your product or service, the more likely they are to consider it when making a purchase choice.

Brand awareness also builds purchase loyalty. Once you have customers, it’s important to keep them coming back. It can also play a role in customer retention by keeping your brand top-of-mind.

How do you build brand awareness?

There are a number of different ways to build up consumer awareness of your brand, including advertising, public relations, social media, word-of-mouth and content marketing. By using a mix of these strategies, you can reach a wide audience and build all-important mental availability (the ability of the brand to come to mind at the critical moment of purchase).

Unsurprisingly, some of the most successful brands in the world boast extremely high levels of brand awareness. For example, names like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Microsoft are instantly recognisable by people all over the globe.

Likewise, luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermes enjoy widespread name recognition, even among those who may never have purchased their products.

How often should you measure brand awareness?

Brand awareness can be measured on an ad-hoc basis and in isolation. More common, however, is to incorporate brand awareness measurement into a wider, on-going, brand tracking approach that assesses the brand’s health across a number of different dimensions. When conducted annually, biannually, or more often a tracker enables the organisation to react to negative changes in brand health (including brand awareness) rapidly and decisively.

What are the most important Brand awareness metrics

There are a few different metrics that can be used:

Brand recall

This is one of the core brand awareness metrics and measures how easily consumers can remember a particular brand when they see or hear it. It is typically assessed at both unprompted and prompted levels.

Unprompted brand recall measures the consumer’s ability to spontaneously recall the brand, while prompted brand recall measures the consumer’s familiarity with the brand when given a list of options. Unprompted brand recall is considered a more accurate measure of absolute brand awareness because it reflects how well the consumer can recall the brand without any prompts.

However, both unprompted and prompted brand recall are important measures to track. Whilst unprompted brand recall gives you good indication of the extent to which your marketing efforts have been able to seed your brand in the consumer’s System 2, conscious mind, prompted recall can give you insights the other brands your consumers are familiar with in the category.

How to measure Brand Awareness - What you need to know Brand Speak Market Research

Brand recognition

Measures whether consumers can correctly identify a brand when presented with its logo or other visual cues (e.g. packaging)

Brand salience

According to research conducted by Byron Sharp and Jenni Romaniuk, brand salience is “a brand’s propensity to be noticed or come to mind in buying situations’. As such, it is similar to brand recall, except that it focuses exclusively on the moment of purchase.

Whilst a brand may have good levels of unprompted recall, if that recall doesn’t occur at a time when the consumer is in critical ‘buy’ mode, then it may of little benefit.

There is no one single way of measuring brand salience, but a number of quantitative and qualitative approaches are possible, so it’s best to speak to your research provider to identify the best approach for your brand.

Branded search volumes

These can be tracked using Google AdWords and other tools to see how often consumers are searching for your brand by name.

By tracking the number of searches for a particular brand, businesses can gauge the level of interest and familiarity that consumers have with their products or services. Additionally, branded search data can be used to identify trends and changes in consumer behaviour over time.

Branded name mentions

These are mentions of your brand on social media. It is important to measure them as part of a comprehensive brand awareness measurement strategy as it provides an indication of the extent to which your brand is being talked about on social media.

But the importance of measuring branded name mentions goes far beyond tracking brand awareness. It also enables the organisation to identify potential issues or negative sentiment early, so that steps to address them quickly can be taken.

Share of voice

This is a key metric to track when monitoring brand awareness. It measures the percentage of overall mentions that a brand has in a particular channel or channels.

For example, if Brand A has 10% of all mentions in a given channel, it has a 10% share of voice.

Share of voice can be tracked across multiple channels including social media, traditional media, and online forums.

It’s important to track share of voice because it provides insights into how visible a brand is relative to its competitors. If a brand has a low share of voice, it may be indicative of weak brand awareness. Conversely, a high share of voice may indicate strong brand awareness and underline the importance of that particular channel to the marketing strategy.

Share of impressions

This is a valuable metric for brand awareness monitoring.

The logic is simple: the more people who see your ads, the more likely they are to remember your brand. While this may be true in some cases, share of impressions is not a perfect brand awareness metric.

First, it only captures exposure to advertising, not other important touchpoints like word-of-mouth or direct experience with the product.

Second, it fails to account for the quality of the impression – someone who sees an ad once is not necessarily going to remember it any better than someone who sees it multiple times.

Finally, share of impressions does not take into account whether the ad was actually seen by the target audience.

For all these reasons, share of impressions should be just one of several metrics used to monitor brand awareness.

Conclusion

Having a high brand awareness means that consumers are familiar with your brand, and that they have strong association with it. It can be influenced by many subjective factors, and it’s really important for getting customers to make purchases and for building your business.

There are several key metrics to consider when measuring brand awareness. Whilst larger brands are likely to be monitoring many of the above awareness metrics as part of an ongoing brand tracking research programme, many smaller brands don’t have the bandwidth to conduct exhaustive research on an on-going basis.

For smaller brands, when thinking about how to measure brand awareness we would recommend focusing on the following, core metrics:

  • Unprompted and prompted brand recall – to determine overall levels of brand visibility
  • Brand salience – to understand that extent to which the brand can be recalled at the moment of purchase

More Information

For more information about brand awareness and how to measure it, please contact Brandspeak at Enquiries@brandspeak.co.uk or on +44 (0) 203 858 0052

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Brandspeak has been providing qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic and neuromarketing research to UK and global brands, marketing agencies, start-ups, public sector organisations and charities since 2004.