Brand awareness is one of the nebulous marketing metrics that can be difficult to define or track. What does it really mean to be “aware” of a brand? How do we determine if the right people are aware? And, most importantly, what’s the best way to measure the impact of our various marketing initiatives on improving brand awareness?
These are complex questions, but answering them doesn’t have to be an overwhelming project. By conducting regular, well-designed brand awareness surveys you can keep tabs on how effective your marketing campaigns really are.
The What and Why of Brand Awareness Surveys
By surveying your customers about your brand, you’re trying to gain insight into very specific areas of knowledge and associations. This means you’ve got to be very deliberate about your question choices (more on this later) and avoid leading respondents to offering unintentionally false data.
When done right, a brand awareness survey can help you measure:
- Brand Recall: Can a customer spontaneously recall your brand, or do they think first of a competitor?
- Brand Recognition: When presented with a list of brands, does your audience recognize yours as a reputable option?
- Brand Identity: Brand identity is what you as a marketing team create. It’s important to determine whether these efforts are being successful.
- Brand Image: While brand identity is created by the brand itself, a brand’s image is based in the customer’s perception alone. Tracking disparities in these two can reveal gaps in your marketing efforts.
- Brand Trust: In an era of data breaches, keeping tabs on your levels of brand trust is key. If your brand doesn’t appear trustworthy, you will have difficulty retaining customers.
- Brand Loyalty: Loyal customers can become evangelists, but you need to consistently track loyalty levels to determine how often this transformation is happening.
- Customer Profile: Changes in your core customer base may signal the need for a pivot, either in the product or your marketing messages (or both).
We’re going to explore each of these opportunities in depth, so your next brand awareness survey will bring you the insightful, accurate data that you need to evaluate your marketing effectiveness.
Measure Brand Recall
When consumers are able to recall your brand without aided assistance, then you know your product is top-of-mind for your product category. This is a vital metric to track, particularly if you’re in a crowded or extremely competitive product niche.
To find out if your brand is top-of-mind, use an open text answer option to see if users can automatically recall your brand.
Your survey question might look like this:
When you think of [product category], what brands come to mind?
If your brand is recalled without assistance, then you have achieved unaided brand awareness. Congratulate yourself – your marketing efforts are paying off!
If, on the other hand, your brand doesn’t come up in these open ended responses, you may need to start focusing more on the top of the sales funnel to get your name in front of more potential customers.
Tracking Brand Recognition
Sometimes your brand is not automatically associated with a product category, but if prompted with a list, a consumer will indicate that they recognize your brand’s name. This is called aided awareness or brand recognition.
To gauge brand recognition you might ask a question like this:
How familiar are you with these brands’ [product category].
Use a 5-point Likert Scale that ranges from “Extremely Familiar” to “Not At All Familiar.” List your brand along with your competitors, giving the Likert Scale option for each one.
If consumers recognize your brand, this is a good start, but you still have work to do to create top-of-mind awareness.
Quantifying Brand Identity
Brand identity is how an organization identifies and distinguishes itself from other brands; it lets consumers know who you are and creates helps an emotional connection with your product or service.
Organizations with a unique brand identity often have strong brand awareness because their branding sticks in consumers’ minds over the long term. Buyers are typically active promoters, and employees are motivated because they are proud to work for a well-known organization.
To work toward making your brand message unique and memorable, try asking these questions:
- How do you want your brand to be considered in consumer’s minds?
- Have you created a unique personality for your brand?
- What’s the story of your company/brand/product?
Remember that people love a good story. A memorable narrative gives your brand a strong personality and sets you apart from the competition.
This creates a powerful cycle, generating substantial word-of-mouth referrals which in turn result in a lift in brand awareness, more referrals, and the cycle reinforces itself.
Here are some example brand identity questions you can ask in your brand awareness survey (you would ask how strongly respondents agree or disagree with each):
XYZ is the perfect company for people like me.
I can’t imagine a world without XYZ.
Verify Brand Image
Brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived, but brand image is how it is actually perceived by consumers. Hopefully your brand image aligns with your brand identity; that’s one of the reasons to conduct a survey.
When people purchase your brand or service, they are investing in the image associated with it. This emotional connection increases your brand value, because consumers are willing to spend more money on products and services to which they feel connected.
Here is an example question you might ask in your brand awareness survey to determine your brand image:
When you think of brand X, what come to mind?
This could be an open-ended question, or you could list brand attributes and ask them to select the ones that they associate with your brand.
Ascertain Brand Trust
To create brand trust your brand image needs to be:
- Appealing: People want to connect with products associated with fame.
- Friendly: Your product is easy to use and adds value by making consumer’s lives easier or more pleasant.
- Dependable: Your product is functional and your message is consistent.
If you can achieve these three goals, then you’ve established brand trust, a key ingredient for building brand loyalty and creating great customer retention.
Here are some example questions you might ask in your brand awareness survey:
XYZ is a name I can always trust.
XYZ always delivers on what they promise.
Once again, use a 5-point Likert scale ranging from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.”
Connections Between Brand Trust and Loyalty
To keep a loyal following amongst your customer base, trust is a key ingredient.
A study conducted by Mext Consulting found that:
- 83% of consumers will recommend a brand if they trust it.
- 82% will use its products and services frequently.
- 78% will look to first for the thing they want.
- 50% will pay more for its products and services.
“If you want people to buy more, try more, and pay more for your products and services, then you need to harness the power of brand trust.”
Brand loyalty is hard in today’s world where the convenience of online shopping is prevalent.
According to a Forbes article:
“The online shopping trend conditions consumers to only make a purchase if there is a deep discount. The result is a value obsessed economy where consumers have no incentive to be loyal to any particular brand.”
When measuring customer loyalty in your brand awareness survey, consider these questions:
- Overall, how satisfied are you with XYZ?
- How likely are you to continue to choose/repurchase XYZ?
- How likely are you to recommend XYZ to a friend/associate?
Determine Customer Profiles
Last but not least, when conducting your brand awareness survey use basic demographic questions to learn more about your consumers.
This data will let you know if you need to refine your customer persona, or possibly begin marketing to a different audience.
If you don’t want to conduct a completely separate survey just to check in on your customer profiles, you can incorporate these types of questions into regular interactions with your customers. If they create an online account you may be able to glean some of this data at that point. Or, if they make a purchase you can include a few additional fields to grab extra data without much inconvenience to the customers.
Brand Awareness Surveys Should Establish A Brand Marketing Plan
Use your brand awareness results to establish your marketing strategy and fine tune it over the long term.
Based on the results you may need to:
- Refine your customer profile
- Target your messaging
- Select more effective advertising channels
- Expand into new marketing avenues
It may take time for your brand awareness metrics to show significant changes based on your campaigns, so don’t switch tactics when you don’t see immediate results.