Why and How to Measure Brand Awareness

“If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – vitaldesign

In the previous exposition, we discussed about the importance of building brand awareness and reach. As per the quote, any initiative must be ‘measured’ and monitored to understand whether it is achieving its goals and pre-determined purpose. It therefore, does not suffice to take actions towards gaining visibility for the brand, a company must also measure brand awareness strategies and campaigns to ascertain the efficacy and success. Brand awareness is described as the portion of customers in a market who are able to recall and name a brand, and this is one of the most effective ways for a company to gauge the visibility and success of its brand. Brand awareness is indispensable for the success of a company – a unique, strong, and standout brand helps a company attract more business and other positive interest from the market. However, unless a company is able to measure the brand awareness strategies it has in place, it would be extremely tough to remedy any problems, or enhance any of the good features.

Being able to build brand awareness would usually be the foremost aim of advertising and promotional activities of a company. In order to build interest and engagement for a brand, customers must first know about the brand, hence ensuring that people know your company and brand exist, and the value they bring, become crucial. Marketing and PR experts say that the most potent form and most obvious way to measure brand awareness is that customers think about and turn to the brand when they need to buy a product within the categories offered by a company’s brand. Repeated exposure and consistently delivering top quality customer service and products are great ways to ensure engagement with the brand. An increase in sales, repeated purchases, and strong referrals are all indications and ways to measure brand awareness and success.

Another way to measure brand awareness is by measuring the growth of your brand equity. This goes beyond the actual products and services offered by a company. It is about the reputation, greater selling potential, and overall perception of the brand’s value – if there is an increase in these areas, a company can be sure that the awareness around its brand is increasing. In addition, a great indication and measure of brand awareness is when the larger audience ‘hears’ about a brand through ‘word of mouth’ – existing customers talking highly about the brand. Over time, stronger relationships with customers, a surge in the customer base, and positive attention from the market – all together would be the way to measure brand awareness.

The good news is that being able to measure brand awareness is now a lot easier, with the evolution of the internet, and digital technology that seems to be new every minute. People have better and consistent access to information and news about companies, brands, products, and other data, and are able to access this information from anywhere and anytime via their mobile devices. Additionally, people are using social media tools and platforms increasingly to communicate with each other about a brand – both good and bad comments. For companies and brands, this means that the reputation could either be built or destroyed, depending on how customers view the company and its brand. To measure brand awareness therefore, it would be necessary for a company to know what customers believe about its integrity, business practices, and its involvement with community issues and causes.

We repeat and reiterate that even if a company’s brand is great, and people do not know of it, or have never heard of it, the company and brand may as well shut down. To build and measure brand awareness would be the first steps to eventually gaining customer loyalty. Customers must not only recall the brand, they should have strong positive feelings about it – strong enough to make them use it repeatedly and recommend it to others too. Measuring the brand awareness strategies is critical to know if the initial and continuous branding campaigns of the company have been and continue to have the desired effect. An increase in traffic on the website and social media sites of the company is a good measure of brand awareness.

It is important for a company to establish first its goals for the branding campaigns. Once that is done, it would need be necessary to put in strategies to measure brand awareness through statistics of ‘visits’, conversions, and referrals. The idea is to get in front of as many people as possible within the target audience and even beyond. You never know who might become a customer in the future! While it is understandable that most advertisers have a branding goal of creating awareness, being able to measure brand awareness is equally important to know how effective the strategies are in achieving the ‘goal’. The fact is that it would not be useful to a company if many people know about the brand and yet do not buy – one of the ways to measure brand awareness is obviously then, increased sales and revenue. Another sure shot way is increase in reach and frequency of an advertisement or promotion to customers. A higher reach means that the promotion is exposed to a larger number of potential customers, which in turn means enhanced brand awareness, and frequency deals with the number of times a potential customer was exposed to the promotion over period. An increase in either would be a good measure of brand awareness.

Brand recognition and recall are two other techniques to measure brand awareness. A company should aim to make the name of its brand the first name that customers would measure when asked to ‘recall’ a brand in a certain category. This is important since it would mean that when customers actually decide to buy, the brand they recall the easiest and quickest, would be the brand they would purchase. Brands that are able to ‘acquire’ top spot and ‘front of the mind’ position are more successful because of their competitive edge. Additionally, the customer’s ability to identify a brand through colours, font, and logo design better than they identify any other brand, means that the brand has achieved brand recognition. The brands that achieve low recognition could work towards refining / revamping their content and design, as also marketing techniques and communication.

Tracking the ‘following’ and ‘likes’ of a brand over social media is a sure, effective, and useful way to measure brand awareness. By measuring brand following, a company can monitor the growth or decline in the levels of enthusiasm in their existing and potential customer bases. Since people share candid feedback via social media, it would be prudent for a company to take serious note of the comments and ‘discussions’ around its brand. While all publicity is good, a company must aim to gain only positive comments and likes.

A popular management mantra is to have goals that are specific, achievable, time bound, and realistic. However, one can never know if the goals meet these criteria unless they are measured. Hence, the way to know whether your brand is achieving its goal of reach and visibility, it makes sense to measure brand awareness.

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