Brand awareness

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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.[1]

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.[2] 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.[3] Brand recall refers to the ability of the consumers to correctly generate and retrieve the brand in their memory.[2]

A brand name that is well known to the great majority of households is also called a household name.

Brand awareness plays a huge part in the success of brands. There are many different ways to market a brand in order for it to display a certain image in the minds of consumers.It can be a logo, a name, a colour etc. that links itself to a brand in the mind of the consumer. Brand awareness and recognition is a step for marketers in communications as it affects the consumer choices that are made when it comes to the point of purchasing. A brand that is more well-known than others is more likely to be chosen for purchase over a brand where little is known about them.

Consumers are less likely to purchase from a brand they don’t recognise or hardly recognise as it can be perceived as a risk for them and consumers do not typically like risks, as it means they could potentially waste their money.


"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.[4]

Brand awareness can be separated into two different categories, brand recall and brand recognition. These can be indicated by multiple measures such as if the customer is familiar with the brand, knows the brand, and knows the characteristics of the brand. To be specific, the recall is the recollection the customer has of the brand; whereas recognition is the previous experiences the consumer has with the brand that enables them to distinguish it from others. Brand recognition is emphasized more rather than brand recall as the potential customers rely on information from others and the experience that they have had with this particular brand in their decision making factor, in other words “brand awareness acts as a certification. As a result, consumers’ purchase decisions depend on whether they have seen or heard of the brand.” [5]

The significance of brand awareness is that consumers include it in their decision making process when purchasing then evaluating the product. A famous brand versus an unknown brand has a higher chance of being picked off the shelf due to the recognition the customer has towards it as it can increase their positive evaluation on the good and reduce the risks involved in trying a new product that the consumer is not confident in buying, thus meaning the brand with the higher awareness can strengthen their customer loyalty as the customer will continue to purchase the brand they know and love. This then means the well-recognised brand can afford to have a higher price compared to their competition as customers have a higher confidence in purchasing it and would rather pay more for a brand that has a higher awareness compared to the alternative.[6] An influential aspect that increases brand awareness is celebrity aided brand recall, as “The effect of celebrity endorsement is high when the celebrity image and product fit is achieved.” [7] A study indicated that the impact that celebrity endorsement has on the future profits of the brand is positive, which recommends that the brand use some form of celebrity endorsement to increase brand awareness. This influences the awareness, as these leaders perceive a believable with an honest opinion, and are seen as influential leaders in the community[7]

To give an example, Mcdonalds has created an “anthropomorphic brand character” known as Ronald Mcdonald. “In an increasingly competitive marketplace, companies rely on brand characters to create awareness, convey key product/service attributes or benefits, and attract consumers (Keller, 2003)”. These characters benefit the brand and push the importance of brand awareness as they create an image in the consumer’s mind and convey meaning to the consumer that they take away and will take into consideration when choosing one brand over the other. Characters with identity carry the brands identity itself and can be seen as non-human spokes-character and can create distinctiveness from one brand to another. The likeability of the brands character can “positively influence attitudes towards the brand and increases purchase intention” of consumers.[8]

The use of brand touch-points showed significant importance in brand awareness. A brand touch-point defined, is when a customer is exposed to a brand through individual use of a product or the discussion of a product with other individuals, viewing an ad through social media or noticing a brand on display [9] and intend to create value.[10] Similarly, touch-points promote importance through delivering many benefits for both, the brand and the customer through a “two-way, interactive communication with various interactions”.[9] Therefore, aiming to overall, create and maintain customer relationships involving a “constellation of these interactions” at various touch-points.[9] This can be in the form of opportunities to “gain more feedback, create more brand related messages, reinforce brand promises and improve customer involvement with the brand”.[9] For example, the well-known automotive manufacturer Mini, investigated about its brand perception in the UK by interviewing 55 in-depth interviewers and gained key feedback about the brand through their symbolic elements, suggesting such it as being a “fun, stylish and sporty image”.[11] Therefore, showed sensory appeal at an emotional level.[11] Thus, sensory touch-points increase brand satisfaction, add experiential values and explain different customer needs which are increasingly met, through marketing which signifies the importance of brand awareness.[9]

