Brand Awareness: Short Summary
Brand awareness is a marketing concept and metric, which is frequently used to assess a brand’s popularity. More specifically, however, it refers to the extent to which people are able to recognise a particular brand, or remember it. It is a performance indicator that is concerned with how well a brand has cut through into wider public consciousness.
Most marketers place a strong focus on the idea of brand awareness, and some level of recognition is often regarded as a prerequisite for sales success. After all, consumers must be aware of a product before they make a purchase. In addition to measuring or gauging it, the continuous management of brand awareness is also crucial.
Brand Awareness: Detailed Summary
Brand awareness is generally considered to be one of the most important ways for a business to measure its overall market performance. In simple terms, it can be regarded as a measure of how recognisable a brand is, whether or not it has occupied a place within the public consciousness, and how easily consumers can identify branding aspects.
A commonly-held view is that high brand awareness boosts the chances of sales success. Essentially, the more aware people are of a particular brand and its products, the more likely they are to turn to that brand and its products. After all, people are unlikely to put extensive time into researching every single option available to them.
For this reason, brand awareness is also often viewed as a way to increase customer loyalty. Customers tend to avoid ‘leaps of faith’ and will instead stick to brands they know, have an awareness of, or have used before.
Building brand awareness is primarily a job for marketers, and marketing concepts like brand colours, logos, slogans and unique selling points can all help to generate further awareness or recognition. For example, the McDonald’s ‘golden arches’ logo has high recognition levels, as do its slogans like “I’m Lovin’ It”, indicating high brand awareness. McDonald’s is also likely to be mentioned quickly when most people are asked to name a fast food restaurant.
Brand awareness is frequently connected to B2C marketing, with the idea that higher awareness helps customers to make their purchasing decisions. For example, Coca-Cola has achieved huge brand awareness and when customers are asked to consider soft drinks, or cola manufacturers, it is likely to be one of the first brands they think of. In fact, Coca-Cola’s brand awareness is such that ‘Coke’ and ‘Coca-Cola’ have become synonymous with cola itself.
Yet, at the same time, brand awareness can also be relevant to B2B companies and B2B marketing efforts too. For example, building brand awareness can help to instil trust, potentially making B2B transactions more likely.
A high level of brand awareness is generally regarded as a positive for businesses and the products and services they are attempting to sell, as it implies that the brand has earned recognition, making sales more likely. However, it should be noted that it is possible for a brand to have generated high levels of awareness for negative reasons too. With this in mind, the goal should be both high brand awareness and a positive reputation.
There are a number of ways to measure brand awareness, including both unaided and aided brand recall tests. Furthermore, tracking things like website traffic, social media mentions, Google Trends and responses to customer surveys can all help to highlight the levels of brand awareness that exist and any major changes to that awareness.
Types of Brand Awareness
While brand awareness is often understood in fairly simplistic terms of whether or not a person is aware of a brand, there are actually different types of awareness. Marketing professionals typically break this down into two main types – unaided recall and brand recognition – and these types can be defined as follows:
- Unaided Recall – This occurs when a person is able to recall a brand from memory. For instance, the person may be asked to name brands or products within a particular category, like fast food, computer technology, or car manufacturing. Brands they can name without prompting have achieved this level of brand awareness.
- Brand Recognition – Sometimes called aided recall, this occurs when a person is able to recognise a brand and differentiate it from other brands when they are presented with information about it. The person may not be able to name the brand unprompted, but they will recognise the name, or things about the brand, when told.
Some marketers also refer to a third level of brand awareness, known as “top-of-mind awareness”. This is sometimes considered a sub-type of unaided recall and refers to the first brand (or first few brands) a person thinks of when asked to consider a particular category. It is, therefore, seen as the highest level of brand awareness.
The aforementioned examples of Coca-Cola being almost synonymous with cola and McDonald’s enjoying extremely high levels of brand awareness would likely be examples of top-of-mind awareness for many people when asked to consider the categories of soft drinks and fast food. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that brand awareness is personal and the brands one person recognises may have little in common with the brands another person recognises.
Ways to Build Brand Awareness
There is a wide range of different ways marketers can build brand awareness, from the quality of its products or services, through to advertising efforts. Moreover, branding itself can play a key role, with an attractive logo, catchy slogan, recognisable brand colours and consistent messages all helping to boost recognition and recall.
To offer an example, brand awareness of Kellogg’s Frosties (also known as Frosted Flakes) is extremely high within the breakfast cereals category, thanks to factors like their taste, appearance, recognisable blue packaging, catchy slogan (“They’re Gr-r-reat!”) and advertising campaigns, often featuring the brand mascot (Tony the Tiger). Many of these things have remained consistent for decades, leading to widespread recognition.
In general, marketing efforts can help to boost awareness of a brand, and this can take many forms, with examples including content marketing, guerrilla marketing, affiliate marketing and social media marketing. Marketers who are able to create stories or promote a single compelling narrative for their brand are often extremely effective.
It is also important that brands maintain awareness levels over time, responding appropriately to the various stages of a product’s life cycle and reacting to both controllable and uncontrollable events. For instance, early in a life cycle, people need to be told about products, whereas later, they may need to be reminded of a product’s existence.
Brand awareness is an important concept and performance metric, which is primarily used to assess the recognition and cut through that a brand has achieved, largely through its marketing efforts. Achieving a high level of brand awareness or brand recognition is generally considered to be an indicator of success, as it can have a significant bearing on purchasing decisions. However, not all brand recognition is positive, so establishing a positive reputation matters too.
The quality of products and services on offer can influence awareness, but advertising, word of mouth, and brand narratives can be just as important. The highest level of brand awareness is described as top-of-mind awareness. This refers to a brand being first and foremost in people’s minds when considering a particular industry or category.