How to Measure Brand Awareness: Comprehensive Guide
Brand awareness is a critical metric that measures consumers' ability to recognise or recall a brand. High brand awareness indicates that a brand has etched itself into the minds of consumers. But how exactly can companies measure something as intangible as “awareness”? This comprehensive guide will explore how to measure brand awareness strategies and some tips and tricks.
Table of Contents
What Is Brand Awareness and Why Does It Matter?
Brand awareness refers to a consumer's ability to recognise or recall a brand when prompted. It measures how familiar your target audience is with your brand.
Higher brand awareness usually translates into higher sales and revenue. After all, people are more likely to buy brands they've heard of. But brand awareness offers additional benefits:
- It makes other marketing efforts more effective. People pay more attention to communications from familiar brands.
- It anchors the brand in consumers' minds. High awareness makes it harder for competitors to lure customers away.
- It boosts conversions across the sales funnel. From cold leads to existing customers, familiar brands see higher conversion rates.
In short, brand awareness greases the wheels for all other marketing and sales objectives. It's an invaluable asset for any business.
Brand Awareness vs Brand Image
Brand awareness measures how recognisable a brand is. The brand image reflects perceptions, impressions and attitudes towards a brand. They work closely together:
- Brand awareness focuses on recognition and recall. Brand image spotlights perceptions.
- Brand awareness is limited to awareness. The brand image includes judgments based on awareness.
- Brand awareness usually precedes brand image. It takes a lot of work to form an impression of an unfamiliar brand.
Strong brand awareness provides a foundation for building brand image through marketing and customer experience. Thus, brand awareness is often measured as a baseline before tackling brand image objectives.
Strategies for Increasing Brand Awareness
Many proven strategies can pump up brand awareness metrics:
- Advertising: Running ads can rapidly boost brand familiarity through repeated TV, radio and online ads.
- PR outreach: Earning media placements spreads brand exposure to wider audiences.
- Promotions: Discounts, giveaways and contests grab attention while associating the brand with positive feelings.
- Event marketing: Sponsoring or hosting live events creates lasting brand impressions through immersive experiences.
- Influencer marketing: Aligning with popular influencers passes brand familiarity onto their followers.
- Social media: Maintaining an active social media presence keeps the brand top-of-mind.
- Visual solid identity: Logos, colours, and icons trigger brand recognition during consumer journeys.
Now, let’s explore specific methods for measuring the success of these efforts.
Quantitative Brand Awareness Research
Quantitative research produces hard, objective metrics that measure brand awareness and tracking increases over time.
Aided vs. Unaided Brand Awareness
Brand awareness studies classify metrics as aided or unaided:
- Unaided awareness measures unaided top-of-mind recall. Respondents name brands without any prompts. This indicates strong awareness.
- Aided awareness prompts with category or use-case cues. Respondents recognise brands from a list. This shows moderate familiarity.
Unaided metrics are more valuable as they demonstrate deeper brand penetration. But aided stats still provide awareness benchmarks.
Brand recognition quantifies aided awareness. During surveys, respondents see a brand name, logo or other asset and confirm whether they’ve heard of the brand. Recognition percentages indicate familiarity.
Higher brand recognition means more target consumers are moving through the sales funnel. For example, 80% brand recognition means 8 out of 10 people have entered the funnel by becoming aware of the brand.
Brand recall measures unaided awareness. In surveys, respondents describe brands that come to mind related to a category or use case without cues. Higher recall reflects top-of-mind presence.
For example, if 20% of respondents name a brand when asked about athletic wear, that brand has a 20% brand recall. Top brands aim for over 50% recall.
Tracking Brand Awareness Over Time
While individual metrics offer snapshots, the most valuable awareness data tracks changes over time. Brand tracking surveys measure awareness at multiple points to quantify growth.
Brand tracking informs marketing success and plans. For example, a campaign that boosts awareness from 50% to 70% demonstrates solid ROI and the potential for further gains.
Brand Funnel Metrics
Examining brand awareness through the sales funnel provides deeper insights into growth potential. Useful metrics include:
- Total awareness: Percentage of target consumers who demonstrate aided or unaided awareness. This measures the size of the funnel opening.
- Funnel conversion rates: The % of aware consumers who move from one funnel stage to the next demonstrates solid momentum. For example: aware -> interested -> purchased. High conversation rates reflect strong consumer connections, especially at lower funnel stages where decisions form.
- Funnel drop-off: The % who fall out of the funnel at each stage reveals awareness of sticking power. Low drop-off demonstrates successfully nurturing leads through the purchase process.
Compare funnel metrics before/after campaigns to quantify accurate conversions generated by increased awareness. This proves the ROI of boosting familiarity.