Furthermore, the importance of brand awareness in the communications environment is seen to be changing from traditional “linear” models of one-to-many communication, to networked consumers who interact in two-way, non linear dialogues with brands, products and each other, promoting people to construct more meaningful, interactive communication through online social media . This enables people to interact with one another through the sharing of user reviews and the repeated ability to interact with others about certain brands.[12] This can be seen through Word of Mouth (WOM) and Peer to Peer (P2P) communications and suggests that communication influences brand awareness significantly and is controlled by a more complex environment than before.[13] For example, the engagement with the car brand MINI on a Facebook fan-page, promoted “positive effects on consumers’ brand awareness, through WOM activities and the purchase intention was achieved”.[14] Thus, evidence suggests that through new methods of non-linear, two-way communication, in particularly on social media, show that brand awareness is important and can be of beneficial to an organization.

The impacts of Key Opinionated Leaders (KOL) also have an impact in the networked environment, which influence the importance of brand awareness. This can be seen through key opinion leaders (OL) which majorly persuade others through message content found from areas such as the wider media.[15] OL may influence the specific awareness of a brand as they perceive characteristics of trustworthiness and goodwill as well as presenting themselves as being “honest, believable and dependable” before, during and after a campaign.[16] For example, a team of investors were selected to promote a website through the use of their names as references to “boost” creditability for the business.[15] Therefore, KOL majorly impact the level of brand awareness of a specific brand through a social networking environment, and to an extent, can increase or decrease the awareness of a brand in society.[17]

Brand awareness also portrays its crucial importance in determining which brand is chosen from a consideration set which are the “small set of brands which a consumer pays close attention to when making a purchase decision”.[18] Aaker, 1991a [19] argued that in order to build a brand and maintain brand equity, brand name awareness is one of four major brand assets that add value to the product, service or its customers. Investments in brand awareness can lead to sustainable competitive advantages, thus, leading to long-term value, promoting the importance of brand awareness.[19] This is seen through placement of specific brands into the consumer’s mind, thus, which acts as a barrier when the consumer is looking at new, unestablished brands.[20] This in turn, promotes reassurance to the customer through the company’s product quality and commitment and also provides leverage in distribution channels.[21] An example illustrating the importance of brand awareness can be seen through the study of Hoyer and Brown showing that 70 percent of individuals directly selected a known brand of peanut butter among 2 other choices, regardless of quality.[22] Therefore, through the example above, most individuals showed larger brand awareness and were more responsive to answer with preference to a high awareness brand, despite the quality and price differences.[22] Therefore, brand awareness plays a significantly powerful influence on customers regarding brand choice, in a repeat purchase consumer product context.[23] Similarly, brand awareness exposes a major importance regarding recognition of a brand through consumers portraying a “strong tendency to awareness as a heuristic and show a degree of inertia in changing from the habit of using this heuristic”.[23]

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.[4]

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.

How it Works[edit]

Brand awareness is a huge goal when it comes to advertising. It can be the key to whether or not consumers purchase their product. There are different stages of brand marketing.

This includes; brand awareness, potential purchase and consumer loyalty. Brand marketers want to ensure that not only is their brand recognised and purchased, but that the consumer has a positive response to the brand and product and therefore would want to buy it again. Brand loyalty means more purchases, this can increase word of mouth and lead to more brand recognition and in turn more sales.

The four different levels of measuring brand awareness can be identified as:

-Brand Recognition

-Brand Recall


-Brand name dominance

Brand recognition is when a consumer knows what the brand is and has seen it before. Brand recall is the ability of the consumer to remember, generate and retrieve the brand information. Top of mind is the next step whereby the consumer thinks of the particular brand first, over other brands. Brand name dominance is then when the consumer chooses that brand over other brands and makes their purchase decision. This is the main goal for most brands as this means that they can then make revenue.[24]

Once a business has brand awareness, it is very important that this is maintained. It is also beneficial to make sure that the consumers are being heard and their responses are being listened to and observed due to any changes made within the brand.

Studies carried out suggest that brand awareness was a dominant choice in studies where the consumer was aware of the brands and their products. People with no brand awareness sampled brands and chose the higher-quality brands rather than those with the brand awareness.

This tells us that consumers are willing to pay for a brand that they are more aware of, even if their products aren’t as high quality as others.

