In today’s world, the importance of a company’s image cannot be overstated. Indeed, when we think of some of the world’s biggest companies, we can find one thing that unites them all, regardless of their market niche, target audience or industry. What is this single commonality? It’s an idea you’re likely already familiar with and one of the central principles of marketing: brand awareness.
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever for people to start their own companies. As a result, the internet is home to an apparently endless sea of enterprises and start-ups, each hoping to make their mark on the commercial landscape — though, not all succeed. Studies indicate that around 20% of small businesses are doomed to fail in their first two years; hence, brand awareness is a crucial factor that stands between these fledgling companies and oblivion.
In this article, we’ll explain what brand awareness is, why it’s so important, and how it can be measured, among other things. So, if you’re curious about this fascinating topic, read on to find out all about it!
What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is the term marketers use to describe the level of familiarity an audience has with a particular business. The more brand awareness a company has, the more recognizable they are, and the more likely they are to be considered trendy or popular.
Most people don’t spend hours of their day mulling over ideas like brand awareness, but nevertheless, we all have some understanding of it. We are inundated with thousands upon thousands of ads and trademarks per day, and yet, there are certain fonts, slogans and logos that we immediately recognize and associate with a particular company. McDonald’s Golden Arches, the swirling white font on a red Coca-Cola can, Nike’s world-famous “Just Do It” slogan — these are just a few examples of some immediately recognizable trademarks you’re no doubt familiar with.
The ubiquitous nature of such logos and slogans is proof of the importance of visibility and awareness. Big names like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Nike are known in every corner of the globe. Their omnipresence helps to ensure their lasting relevance and popularity.
Brand awareness can be broadly divided into two categories: aided brand awareness and unaided brand awareness. Next, we’ll explain the difference between the two.
Aided Brand Awareness
Aided brand awareness, otherwise known as brand recognition, refers to a customer being able to distinguish a particular brand visually. To return to the above examples, recognition of the McDonald’s logo, a Coca-Cola can or Nike packaging would all be examples of aided brand awareness. Visual elements like logos, slogans and typefaces all play a significant part in how memorable a company is.
Unaided Brand Awareness
Unaided brand awareness, otherwise known as brand recall, refers to a product’s recognition factor when unaided by external cues such as labels, ads, trademarks and so on. A number of factors contribute to a consumer’s recall ability, including their level of loyalty and their knowledge of the company. If an individual were to fill out a brand awareness questionnaire asking for their preferred clothing label and they responded with a name like Zara or H&M without prompting, this would be an example of unaided brand awareness in action.
Why is Brand Awareness Important?
There are a couple of reasons why brand awareness is important. For one, as a company becomes more widely recognized, it is far more likely that consumers will find them relatable and trustworthy, which will, in turn, encourage them to seek out the company’s goods and services. A simple example of this would be a consumer choosing to buy name-brand foods over store-brand foods, even when there is virtually no difference between the two products. In this scenario, it’s the company’s name that’s doing the heavy lifting!
Brand awareness is also important because it helps your business become more popular among a wider range of potential consumers. The greater recognition a company receives, the greater its cultural relevance. When companies boost their visibility, consumers are more likely to recognize their logo, recommend their products, engage with them on social media and — the most important of them all — seek out their goods and services without prompting.
In short, brand awareness is crucial to the success of any business. It helps to draw in audiences and convert them into loyal, returning customers, thereby ensuring the business will receive a steady stream of revenue. To put it another way, brand awareness drives brand equity. We’ll explore this topic in the very next section.
Brand Awareness Vs. Brand Equity
Another commonly used term in marketing is brand equity. This can best be understood as your company’s value — that is to say, both its social and commercial value — as derived from the public perception of your business. Informed by a consumer’s experience with your company, this value may be either positive or negative, depending on the quality of service the consumer received from you.
As you can see, brand awareness and brand equity are two closely related ideas, but these terms are not interchangeable. So, what is their relationship?
Simply put, building brand awareness is how brand equity is established. Marketers promote positive experiences and associations with their company, helping to build trusting relationships with consumers. In this way, they establish loyalty and increase perceived value. This benefits the business in the following ways by:
- Raising the price of goods and services;
- Boosting stock prices;
- Making business expansion more viable;
- Generating an increased social impact.
