Measure Brand Awareness: Build Brand Power

How smart brands measure awareness and recall, and improve their brand power

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Today, you’ll rarely find a company that’s the only one in its market.

Want a can of tomato soup? If you go to your local supermarket, you’ll see several different soup brands, priced roughly the same and with roughly the same ingredients. What makes you choose one brand over the other? Is it the taste? Maybe. What about Pepsi and Coca-Cola?

What is brand awareness?

If you’re involved in marketing, you’ll know that your job is to make sure people are choosing your soup (or cola or running shoes or cable service, etc.), regardless of how similar it is to your competition’s product. But where do you start?

First, you need to work out where you stand in terms of brand awareness. Brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with your product or service. Is your brand the first that comes to mind when someone wants to buy a laptop? When you know how visible (or invisible) you are to consumers, you can target your marketing efforts accordingly (so you can drive more traffic to your website or store).

Writing effective brand recall and brand recognition survey questions

When you’re writing a brand awareness survey, you want to take two measurements. The first is brand recall, which is your consumers’ ability to remember your brand without help. Because you need to get a true measure of how well consumers know your brand, you don’t want to bias them by presenting them with your company name right away. For example, if you really want to know how present your brand is in consumers’ minds, ask them unaided (no brand name help) questions like these:

  • – How familiar are you with canned soup?
  • – When you think of canned soup, which brands come to mind?
  • Your first question, “How familiar are you with canned soup?” can be a multiple-choice question with answer choices like these:

  • – Extremely familiar
  • – Very familiar
  • – Moderately familiar
  • – Slightly familiar
  • – Not at all familiar
  • The second unaided brand recall question, “When you think of canned soup, which brands come to mind?”, can be an open-ended question – meaning that you should give your survey respondents a text box where they write in any brand they can think of.

    Aided brand recognition

    Once you know whether consumers have your brand in mind, the second measurement you should take is brand recognition (your consumers’ ability to recognise your brand from a list of alternatives). Use aided questions, in which you mention your brand, to measure how you stack up against your biggest competitors:

  • – Have you heard of (brand name)?
  • – How familiar are you with (brand name)?
  • – Which of the following brands of canned soup have you heard of?
  • – Which of the following brands of canned soup have you purchased?
  • – Which of the following brands of canned soup do you currently have in your home?
  • But when you ask a brand recognition survey question like “Which of the following brands of canned soup have you purchased?” how do you know which brands to present to consumers when you write out your answer choices? Do you remember the open-ended brand recall question, “When you think of canned soup, which brands come to mind?” Because your respondents have already entered the brands they’re familiar with, you’ve got the most popular brands (and most probably your biggest competitors) at your fingertips.

    So your answer choices for your aided brand recall question, “Which of the following brands of canned soup have you heard of?”, would be the following:

  • – Brand name 1
  • – Brand name 2
  • – Brand name 3
  • – Brand name 4
  • – Other (Please specify)
  • Note that there’s an “Other (Please specify)” option at the end of the list. Part of writing a good survey is making sure you never force respondents to choose an answer that doesn’t reflect how they really feel. (And you want to make sure you haven’t overlooked any other relevant brands.)

    Digging deeper: Understanding what consumers think of your brand

    Finding out how familiar with or aware of your brand consumers are is only one part of the equation. If you want to assess your overall brand power, learn how to run a brand attributes survey and access brand loyalty, brand equity and brand awareness survey templates.

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