Measures of Brand Awareness[edit]

Brand awareness does not necessarily mean to know and identify the brand from past experiences, but to associate the logo and similar connotations with the name of the brand. By creating this brand awareness, it enables the consumer to recognize and separate a particuar brand from other brands in the same market.[25] There are four different levels in which brand awareness can be measured, and although some say that the different measures are all linked to the same concept or construct, it is also argued by some researchers that the different measures should be applied depending on the different situations.[26]

Four different levels of measuring brand awareness can be identified as:[27]

  1. Brand Recognition
  2. Brand Recall
  3. Top-of-mind
  4. Brand name dominance

Brand Recognition (aided awareness)[edit]

Brand Recognition, also known as 'aided awareness' [26] is simply a matter of remembering that there was past exposure to the brand, and the ability to confirm that they have previously heard or seen the brand. Brand recognition does not involve the necessity of the consumer remembering and relating back to specific memories of where the brand was encountered, which level the brand stands in the market, and how the brand and its product differs from the competitor's Keller, K. L. (1993). In addition, many individuals who hang around a brand are more likely to become favoured to that specific brand.[28] This form of brand awareness can be noticed through the concept of aided awareness, which involves previous exposure with a specific brand.[27] For example, Subaru targeted its performance fans through its current and past generation performance vehicles of the WRX STi range, exposing individual brand loyalty.[29]

Brand Recall (spontaneous awareness)[edit]

Brand Recall, or 'spontaneous awareness' [26] is the consumer's ability to recall a brand when given cues that may help them to recall the brand, such as the category of which the product falls into, the need or the purpose that is fulfilled by the certain category, or some other cues in which will help the consumer in recalling the brand.[30] Brand recall of durable goods is usually driven by experience, while exposure seemed to be found as the key driver for non-durable goods as consumers tend to build brand trust of non-durable goods based on media exposure, rather than personal experiences of product usage.[31] Unlike brand recognition which requires the consumer to make a link from the brand to the category, brand recall works the other way around; requiring the consumer to make a link from the category to the brand.[26]


Top-of-mind awareness involves a brand that is always the first to come into mind when a consumer considers a product of a service that the brand provides. A brand that is on this level does not necessarily mean that it will always be chosen, but it will be highly considered.[32] Top-of-mind awareness is relevant when a choice is made quickly between competing brands. Also, this measure should be applied when a consumer is involved in an impulse low involvedment purchase scenario.[26]

Brand name dominance[edit]

Brand name dominance is the top level in brand awareness where, during a brand recall task, most consumers provide the name of only a certain brand in whichever category the brand falls into.[27] Furthermore, another measure of brand awareness is through the concept of brand name dominance, and is defined as an individual’s selection of only certain brand names in a related category during a brand recall procedure.[27] This was seen through Subaru, who targeted its diehard rally fans by using behaviouristic variables, exposing brand loyalty and awareness created through the passion which was created about the vehicle since Subaru originated from its successful rallying heritage in the 1990s, and with many still continuing to stay loyal to the brand by supporting the new model WRX STi vehicle and the brand’s contribution in motorsport.[29]


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.[33]

Channels of Brand Awareness[edit]

The idea of advertising is to call the public’s attention to your business, usually for the purpose of selling products or services, through the various forms of media, such as print or broadcast notices (Entrepreneur, n.d.). It brings to your attention where the product can be bought, how much it costs or who may use it, in terms of age and gender. For instance items like clothing are advertised differently as they market for numerous different people. By communicating and interacting with customers, advertising helps popularize a brand. Television, radio, social media and newspapers are a few of the variety of channels that advertisers use to communicate their messages.