How to Measure Brand Awareness
Clearly, brand awareness plays a key role in marketing. Given that, it seems clear that businesses should make an effort to enhance their public image and increase visibility. In order to increase brand awareness, though, you first have to know how to measure awareness. After all, how will you be able to tell whether you’re meeting your goals if you have no way of evaluating your performance and keeping track of your progress?
So, how do you measure brand awareness? Solutions can be grouped into two separate categories:
- Quantitative methods: These methods involve using numerical data to determine the rate of brand awareness growth. You can use brand awareness KPIs like site traffic, social media engagement and ad impressions for this purpose.
- Qualitative methods: These methods are a little more difficult to quantify, as they are based on subjective value judgments and not hard numbers. Examples include posting a brand awareness survey, listening to word of mouth and tracking expanding internet real estate (i.e., the amount of exposure your brand is getting in online spaces).
Increasing Your Brand Awareness Measurement
Once you have achieved a clear understanding of how to gauge brand visibility, you’re ready to start developing your brand awareness. Make no mistake: a single commercial or advertising campaign isn’t enough to generate strong brand awareness with your demographic. This is an intensive process and one that is unlikely to fall into place overnight.
Instead, this sort of visibility is something that will develop organically off the back of a myriad of smaller decisions you make. How you choose to present your business will play a large role in how it is perceived by consumers.
A few steps you can take to build this awareness include:
- Developing a unique, personable voice. You’re unlikely to attract many customers if people perceive your business as a soulless, faceless entity. Whether designing a website landing page or crafting an advertisement, consider the topics and values that matter to your business. This will help you to create a personality that is relatable to consumers.
- Making connections online. Research shows that more than 50% of a brand’s reputation depends on web-based social interactions. Try to make every effort to connect with your audience online by leaving comments, sharing and promoting content and making social media posts designed to encourage interaction.
- Utilizing the power of storytelling. Never underestimate the power of a good story. If you take the time to craft a compelling narrative around your business, it will be easier for members of your target audience to relate to you and invest in your company. Furthermore, storytelling will add a feeling of authenticity to your company that will help build client trust in the long run.
Key Brand Awareness Metrics
We’ve already touched on brand awareness measurements, explaining that they can be measured quantitatively or qualitatively. Now, we’re going to explore this further, breaking down six of the most widely used brand awareness metrics and explaining how they can help you understand your company’s visibility.
Social and Non-Social Reach
Social and non-social reach are both metrics that estimate how many people see your content. As their names suggest, the former refers specifically to the visibility percentage of content posted to social media platforms, such as YouTube, TikTok or Instagram. The latter, on the other hand, refers to content that is posted beyond social media: news sites, blogs, podcasts and other such places. As your reach expands so does the number of people who are exposed to your content, thereby increasing brand awareness.
Search Volume Data
Search volume is a measurement of how many times a particular keyword has been searched. While often used for keyword research in SEO practices, search volume tools can also be employed to help you determine how many people are searching for your business online. The more people are looking for you, the better, as that means word of your company is getting around either through word of mouth or social media.
In digital marketing terms, an impression refers to an individual seeing an ad, whether on a mobile app, website or somewhere else. Even if the viewer pays no attention to said ad, so long as it is visible on the screen while they have the app or webpage open, it will be counted as an impression. Impressions cannot tell you someone’s opinion about your content, but they can at least let you know whether or not anyone is seeing it.
A company’s presence score is a brand awareness KPI that measures its popularity in online spaces. They are rated on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 representing the highest possible score, often reached by world-renowned labels and popular or trending topics. A presence score is a straightforward way of comparing your company to others on the market while monitoring its progress.
Tracking how many people visit your website lets you know how effective your current marketing strategy is. The better your brand awareness, the more people will hear about your site and visit it. Marketers can also access tools that tell them where certain traffic came from — for example, whether a web user visited it directly by typing in the site URL or came across it organically through a Google search. This more in-depth analysis can be particularly useful, as it allows you to see which traffic sources are the best.
Keeping an eye on mentions allows you to see who is talking about your company, as well as whether they’re saying positive or negative things about it. Mentions are any unsolicited promotions aimed by consumers, which include everything from reviews posted on blogs to direct links on social media.
Share of Voice
Share of voice, often shortened to SOV, is a measure of how much your company is being talked about online as compared to your main competitors. This KPI doesn’t take into account the quality of the coverage, only how much there is. A high SOV indicates that, in relation to your competitors, you are acquiring as much or more coverage from online sources — for example, web blogs, news sites or X, formerly known as Twitter. This brand awareness metric is essential and should not be neglected.
