Brand Awareness: Brief Summary
Brand awareness is a market research term that describes the awareness of a brand. The percentage value indicates how many of the people surveyed recognised a brand. For more in-depth research, brand awareness is divided into three levels.
Brand Awareness: Detailed Summary
Brand awareness is a key factor for a business because it can determine whether a purchase is made in many situations. Especially in so-called “low-involvement situations”, where the buyer pays little attention to the product because of the price or other factors, brand awareness is very important. Most consumers go for “tried and tested” in such cases, i.e. well-known names and brands.
However, there are other situations in which brand awareness is important, for example, in business-to-business marketing, or B2B marketing for short. Here, many actions are based on the customer’s trust in the company – and trust can only exist if the customer knows the company or the associated brand.
Above all, in the business-to-consumer sector, brand awareness helps to retain customers in the long term. Through brand awareness, the customer is able to assign a certain image to the brand and then usually associates certain – preferably positive – emotions with it. In turn, this creates brand trust and leads to the customer reaching for the brand’s products again and again. Ideally, they even become brand ambassadors who recommend the products to others out of personal conviction.
The dream goal in terms of brand awareness is when the brand name becomes a generic name; in other words, when the brand replaces the term that is actually used for the product. Well-known examples of this are “Hoover”, “Biro”, “Google” and “Walkman”. In areas with established products, however, it is virtually impossible to achieve such high brand awareness. With new products, this goal is certainly achievable – but extremely difficult due to the ever-faster emergence of imitation products.
Brand Awareness in 3 Stages
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much room for manoeuvre when it comes to brand awareness – either people know the brand, or they don’t. But it is not quite that simple because how quickly people remember the brand and whether they need help to recall the brand name are also factors that make a difference. A distinction is therefore made between three levels of brand awareness:
- Top of mind
- Unaided recall
- Aided recall or recognition
“Top of mind” means that people remember the brand immediately, i.e. it is mentally present to them. In the case of “unaided recall”, people come up with the brand name, but it takes a while until it comes to mind. This level of brand awareness is still useful for companies, especially in situations where a purchase decision is made quickly, where brand awareness might no longer come into play. In the third stage, “Aided Recall” or “Recognition”, people do not come up with the brand on their own. But if it is mentioned to them, they recognise it. This type of brand awareness is particularly useful when the customer has little product knowledge but can make their purchase decision at their leisure.
Brand Awareness in Online Retailing
At first glance, one might think that brand awareness plays only a minor role in online retailing. After all, thanks to Google, users have a huge selection of products at their fingertips with just a few clicks. Moreover, online prices can be compared in seconds, and descriptions and reviews make it easier to weigh up the advantages of certain products.
Despite all these possibilities, however, the awareness of a brand actually plays a very big role when buying in online retail. This is because products cannot be held in the hand and examined on the internet. This is very important for most buyers, especially in the case of clothes and shoes, but even in the case of electronic goods, where the quality of the buttons and switches can be used – at least supposedly – to draw conclusions about the quality of the product. If such a “manual” examination is not possible, most customers rely on well-known brands. This is because, in their minds, buyers unconsciously associate a certain minimum level of quality with the well-known brand.
Accordingly, many SEO measures are also aimed at increasing brand awareness. The idea behind this is quite simple: the more often the brand name appears on Google or in social media content
on Facebook or other portals, the more often it is noticed by users. Besides these relatively simple optimisation measures, however, there are various other ways to increase brand awareness.
Measures to Increase Brand Awareness
As mentioned above, advertisements such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads are a very simple way to make a brand better known. Unfortunately, this option can also be quite expensive because if advertisements are to be placed for highly competitive search terms, steep fees are charged by Google AdWords.
Optimising your own site according to SEO standards is usually more cost-effective and also contributes to brand awareness. In addition, there are many other – usually quite inexpensive – possibilities to improve brand awareness, such as:
- Referral programmes
- Guest posts on other sites
- Freemium products
- Social media competitions
Referral programmes are based on a very simple principle: the customer receives an additional service if he or she recommends the product or service to others. Such programmes are particularly suitable for digital products because here it is comparatively easy to check whether the customer has really recommended the product. In principle, however, they can be used with all types of products and services. A good example of a successful recommendation programme is the offer of the cloud storage company Dropbox. Every customer who persuades a friend to use Dropbox receives additional cloud storage. Especially in the early days after the company was founded, this referral programme contributed significantly to the spread of Dropbox – and thus also to brand awareness.
Guest posts are particularly interesting for companies that rely on social media content because good content is shared more frequently on social networks like Facebook. If a company manages to publish a well-founded article on a certain topic on someone else’s Facebook page, this effect is amplified. The reason for this is quite simple: if others think the article is so good that they publish it on their own page, it automatically appears more valuable to readers, and they are more inclined – albeit unconsciously – to share it with others.
Another way to increase brand awareness is to offer freemium products, where a free version is available in addition to a paid version, usually limited in function or scope. As long as the free version is not too limited, users will naturally recommend the product to others – after all, who would say no to a free, high-quality product? Of course, not all new users will opt for the paid version, but some of them will – and the others will remember the brand name well thanks to the freemium product.
Social media competitions are also a good way to increase brand awareness. Companies can opt for very simple variants, such as a competition, or for more elaborate measures, such as a competition in which users create their own content. The advantage of a competition on a social media platform is that the whole thing can very quickly become self-perpetuating – the first users draw the attention of others to the content, who share it again with others, who also forward it … and so on.
An absolute classic in terms of brand awareness are giveaways, i.e. free gifts that come with the actual purchased product. These can be items like ballpoint pens, notepads or LED lamps in credit card format. Even digital giveaways, such as fancy designs for social media profile pages, are possible. Giveaways have two key advantages: they are usually very affordable, and if the items are useful, they are often used, so the brand name is always in view.
Brand awareness reflects the familiarity of a brand and is a decisive factor in purchasing decisions in various situations. Brand awareness plays a particularly important role in online retailing, as the customer is not able to hold the products in their hand and examine them.
The possibilities for increasing brand awareness are very diverse and range from social media competitions to SEO measures to advertisements via Google AdWords or Facebook Ads.