Advertising increases brand awareness by exposing brands to potential customers using different forms of touchpoints, which are aimed according to the target market and what platforms they are most likely to go on. Social networks are increasingly taking up a greater amount of consumers’ time spent online and as a result “social media which includes advertising on social networks and/or marketing communication with social characteristics is becoming a larger component of firms’ marketing budgets”. It has been reported that engagement with consumers on large platforms that have big audiences, for example Facebook, is and extremely important marketing strategy for firms that are consumer facing.[34] When a brand advertises itself and the good they are selling it can increase the probability that the consumer will include that particular brand in their consideration set after they have seen the advertisement. In relation to this, the brands expenditure invested in advertising has a positive relation to brand awareness due to the fact that the more they advertise and the higher quality the advertisement is, the likeliness that potential customers are going to see and acknowledge it increases, therefore also increasing the brands market performance. As anything that causes exposure of a brand to their consumers increases brand awareness, it is realised that “Repeat brand exposure in stores improves consumers' ability to recognize and recall the brand.”[35] Numerous numbers of exposure to a brands advertisement can increase the awareness of the consumer and ‘facilitate consumer processing of the included information (Vuokko 1997), and by doing this it can heighten consumers brand recall and attitude towards the brand.[36]

Communication plays a big role in generated brand awareness. People would not be able to hear or read about a brand without communication. The way in which an advertisement is reached and communicated to an audience is the main role of maintaining awareness of the brand. Different channels benefit and suit different markets. The Internet will play a larger role in exposing teenagers to a message rather than through newspapers.

Magazines are the most specialized of all print advertising media and range from a wide variety of types to satisfy different target markets (Fill et al., 2013). Portraying an advertisement through a magazine will build brand awareness. Magazines offer a high selection of niche publications to distinguish the different segmented audiences. Women’s Weekly New Zealand specially advertises to women as they provide content like kitchenware, fashion, health, cooking recipes and celebrity gossip (Women’s Weekly, n.d.). NZ Rugby is another magazine that caters to rugby fans and offers customers an insight into players and teams. Magazine articles do not really expire as they can be used for extended periods. People still use magazines from the past for things like recipes, posters or fashion looks. Old magazines can be found in barbershops, hair salons and at the dentists. Many people tend to cut out articles that appeal to them.


The world press trends 2010 report states that 1.7 billion people read the newspaper everyday, which represents over 25 percent of the world’s adult population (Fill et al., 2013). Although, social media and Internet use has increased rapidly over recent years, newspaper companies have been able to survive due to having online websites and smartphone applications. New Zealand Herald gives consumers the ability to read the same content of the physical newspaper on their website.

Radio is a source of electronic media that can reach out to many people. Brand awareness will benefit from channels such as radio coverage as there are many different radio stations to cater to different demographics and markets such as age, music genre, talk news and region. Brand awareness can be generated through the use of radio as listeners can be offered a unique listening experience. Sir Peter Leitch has a recognizable voice for The Mad Butcher. He offers a great listening experience for customers on radio and also on television and this helps people remember the message he communicates.


Almost everyone has access to a television, whether it is at home, at a bar and even in cars. Having an advertisement on TV will allow your advertisement to be reached out to many with high frequency levels. The success of the reach also depends on whether which time your ad is shown and whether if noise interrupts. A consumer’s brand awareness can increase through powerful advertisements on television, as there are many opportunities to view advertisements, which can be shared through social media if they have been memorable. For example, New Zealand’s anti drink driving commercials have been shared on social media due to the effective ways the messages have been portrayed and through the audience being able to relate to them. The ‘ghost chip’ anti drink driving advertisement video accumulated 120000 views on YouTube within 6 days. (, 2011).

Social Media

A major touchpoint in advertising to create brand awareness would be social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. In the development of creating a strategy for social media marketing, the brand must focus on key factors to increase brand awareness in social media advertising such as who is the target market, where should they focus their efforts, and the internal and external factors that could potentially influence the media plan. The first focal point is important in this decision, as there is a large range of age groups who all have a different mentality towards social media and use different platforms. The brand essentially has to figure out what age group is their target market and use the appropriate platform of social media to reach them. Secondly, geographical considerations is important for advertisement as the brand may find that there is an increase of sales in a particular country or area therefor may allocate a higher budget for advertising expenditures according to where sales a stronger, therefore increasing brand awareness even more in these particular areas. Last of all, Internal and external factors that can affect the media strategy can include the size of the media budget that has been allocated to advertising, the economy rising therefore increasing the costs of media, and competitive factors. It is important to determine which target market should obtain the most media emphasis, even though the goal is to extend media coverage to as many members of the target market as possible.[37]

Personal Channels[edit]

Personal channels are direct and interpersonal contact (face to face) contact with target individuals or groups (Belch & Belch, 2012). An example of this can be a salesperson. As they serve as personal channels of communications when they set out to persuade and give their sales pitch to potential customers.

