Brand awareness is the extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers, and is correctly associated with a particular product. Expressed usually as a percentage of the target market, brand awareness is the primary goal of advertising in the early months or years of a product's introduction.
Brand awareness is related to the functions of brand identities in consumers’ memory and can be reflected by how well the consumers can identify the brand under various conditions. Brand awareness includes brand recognition and brand recall performance. Brand recognition refers to the ability of the consumers to correctly differentiate the brand they previously have been exposed to. This does not necessarily require that the consumers identify the brand name. Instead, it often means that consumers can respond to a certain brand after viewing its visual packaging images. Brand recall refers to the ability of the consumers to correctly generate and retrieve the brand in their memory.
A brand name that is well known to the great majority of households is also called a household name.
"Awareness, attitudes, and usage (AAU) metrics relate closely to what has been called the Hierarchy of Effects, an assumption that customers progress through sequential stages from lack of awareness, through initial purchase of a product, to brand loyalty." In total, these AAU metrics allow companies to track trends in customer knowledge and attitudes.
Although the hierarchy of effects is considered as a one-way linear relationship, these three stages are not “clear-cut”. The causal link might be reversed. The usage could cause the awareness while the attitudes can also influence the awareness. For example, one owned a Dell wireless mouse and had excellent using experience. Such experience might determine the one’s favorite brand attitude toward Dell.
Brand awareness plays a major role in a consumer’s buying decision-making process. During this process, the category need is stimulated first. For example, you need to do food shopping. You will only write down the food categories, like chocolate, instead of brand names on your list. You will scan the packages of chocolate on the shelf and recognize different brands. Such recognition might be based on the knowledge of an acquaintance or friend having used the product in the past or constant advertisement. In this situation, brand awareness does not require brand recall because brand awareness may occur along with brand recognition. However, in other situations, brand recall is required. For instance, you are in a hurry and want to grab a bite at a fast-food restaurant. It is not possible for you to drive around and make a decision. You need to retrieve different fast-food brands in your memory, choose one and go there directly. In this situation, constant advertisement is important in consumers’ memory retrieval because the consumers are willing to go to the first brand that can be recalled.
The eventual goal of most businesses is to make profits and increase sales. Businesses intend to increase their consumer pool and encourage repeat purchases. Apple is a brilliant example of how there is a very high recognition of the brand logo and high anticipation of a new product being released by the company. An iPod is the first thing that pops into our minds when we think of purchasing an mp3 player. iPod is used as a replaceable noun to describe an mp3 player. Finally, high brand awareness about a product suggests that the brand is easily recognizable and accepted by the market in a way that the brand is differentiated from similar products and other competitors. Brand building also helps in improving brand loyalty.
Measures of Brand Awareness
Aided Awareness- This type of awareness is generated in a consumer. When asked about a product category, if the consumer is aided with a list of company names and he recognizes the company from the given set it is categorized as aided awareness.
Spontaneous awareness --- When asked about a product category, the consumers are asked to list brands they know without any cues.
Top of the mind Awareness- When the name of the company is automatically recollected because the consumer very promptly associates the brand with the product category, it is called a top of the mind awareness of the product. It’s the first brand name listed by the consumers when asked to name brands they know without any cues.
Mokhira discussion in industry and practice about the meaning and value of various brand awareness metrics. Recently, an empirical study appeared to put this debate to rest by suggesting that all awareness metrics were systematically related, simply reflecting their difficulty, in the same way that certain questions are more difficult in academic exams.
Channels of Brand Awareness
There are many ways to generate brand awareness in the consumers. Listed below are four such channels
Advertising is the activity or profession of producing information for promoting the sale of commercial products or services. Advertising is used through various media to generate brand awareness within consumers. They can be aired as radio ads, television commercials, internet etc.
Guerrilla Marketing creative campaigns allow every small firm to compete with bigger firms by carving out narrow but profitable niches. Nowadays, big firms also use guerrilla marketing to catch consumers’ attention at low cost. These tactics include (1) extreme specialization, (2) aiming every effort at favourably impressing the customers, (3) providing service that goes beyond the customers' expectations, (4) fast response time, (5) quick turnaround of jobs, and (6) working hours that match the customer's requirements. The term 'Guerrilla Marketing' is a registered trademark of author Jay Levinson who popularized it through his several 'Guerrilla' books.
It is an out of the ordinary way of marketing a product. Low-cost channels can be utilised to generate a high level of interest in the product and create brand awareness. Utilisation of personal contacts is the most popular way of guerrilla marketing. Product Placement is an advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usually through appearances in film, television, or other media.
A formal agreement between the product manufacturer and a media company can be generated through which the media company also receives an economic benefit, usually in the form of a fee. The media company in return will showcase the product through any of the various means they have available to make the brand stand out. Some people, however, consider product placement to be deceptive and unethical.
For example, Coca-Cola could pay a given fee to have the title character drinking a Coke, instead of a Pepsi beverage, or Toyota might pay to have one of the characters drive their newest automobile. Through product placement, companies hope that moviegoers will take note of the products used by the characters, and therefore think more strongly about using the products themselves. Social Media is the most contemporary and cost-effective way of creating a brand awareness with an online audience. Many companies use social media like Facebook, YouTube, blogs etc.
Maintaining Brand Awareness is a very important aspect in marketing a company. It is imperative and very helpful to analyze the response your audience has towards the change in packaging, advertising, products and messages sent across through various means. Working towards creating an image in the minds of the consumers is not the last thing a company should aim to do. Inviting consumer feedback and maintaining a constant presence in the market is equally essential. Availability of the product to the consumer is one such way of doing this. The consumer should not have to come looking for you when he is in need of making a second purchase of the product, dealerships and outlets at convenient places should make the consumer think of the brand as the most convenient and best solution to their needs of fulfillments.
While brand awareness scores tend to be quite stable at aggregate level, individual consumers show considerable propensity to change their responses to aided recall based brand awareness measures. For unaided recall based brand awareness measures, consumers’ brand awareness remain relatively stable. For top of mind recall measures, consumers give the same answer in two interviews typically only 50% the time. Similar low levels of consistency in response have been recorded for other cues to elicit brand name responses.
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