Brand awareness is a marketing term that indicates how familiar consumers are with a certain brand. Market researchers determine brand awareness through surveys of target groups on specific brands or product categories. Based on these surveys, a percentage value is calculated which indicates how many participants remembered the name of a brand under certain conditions.
The three levels of brand awareness
Marketers often differentiate between three levels of brand awareness. The stages describe how quickly respondents remember a particular brand. These are:
- Top-of-Mind Awareness: This is the first brand that people think of when they are given a certain product group. Examples are Apple or Samsung as brands in the category of smartphones.
- Unaided recall: Participants still remember a brand "unaided", i.e. without outside support, but only after a while. This level of awareness influences spontaneous purchasing decisions to a smaller extent than top-of-mind awareness.
- Aided Recall: The third level of brand awareness is called “aided recall” or “recognition”. Survey participants do not remember the brand name without help and only recognize it when they are told its name. This kind of awareness is useful for companies when customers take more time for research before making a purchase decision.
Figure: The three levels of brand awareness, Author: Seobility
How to measure brand awareness
As mentioned above, brand awareness can be measured through direct interviews with members of the target group. For example, participants can be shown a brand logo and be asked to name the brand. This is usually done through direct face-to-face surveys, for instance on the street or in a studio. Phone or email surveys are less suitable for this type of market research since it often uses pictures or long lists of brand names.
These surveys allow you to find out how many people can assign a logo to a particular brand. You should determine your potential customers’ brand awareness at regular intervals so you can react quickly to a possible loss of awareness with suitable marketing campaigns.
Ways to increase brand awareness
There is a wide range of options available to increase brand awareness. These include classic actions such as TV, print, or radio advertising, with a variety of strategies for each channel. Today, digital advertisements such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads complement these classic ad formats. Another effective way to increase the visibility and reach of your brand is through search engine optimization (SEO).
In addition to these marketing channels, there are many methods to increase brand awareness that are more simple and cost-effective. These include, for example:
- Referral programs: Customers recommend your product or service to friends and receive additional benefits. In today's digital age, this can be done by offering additional features for online services. For example, a cloud storage provider could offer additional capacity to users that convince friends to create an account. By recommending an eCommerce site, users might receive a certain amount of money paid into their personal account. Through personal recommendations, brand awareness can be increased without a lot of additional efforts.
- High-quality social media content: Social media has the decisive advantage that they allow your company to distribute high-quality content on the internet virtually free of charge (apart from the costs of content creation, of course). If this content is relevant for users, it is shared and can thus easily contribute to increased brand awareness. High-quality articles by expert guest authors also help to engage in public discussion on current topics, which in turn increases brand awareness. A well planned social media strategy that answers the following questions is crucial for the success of such actions: "Which target group should be addressed?" and "Which social networks are best suited for this?" What works on Facebook, for example, does not automatically lead to the same success on Xing. Note that the articles should also deal with topics that are related to your product or service and at best emphasize a unique feature of your brand compared to your competitors. As part of such a strategy, you should set up a content management plan to ensure that new content is regularly distributed to your target group and that your social media profile is kept up-to-date.
- Social media raffles: In addition to publishing content on social media, you can also give users the opportunity to create content in the context of competitions, for example. Not only is this fun for participants, but it also encourages them to share the competition with friends. This automatically results in a recommendation for your company, which can significantly increase brand awareness.
These three examples illustrate that there are many new ways to increase brand awareness in the digital age besides the classic promotional gifts of the past.
Importance of search engine optimization (SEO) for brand awareness
As mentioned above, you can increase your ranking in Google's search results and thus increase your brand's visibility on the web by optimizing your website for search engines. This leads to people noticing your company and increases their brand awareness.
An increased brand awareness makes it easier to take the next step in digital marketing, such as email marketing, social media marketing, or banner advertising. The result is a better-known brand, which usually also generates growing trust among the target group.
Importance for online shops
A well-known brand enjoys advantages over unknown competing products not only in classic retail but also in eCommerce. For online shops, brand awareness is even more important because customers cannot directly inspect the quality of a product. Touching and testing is not possible here. They order online and often rely on a brand's popularity because they assume an equally high quality from a well-known brand. For this reason, companies should constantly maintain their brand awareness to generate high revenues even in the highly competitive online market.