  • Buzz Marketing – A powerful source for marketers is word of mouth communication, also known as buzz marketing. This is consumer generated and viral marketing for businesses, which does not cost a thing. In some cases of buzz marketing, business are known to hand out product samples and provide their goods to famous, influential people, so that they can recommend and encourage others to buy their brand (Belch & Belch, 2012). For example, pharmaceutical companies will get physicians to talk up their products with a purpose of persuading their peers to buy their products (Belch & Belch, 2012).
  • Viral buzz – In this day and age social media and networks are becoming a real phenomenon, so marketers are trying to focus their advertising here and disseminating their brand using the likes of Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. (Belch & Belch, 2012). Businesses are also building up web communities so customers can chat about products and their experiences about them. For example, in 2005 Procter & Gamble, created a new word of mouth program to seek the most influential group of shoppers – mums. More than 600,000 mums joined the newly founded campaign that targets mothers between the ages of 28 to 45 who have children under the age of 19. These women receive product samples as well as a sense of empowerment when they are asked for their opinions on various issues all ranging from new product ideas to better ways of communicating to consumers (Belch & Belch, 2012). This started a viral buzz with lots of mothers in America talking about the products of Procter & Gamble because of their campaign.

Non-Personal Channels[edit]

This type channel is the opposite of personal channel, where it carries or sends out a message without interpersonal contact between the sender and receiver (Belch & Belch, 2012). This is most commonly referred to as mass media or mass communications, since messages are sent to a large number of consumers at one time. For example, a television commercial is aired in the middle of a prime television show and it may be seen by millions depending on what country you are in (Belch & Belch, 2012). There are two major types of non-personal channels, these consist of print and broadcast advertising.

  • Print Media – This consist of all printed advertisements on some kind of paper including newspapers, magazines, billboards direct mail inserts, catalogues or other portable printed material (Fill, C., Hughes, G., De Francesco, S., 2013). Magazines are sometimes the best way for advertisers to market their material as they have so many advantages.
  • Magazines offer quality reproduction and attractability.
  • Magazines are highly selective.
  • As magazines are most commonly specific in subject/niche publications, they are able to pinpoint audiences that you target.
  • Magazines last longer than other media.
  • Their ‘expiry date’ is prolonged by their presence in beauty salons, the doctors, travel agent bureau, any waiting areas, etc.
  • They are passed along and viewed by multiple audiences and target groups, thereby extending their usefulness to the advertiser and being able to reach out to more consumers.
  • Magazines have inherent design and flexibility and can be customised.
  • Magazines differ from other print media, as they are good for being able to highlight the product in detail and depth (Fill, C., Hughes, G., De Francesco, S., 2013).
  • Newspapers still have some good qualities about them even though they are quickly receding in demand.
  • Extensive local penetration and coverage
  • In many western countries (most popular in English speaking countries) local newspapers within the communities are still thriving. This is still a good way and effective way of reaching target consumers as they prove to still be popular.
  • Flexibility
  • For maximum exposure, certain ads may be placed in interest sections of the newspaper, so it can reach out to a maximum of their target.
  • Detailed and current copy
  • Newspapers are ideal for explaining detail attributes of product or service. This may be helpful in trade or B2B advertising, where detailed copy can highlight important product information that is required and give extensive editorial value (Fill, C., Hughes, G., De Francesco, S., 2013).

Advertising is the activity or profession of producing information for promoting the sale of commercial products or services.[38] Advertising is used through various media to generate brand awareness within consumers. They can be aired as radio ads, television commercials, internet etc.

Furthermore, the marketing concept is comprised on customer value, containing recognition that organisations can benefit from increased brand awareness from understanding the needs and wants of target consumers and can achieve these needs and wants more efficiently and effectively than their competitors.[39] For example, car manufacturer Subaru, equipped their WRX STi performance vehicle with a six-speed only manual transmission which positively reinforced its value in the consumer mindset for motorsport use.[40] Similarly, the STi also caters comfort into account which is said to result in overall, better ride quality compared to its competitor, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X.[41] Therefore, organizations who achieve customer requirements generate high levels of brand awareness and the exposed benefits are clearly seen amongst other competitors in the target market.