Qualitative Brand Awareness Research
While quantitative data offers numerical awareness metrics, qualitative inputs reveal more profound insights into perceptions that shape awareness.
Qualitative brand tracking provides a vivid narrative around the ongoing brand-consumer relationship. Over time, trends emerge to spotlight strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
Brand association techniques explore cognitive links between brands, attributes and attitudes. This elucidates how brands take root in the audience's minds.
For example, respondents may associate a soft drink brand with refreshments, friends or happy memories. These links anchor the brand, making it feel familiar and preferred. Researchers track how associations form, deepen and evolve.
Practical association approaches include:
- Name generation: Respondents describe top-of-mind thoughts associated with hearing a brand name.
- Logo sorts: People discuss emotions, attributes and attitudes triggered after seeing brand logos and other visual assets.
- Storytelling: Open-ended questions allow participants to share anecdotes related to brand interactions.
- Photo elicitation: Images depicting target groups, environments, and use cases spark conversations about brand connections.
Marketers gain powerful perspectives into what makes audiences tick and keep brands front and centre. Sentiment analysis quantifies attitudes for further insights.
Online discussions offer authentic, unfiltered perspectives into brand associations and awareness levels.
Social listening tools comb through public social media posts, reviews, forums and blogs for brand mentions. This surfaces pains and gains that move the needle on awareness and loyalty.
For example, monitoring may detect growing complaints about declining product quality – a red flag screaming for intervention before customers jump ship. Alternatively, the buzz around successful promotions spotlights winning tactics to replicate.
By providing real-time awareness diagnostics, social listening warns about and confirms practical activities for nurturing the brand image.
Brand archetypes classify brand identities according to 12 core human motivations shared cross-culturally when branded and marketing communications align with target audience archetypes, resonance and stickiness surge.
Common archetypes include:
- The Ruler (control)
- The Innocent (safety)
- The Explorer (discovery)
- The Hero (mastery)
Researchers assess archetype alignment through interviews, surveys and focus groups covering brand personality perceptions. Over time, tracking reveals evolving archetypes that may better captivate audiences.
Measuring Brand Awareness Lift Among Target Groups
Awareness levels often differ across audience groups. Ensure brand tracking surveys segment key demographics, psychographics, regions and behaviours to uncover valuable differences.
Consider awareness lifts among these strategic segments:
- Recent purchasers
- Existing vs. new customers
- Loyalty program members
- Different generations
- Various regions/cities
- Product-specific subgroups
For example, a campaign may successfully raise awareness among young professionals but flop among retirees. Stratified data would reveal this insight to guide more intelligent targeting.
Ongoing tracking also quantifies the sticking power of lifts across groups. For instance, students may demonstrate sharp but fleeting awareness gains compared to more enduring bumps among suburban families.
Brand Asset Awareness Metrics
In addition to brand familiarity, companies often track awareness metrics for specific assets, including:
Asset awareness spotlights strengths to leverage and weaknesses requiring attention.
For example, logo recognition may be high, but slogan recall lags among target consumers. Tailored campaigns could then increase repeating the slogan to drive memorability.
Brand Awareness Lift by Marketing Channel
Which channels should marketers double down on or reduce to optimise awareness lifts? Multi-touch attribution (MTA) modelling statistically correlates exposures across channels with lifting metrics.
Sophisticated algorithms integrate funnel data to quantify actual conversions generated by each channel. While complicated under the hood, marketers simply see awareness gain percentages driven by areas like:
- Organic search
- Social pamphlets
- Retargeting ads
- Direct mail
- Website visits
Overlaying gains with channel costs calculates definitive ROI – the essential awareness lift optimisation metric.
Beyond monetary returns, marketers assess vital engagement metrics like email open rates, site time-on-page, contest entries and UGC contributions by channel. These demonstrate audience enthusiasm beyond familiarity lifts alone.
Brand Awareness Lift Benchmarks
Awareness builders blaze trails by comparing metrics against industry benchmarks:
- General brand awareness lift industry averages range between 5-15% year-over-year
- Industry leaders in crowded markets see lifts approaching 50%
- Brand launches expect a minimum of 15% awareness after the initial 12-month campaigns
- Reviving languishing legacy brands targets 5-10% annual lifts
- 80%+ awareness means reaching saturation
However, specific categories and geographic and competitive conditions drastically sway benchmarks. Know your niche’s dynamics inside-out to set lift objectives.
Research continuously refines awareness and lifts industry expectations as methods improve and evolved strategies enter practice. Continually consult updated studies and in-house data to fine-tune benchmarks.
Brand Awareness Lift Goal Setting
Transforming benchmarks into tactical targets requires thoughtful goal setting. Consider these factors when aiming for awareness lifts:
1. Current Awareness Levels
If awareness languishes under 50%, set aggressive goals to catapult into viability. But for established brands, lift targets may moderate as saturation nears.
