Brand Management

Measuring Brand Awareness.

Written by sheldondesousa · 2 min read >
Conceptual business illustration with the words brand awareness


A brand awareness study is a powerful tool that measures how familiar the target audience is with your brand relative to competition. When we measure brand awareness, we’re attempting to gauge how strong the relevance of our product is to a particular category. We can also use these research studies to evaluate how well marketing efforts, particularly advertising, have performed.


Methods To Appraise Brand Awareness

There are several quantitative and qualitative methods to help you conduct brand awareness research. I’ve covered some of them in another article entitled, “Consumer Research – The Impact Of Digital”. The article will give you a few ideas on how to leverage digital technology in your endeavor.

What is most important to brand awareness research is that you have a clear objective from the beginning. Your evaluation could stretch from a broader study on one end to a definitive one at the other. For the purpose of this article, we will concentrate on questionnaires, whether digitally or traditionally administered.


Types Of Questions To Consider

To begin with, you will need to develop a question set that helps you achieve your objective . These questions may be open-ended or close-ended and will essentially fall into aided and unaided buckets.

Simply put, Open-ended questions allow respondents to provide unscripted answers while close-ended questions narrow the scope of responses to pre-stated options.

Aided brand awareness questions measure the percentage of respondents who express knowledge about the brand after being prompted in some way. We intentionally point respondents in a particular direction by providing a set of brands from which to consider their answers. Though, this raises the probability of answers that may not have occurred to them naturally. Aided answers tend to account for what is called brand recognition.

Conversely, unaided brand awareness questions measure respondents that express knowledge about the brand without assistance. They rely upon a respondent’s ability to link brand names to the category without being coached. Answers to unaided questions demonstrate brand recall, an indication of strong affinity between brand and category. 

While, it is best to be on the side of brand recall, what you certainly don’t want is to be absent from brand recognition i.e. failure to rank even when presented to respondents. Brands that are neither recalled nor recognized are called graveyard brands.



Best Practices

A good practice is to begin with generalized questions before probing into specifics. So consider beginning with open ended + unaided questions and tapering off with closed ended + aided questions. Additionally, leading with unaided questions helps remove any cognitive bias from respondents.

Keep the questionnaire short to avoid testing fatigue and disinterest. Do not overcrowd or add complexity to the questionnaire. Remove ambiguities, proof read and test the questionnaire in-house before releasing it. 


Framing aided and unaided questions

To demonstrate how aided and unaided questions work,  let’s assume that you are a mobile phone manufacturer looking to gauge brand awareness with your target audience. You could simply ask respondents an unaided question: “Which mobile phone brands are you familiar with?” This allows respondents to use their own faculties to draw up a list. 

In the case of an aided question, options are provided to respondents. The same question could be reframed as:

“Which of the following mobile phone brands are you familiar with?”

  1. Samsung
  2. LG
  3. HTC
  4. Your brand name
  5. Sony
  6. Google
  7. Apple

Some of these brands would have occurred to them naturally, while others wouldn’t have without a little help.


Research Tips 

Always look for patterns among respondent answers. For instance, look for how respondents rank the brands they recall. It usually says a lot. You may ask probing questions at the end of the exercise to unearth further information like, “what is it about brand X that made an impression on you?”. Study what makes your competition better or worse in the eyes of the target audience.

Question sets should be organized to lead to an end. Spend quality time preparing the question set and try to avoid testing fatigue with respondents. After all, you want the most accurate information from them to help you assess your brand’s current position.





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