Additionally, market segmentation relates to “dividing markets into direct groups of buyers, which may require the use of marketing mixes” such as product and placement of the product.[39] This results in the classification of consumers into groups which are dependent on their needs, characteristics or behaviour.[39] Once a company has created these market segments, they are able to enter the segments and target each market. This is known as market targeting and is defined as “evaluating each market segment’s attractiveness and choosing one or more segments to enter”.[39] Therefore, a company which generates the greatest customer value through market segmentation and target marketing whilst sustaining this over time, forms profit through increased awareness of their brand.[39] For example, Subaru targeted its performance minded consumers through its performance vehicle the WRX STi, which was built for the snowy conditions in North America (NA).[42] The STi came with forty percent more chassis rigidity compared to the 2013 model, which allowed better utilisation of power to the ground and resulted in a seventy-eight point nine percent increase in sales located in NA in December 2014.[42] Thus, the car manufacturer targeted its performance consumer niche in NA and achieved high levels of brand awareness which was seen through in increased sales of its product, the WRX STi. Similarly, brand awareness is also created through the peripheral route. This route influences brand awareness through “deep thinking involving cues made by the sender or communicator, which changes individual opinions on certain brands” [28] For example, Subaru’s STi brand focused on attaining brand awareness through the use of cues in the form of psychographic variables, in the form of lifestyle choices for intended individuals who wish to invest in a performance vehicle such as the WRX STi.[43] Subaru’s WRX STi vehicles have used advertising through commercials which target Asian youth individuals in America.[44] The commercials exposed aspects of similarities between the Asian and American lifestyles and Subaru used this idea to convince the Asian youth into buying the WRX STi as it would fit ‘perfectly’ into their lifestyle. This, gradually created a cult, which lead to many new Subaru fans and increased brand awareness of the Subaru’s STi brand in America.[44] Therefore, Subaru promoted the awareness of its performance vehicle in America through the use of the peripheral route, which involved cues and deep thinking and positively changed the perception of its vehicle on many individuals living in the country.

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.[45]

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.[45]

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.[45]

What does “Guerrilla” mean?

“Guerrilla” means “irregular war fought by an independent group” this was used in 1807–1814 during the Spanish resistant, it also means “the weapon of the weaker or disadvantage side in a conflict.” [46]

Guerrilla Marketing[edit]

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising concept that was solely designed for small businesses to promote their products or services in an unconventional way, with minimum costs but maximum results (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d). Ideal for small businesses as it can reach out to a large audience without being expensive. However, big companies still use this advertising concept, mainly for grassroot campaigns (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d).

The term ‘Guerrilla’ marketing was inspired by guerrilla warfare. A type of warfare fought by irregulars, fast moving, small scale tactic strategies against used by armed civilians against military and police forces (Encyclopædia Britannica, n.d). Lots of these strategic tactics were ambushes, sabotages, raids and elements of surprise. Much like the warfare, guerrilla marketing is about the using the same kind of tactics but within the marketing industry (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d). Guerrilla marketing is about taking the consumer by the ultimate surprise, etch a memory from impression and create a huge amount of social buzz.

This type of marketing is set to be far more popular and creates a great amount of excitement when done right. It makes more of a valuable impression on consumers than more traditional ways of advertising and marketing is done. This is the result of the guerrilla marketing, as one of their strategies, being able to strike consumers at a more personal level and memorable level (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d).


In the year of 1984, famous marketer Jay Conrad Levinson introduced the formal term in his book called ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d). Levinson comes from a very established background including being the Senior Vice President at J. Watter Thompson and Creative Director and Board Member of Leo Burnett Advertising (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d).

In Levinson’s book, he puts forward different unique ways of approaching and overcoming the more traditional forms of advertising that has been used in the past. The goal of guerrilla marketing was to make use of unconventional tactics to advertise on a small budget and keep consumers surprised and excited, not keep it boring with radio, television and print still (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d). For the most effective way, Levinson suggests the campaign has to be “shocking, unique, outrageous and clever,” (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d). This will cause a buzz and that is what all businesses wants.

