Measuring Brand Awareness
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is what it says on the tin. It is about how much people recall your brand and the products, services, qualities and values it represents. When you build a brand you want to make sure that all your hard work and passion, you have put into the brand you have built is remembered, indeed you want it to be more than that, you want people to recall it and associate with it. You also want them to recommend it, champion it and spread the brand within their networks.
Why do I need to worry about brand awareness?
Ensuring recall, recognition and referral is the reason for brands, and brand awareness is the starting point of the marketing and sales funnels (see our page on ROI and Pipelines). It can also help create and foster trust and credibility, all of which increases the authority of your brand with your audience. If your audience feels more confident about your brand, your first step on the awareness, interest, desire and action (AIDA) model for sales and marketing conversion is fulfilled.
So if you are unsure about the power of brand awareness, think about what you call a vacuum cleaner; “Hoover” right? Hoover is a brand name, yet it has become the brand name, that has become the name for a category of products. Also consider “Just do it”; I’m sure you know who this belongs to… Nike of course. But I bet you’re thinking about sports, success and achievement.
These strong brand associations may be the difference between the brand your target audience choose or choose not to. That’s why it’s important. Brand awareness lets you become the brand of choice.
What are the benefits to measuring brand awareness?
If you measure your brand awareness, it can help you understand:
• Audience awareness (recall, recognition, association)
• The impact of marketing (word of mouth, referral)
• The impact on sales
• The impact on market share
• Development of your brand equity
• The impact on customer loyalty.
All of this is important for your business to know. It helps you establish, not only how you are performing, but also enable you to benchmark against your competitors. All of these should impact the turnover of the business if managed correctly.
With increased brand awareness, you are looking to build positive experiences and perceptions. This builds brand equity. Increases in brand equity create higher perceived values and therefore the opportunity to increase sales values, helping to increase stock or company values and role out other products or services (diversification or service/product extension).
How do I create brand awareness?
It takes time and effort to create successful brands. Most importantly it takes multiple interactions and a structured and repeated exposure of your brand to your audience. This can be referred to as effective frequency. Many in marketing say there is a “rule of seven”, which means that your targeted audience would need to be exposed to your marketing (including brand) 7 times before recognition and recall occurs, however, with the increase of exposure to marketing through social media for example, this is said now to be somewhere between 6-20 times (from a Microsoft Investigation). Therefore targeted, consistent and repeated exposure to your brand is important.
There are number of models that describe how a customer progresses through a sequence of stages from awareness to purchase. These models demonstrate how marketing communications and strategies help to stimulate the purchases or adoption of the product or service. One of these models; AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action), which we referred to earlier, helps to simplify the complicated process of awareness to knowledge, to adoption, preference, conviction and purchase.
Therefore ensuring ensure you follow the four steps of; Research, Strategy, Communications and Design, and Measurement will help you build a brand that is strong enough to work across all your strategies and communications. The keys to making sure these messages are effective is ensuring they are:
Consistent – ensure the message, style and look remain the same or the core elements at least.
Credible – remain true to your brand mission, vision and values to show you mean what you say.
Concise – don’t over complicate the brand, make it as straight forward and logical for your audience, stick to the core elements you need then to know.
How do I measure brand awareness?
Google’s Search Console allows you to measure impressions, times and dates if you’re running a campaign. It can provide information on where organic and paid searches are coming from and identify increases. You can also use the console and Google Analytics to review the geographical areas traffic is coming from.
If you’re looking to measure awareness through these processes, Google recommends you create a cost/value against what you’re measuring. For example, adding a cost/value against more impressions (number of chances that your audience may have had the opportunity to see an advert) or click-through’s (often referred to as click-through rates or CTR’s), or even traffic to defined pages.
Social Media Research
With so many platforms, it’s important to know which are the most important to your businesses audience (visit our Social Media page to learn more about this). We would suggest you focus on analysing how much ‘reach’ your brand has on these platforms, in the first instance. This is looking at how many impressions and interactions from unique users are happening on particular platforms. It’s important to research what each platform interprets as reach. There are three types of reach; organic, paid or viral. This great article from Hootsuite will help explain more.
Mentions are, just as you expect, detailing when and where your company has been mentioned via the internet or social media. There are a number of sites you can sign up to help monitor these mentions including Google Trends, Mention and Social Spout. You can read about more monitoring tools, thanks to Buffer. Not only do they tell you when and where you were visited from, but in what context and whether it’s a good or bad mention and how many times this has been seen (and more besides). A lot of these sites will make comparisons with your competitors too. Ideally you require positive perception and influence outcomes from interaction with your brand, in order to achieve high levels of brand awareness.
Sometimes the simplest ways are the most effective. A good old-fashioned survey can be a great way to discover if your key audiences are aware of your brand and react to it in the way you require. Do they recognize your logo, do they know the company name, do they know what you offer, your values, whether they react positively to your brand and how you compare to your competition? Do this for your current clients, as well as possible target audiences. Don’t forget to ask at the time of any interaction with your audience how they found you, that counts too!
What else do I need to know?
You cannot make assumptions about brand awareness. You live and breathe your brand, and so it is easy to be blinkered to the fact that those outside of your circle may not know your brand as well as you think. Increasing brand awareness helps you increase attention, interest, desire and action, and therefore sales from new sources. Which is really what you want in order to help grow your business long term.
Positive perception and consistency with the brand is key. Researching how you are perceived now, without assuming the answers is really important. Combining this with our four steps; research with a strong marketing strategy, on point communication and design, and the measurement of its effectiveness will be key to enabling you to grow your brand awareness and in turn your business long term.
At Need to Know Marketing we love providing information for SME’s so they can grow. We also understand this work can be time consuming and difficult to begin with. To assist you, we provide a free of charge one hour consultation, where we have an open discussion about your business objectives and what you’re looking to achieve.
Following the consultation we will provide you with a marketing strategy, advising how we recommend meeting your business objectives through marketing. If you are interested in knowing the cost of our services, you can use our calculator as a guide.
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”