Social Media Engagement
In recent years, social media has only continued to climb in popularity, with an increasing number of people discovering businesses through online spaces. As a result, social networks like X, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram have become crucial elements in a digital marketer’s toolkit. Engagement across these platforms — comments, likes, shares and so on — have become one of the main ways to assess brand awareness.
Pro Tip: Track Your Competitors’ Brand Awareness Metrics
When it comes to brand awareness, your company’s performance shouldn’t be your only concern. At the very least, you should monitor your competitors’ performance as well.
Keeping an eye on competitors’ visibility lets you see how well they’re doing and gives you an idea of what you’re up against. But even more importantly, based on their brand awareness metrics, you can determine which of their market strategies are working and which aren’t. To track these figures, you can use a mix of SEO ranking software, content marketing platforms and backlink analysis. Alternatively, even something as simple as checking your competitors’ social media pages can give you some idea of how well they’re performing.
Awareness Metrics FAQs
How can I measure brand awareness for my company or brand?
There are a number of metrics you can use to monitor and quantify your visibility. These metrics can be divided into quantitative and qualitative measures. The former uses numerical data to determine brand awareness (e.g., site traffic or online engagement), while the latter uses more subjective value judgments (e.g., word of mouth or Googling for opinions).
What are some key metrics and KPIs used to track brand awareness?
A few of the most commonly used brand measurement metrics to track visibility include direct traffic, organic traffic, social engagement, coverage and mentions. However, this is only a very small selection of KPIs for brand awareness. There are many other measures out there you might wish to employ.
What tools or software can I use to track and analyze brand awareness data?
There are various brand awareness measurement tools that can be used to monitor visibility. For example, marketers might use social media management tools to track social network engagements and organic mentions. Other handy pieces of software include Google Analytics, ads accounts, SEO tools and more. We recommend using a mix of these brand measurement tools to attain the best possible results and ensure your company and its products are recognizable to your target audience.
Are there industry benchmarks or standards for measuring brand awareness?
Once you’ve collected and assimilated the necessary data, you’ve finally put the most research-intensive part of this process behind you — well done! However, brand awareness measurement doesn’t end here. In order for these statistics to really mean something, you must have an industry standard to measure them against. You can establish such a baseline either by setting it in relation to your competitors or through monitoring awareness metrics before you start developing your image.
What are some practical tips for improving brand awareness based on measurement results?
A few tips that might help marketers increase brand awareness based on measurement results include getting to know the company’s target audience; utilizing social media effectively; creating free, shareable content; implementing loyalty schemes and promotional campaigns; and cultivating a solid company image. Additionally, we recommend that you frequently review visibility measurements, as that will allow you to make any necessary adjustments to your business plan.
Is there a relationship between brand awareness and brand loyalty, and how can I leverage this connection?
There certainly is a relationship between brand awareness and brand loyalty, and one you’d do well to take advantage of. Strong brand awareness means more people who will get to hear about what you do and more members of your target demographic who will gravitate toward you. As a result, you build a customer base composed of people who believe in your goals and feel loyal to your company.
How do I align brand awareness measurement with overall business objectives and marketing goals?
All aspects of your marketing plan should work steadily in the same direction. For example, if you’re looking to create a unique selling point to ensure you stand out from a crowd, you should make sure that it lines up with the image you’ve presented of your company so far. This way, you’ll be able to continue improving visibility, which in the long term will help all areas of your business, from conversion rates to revenue.
Brand awareness is one of the most important considerations for any digital marketer. The better a company’s image is, the more valuable it will become.
Nowadays, advertising teams have access to a plethora of brand awareness tools to help them cultivate this visibility — so much so that knowing where to start can be daunting. In this article, we’ve explained what brand awareness is, why it’s important and how to measure brand awareness KPI; additionally, we’ve provided you with a range of strategies used to generate this metric. It’s our hope that this will give you a good place to start as well as a solid foundation of knowledge.
Still have a few questions about brand awareness and its importance in advertising your business? That’s understandable! It’s a complicated topic, one with many different moving parts. If you’d like to know more about this subject while benefiting from the support of a personal manager and a team of creative specialists, we encourage you to create an account with MGID today. If you’d like to find out more about the services we offer before signing up, you can do so here. With MGID, you get access to a varied selection of advanced digital marketing tools that can help your company perform at its best.