Use by big businesses[edit]

Guerrilla was originally for small business with small budgets, however, this did not stop big businesses from implementing guerrillas type of strategic tactics also (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d).

Larger companies such as coca-cola and red bull have been using unconventional marketing as a way to generate hype around their advertising campaigns. Some marketers argue, that when big businesses use guerrilla marketing concept, it is not true guerrilla, as the bigger companies have much more funding and already have a recognizable brand other than small businesses which cannot afford as much and do not have that brand awareness with consumers yet.

In saying this, it can be risky for big businesses to implement a concept like guerrilla. In some cases it can flop and in the end become a nightmare for the business (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d). For example, the 2007 Boston Bomb Scare caused by Turner Broadcast. Turner Broadcast were trying to market their Cartoon Network show called Aqua Teen Hunger Force, with guerrilla marketing tactics. However, it ended up causing a city-wide bomb scare. They had implemented LED lights that would only turn on at night, displaying a 'Mooninite' character, which they placed in various spots around Boston. The character would light up at night, with the character showing the middle finger. Because it was electronically controlled, it was mistaken for an explosive device which caused widespread public panic. This campaign ended up costing Turner Broadcast $2 million for the incident they caused (Creative Guerrilla Marketing, n.d).

However, there are big businesses that have successfully pulled off guerrilla marketing concepts and techniques. For example, the Coca-Cola company created the 'Happiness Machine'. The video featured a Coca-Cola vending machine that dispensed a lot more than just a cold beverage. In fact, people were given flowers, pizza, sunglasses, and a very long sandwich. The video was captured at St. Johns University in Queens, New York, using five strategically-planned hidden cameras to overlook people's priceless reactions. The video went viral and now has more than 4.5 million views on YouTube.


Use by small businesses[edit]

Guerrilla marketing is typically used by smaller business against larger business because guerrilla marketing provides maximuum profit with minimum expenditures and allows businesses to attract and have maximum exposure to their target audience.[46]

An example of a successful Guerrilla Marketing used by small businesses is “The Blair Witch Project”, a film made in the 1999 by 5 graduates of University of Central Florida on a tight budget. They spreader rumours about “The Blair Witch” in the forest to trigger curiosity and fear to those who hears about it, and by creating a story of the filmmakers disappearing in 1994 in the woods near Burkittsville, Maryland while shooting the documentary, it was found after a year after their disappearance. The story drew a lot of attention from the public and created a buzz even before the film was finished, the Blair Witch project eventually has its own site and discussion forum, by the time the film was released the film already had a fan base which saved a lot of money on promotion. The Blair Witch Project grossed about $248,639,099 around the world.[48]

Traditional Marketing Vs Guerrilla Marketing[edit]

The use of non traditional marketing methods is increasing compared to traditional marketing.

Guerrilla Marketing is hard for competitors to copy therefore gives small businesses a competitive advantage, it is cost effective, mainly focuses on psychology and human behaviour, is aware of consumers that will make their decisions subconsciously, focuses on the customer’s perspective, cares about relationships between consumers, benefits from technology on all levels, targets specific target audience, emphasis on detail, reduces risks and focus on customer loyalty, looks for partnership between competitions, wants to identify the problem and find a solution for the customers and Guerrilla marketing usually focuses on one major product or services.[49]

Traditional Marketing believes that spending a lot of money on marketing will generate more income, focuses on increasing profit, suited for a big business environment, measures by rate of sales, advertisements are done based on experience and judgement, like to estimate and predict. Traditional Marketing are not interested in working with their competition they are aimed to eliminate competition, aims for large groups, don't bother with details and focuses on one off sales as customer relationships are not as important.[50]

Psychology of Marketing[edit]

Consumers will buy the promises that companies make through advertisements, they will buy credibility of the company, solutions to their problem, wealth, safety, success, security, love and acceptance, guarantee and reputation of the brand, how other people perceive the brand, consumers will buy good brand names even if the product is identical, value in the product or services provided, and especially in the fashion industry consumers will buy good taste.

Knowing how consumers think is part of Guerrilla Marketing, it is developed through psychology and human behaviour in order to make a connection on an emotional and personal level.[51]


Maintaining brand awareness can be executed and accomplished through effective ways of communication. A good way in monitoring the maintenance of a brand can be through analyzing the model of the communication process. This model represents how effective a brands message has been translated and shows which processes are included. To maintain brand awareness, a business must implement each section of this process with high regards in order to achieve the maintenance of the brand.