2. Marketing Budget Expansions
More media spending allows capturing extra consumer eyeballs to hit loftier life goals. Capitalise on enlarged budgets when available.
3. Campaign Spending Optimisation
Squeeze more bang from fixed budgets by rebalancing channel investments towards high-ROI movers based on MTA modelling. Optimise each dollar through surgical spending strategies.
4. Market Growth Opportunities
Rising category adoption, sales, and consumer segments allow for efficiently reaching more potential buyers. Growth conditions make lifts more achievable.
5. Competitor Threats
Fierce competition requires sufficient lift targets to avoid share erosion. Set goals to match or surpass rival brand growth rates.
Carefully weigh these drivers when committing to brand awareness lift KPIs. Continually revise based on market dynamics over annual planning cycles.
And now, for the moment, you’ve been waiting for…
Brand Awareness Lift Measurement Methods
Sophisticated analytics convert awareness data points into tangible lift metrics to chart marketing success:
A. Brand Lift Surveys
Lift surveys compare exposed groups against control groups to isolate brand awareness changes sparked by campaigns.
Survey waves establish baseline awareness. Subsequent surveys measure lifts among only those exposed to marketing touchpoints vs. an unexposed control group. Sophisticated sampling and statistics quantify proper lift.
This reveals campaign ROI while identifying the most effective messaging, offers and creative approaches to integrate into ongoing efforts.
Lift surveys also unpack awareness growth among audience segments to sharpen further targeting. They form the cornerstone of awareness analytics.
B. Brand Lift Models
Advanced modelling synthesises mass exposure and demographic and behavioural data to predict awareness lifts. These forecasts help strategically grow and allocate marketing budgets.
Inputs range from campaign media spending and copy-testing scores to broad economic indicators. Machine learning algorithms digest these signals to estimate awareness trajectories.
Models enable scenario testing during planning – a springboard for optimising strategic and budget decisions before pulling campaign triggers. They mitigate risks through evidence-based clarity.
C. Brand Tracking Dashboards
Tracking dashboards compile various awareness studies, models, benchmarks and ad hoc research onto unified command centres.
At-a-glance data visualisations spotlight crucial brand metrics across locations, segments and campaigns. Drill-downs answer strategic questions to arm decision-makers with insights.
Customised dashboards allow collaborating teams to monitor unified awareness data otherwise scattered across reports and meetings. This drives coordinated responses to lift opportunities and threats.
D. Competitive Benchmarking
Side-by-side tracking of competitor awareness metrics helps mirror their success formulas while outpacing their growth.
Monitor rivals’ spending, messaging strategies and lifts across locations, products and marketing channels. This illuminates why their awareness expands or contracts over time – pivotal intel for sustaining your lead.
Regularly feed updated competitor awareness insights into your brand’s tracking dashboard for ongoing optimisation. Soon, you’ll widen gaps as others play catch up.
Conclusion: Committing to Awareness Lift
Measuring brand awareness pays dividends through clearly charting growth, diagnosing sales funnel obstacles and optimising tactical plans.
Quantitative brand tracking surveys should form the analytics backbone coordinated with qualitative inputs. Segmentation, modelling and competitive views provide supplementary lenses for sharp decision-making.
While boosting familiarity takes considerable investment, meticulous measurement ensures realising concrete ROI through conversions across the sales journey. Committing to awareness lift, measurement builds brands consumers can’t get enough of.
Measure Brand Awareness FAQs
How much brand awareness is considered reasonable?
While situational, 60-70% unaided awareness is a good benchmark for leading brands in most categories. Market dominators approach 90%+ recognition.
How do you calculate brand awareness lift percentage?
Subtract the current-period awareness percentage from the previous period, then divide the difference by the earlier period's percentage. For example:
Current Period Awareness: 50%
Prior Period Awareness: 40%
Lift = (Current – Previous) / Previous
= (50% – 40%) / 40%
= 10% / 40% = 25% lift
What is a good sample size for a brand awareness survey?
Professional researchers recommend approximately 350-500 respondents for statistically significant brand metrics. Break this into awareness target segments to illuminate differences.
How can companies measure brand awareness?
Conduct quantitative brand lift surveys and brand tracking studies over time. Combine this with qualitative research through focus groups, interviews, and social listening. Feed data into marketing mix models to connect tactics with results.
What are examples of strong brand awareness campaigns?
Coca-Cola built awareness through consistent branding and sponsorships. Nike’s “Just Do It” cemented cultural relevance. Red Bull’s stunt marketing keeps the buzz alive—Krispy Kreme leverages “Hot Light” store signals for local awareness. Kit Kat popularised “Take a Break” messages.