The process starts off with source or sender who is the person or organization who sends and creates the message. For example, McDonalds is a source that communicates its products. Next step is encoding which means putting a message into a symbolic form whereby customers can understand the message. For instance the McDonald’s logo is very recognizable and people understand the symbol.

The channel is the method of how the message travels from source to receiver (Belch & Belch, 2012). This process is probably the most important in regards to maintaining brand awareness. Once the message has been communicated to the receiver they must be able to decode the message. Decoding is where the receiver interprets the message and decides how they feel or think about it. After all this is done, the receiver responds through actions or keeps the message in mind. Feedback is another response that is sent to the sender such as curious questions or through final purchase (Belch & Belch, 2012).

Two important methods from the model that can help manage the challenge of maintaining brand awareness more securely is the third step of channel and how the message is communicated to others and the idea of noise. Brand awareness is the idea of a brand being recognized to a full potential. Reach and frequency are concepts that will help maintain brand awareness (Fill et al., 2013). Reach and frequency are varied depending on how the message and advertisements are communicated to customers. Thus the channels of communication are important when nourishing the brand. Advertisers must either choose from personal channels or non-personal channels.

Personal channels include all social channels of communication where people interact. This source, also known as word of mouth communication, is highly effective when people use social media to spread the message or share their experience. Social media is a global platform, so brands should utilize this channel in order to keep their brands relevant and assure people are aware of the brand. Non-personal channels such as radio and TV, can reach many individuals at one time. This allows more frequency and reach for the brand. However, unlike personal channels such as social media, some individuals may use their smart phones rather than watch TV or listen to the radio. Different channels also depend on who your target markets are. For example, personal channels are more suitable for younger people due to high quantities use of smart phones and use of Facebook, Instagram and other social media outlets.

Dealing with noise

Noise represents any sort of factors that can interrupt a message from being interpreted by receiver in the correct way. Avoiding noise as much as possible is a regimen in order to maintain brand awareness. Noise can range from problems with TV signals where the receiver will not view the advertisement and not be exposed to the message. Also lack of common ground between both the sender and receiver can also create distortion. The encoding of the message or symbol may have different meaning to the receiver. Language barriers and religion also play apart in the concept of noise. Brands like Burgerfuel New Zealand, who have opened in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, need to advertise their menu differently from New Zealand for religious and cultural reasons (, 2010). Also the increase use of smartphones will interrupt any viewing of commercials shown on television so advertisers should cover more use of social media applications in order for more frequency and reach. Physiological impairment noise such as deafness or if the person talking on advertisements does not speak clearly, the use of sub-titles is appropriate to communicate the message to these people (, n.d.).


Another challenge faced with brand awareness can also be adding value to the products. Brand awareness is measured by how recognizable the brand and its products are. People will remember a brand and its products if they are of good value and use. Maintaining or improving factors such as packaging design, quantity of stock and also the location of where to purchase these items can all help add value to the brand and thus help maintain a positive brand awareness among customers. Also, providing a sort of social responsibility by helping their environment can create a positive response towards the business. Brands must reach out to the community by sponsoring special events, creating campaigns to keep the brand relevant and also offer customers a unique experience.

Coca cola is a brand that has been able to exploit advertising and communication to maintain its brand awareness as a leader in its market. They launched a campaign called ‘Share a Coke’, where customers could put their names on their personalized coke bottles or cans. This campaign was very successful and was the top trend on social media outlets at the time. This helped increase the reach of the campaign and more people were exposed to the messages, which increased the frequency. This campaign helped coke regain its awareness among people of all ages as they interacted with each customer on a personal level (Coca-Cola company, 2014). Share a coke campaign was aimed to get people together and to share a coke with their friends to create a unique and memorable experience.

McDonalds and Brand Awareness[edit]

An example of brand awareness is McDonalds; their logo is the ‘golden arches’. Various types of marketing have been done around the golden arches, such as turning them into a smiley face – implying that McDonalds makes you happy.

The arches are totally recognisable and consumers can identify this as McDonalds without being told what the brand is.[52]


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