- Short Summary
- Detailed Summary
- Brand Awareness in Three Stages
- Brand Awareness in Online Trading
- Measures to Increase Brand Awareness
Brand Awareness: Short Summary
Brand Awareness is a term from market research, which describes a brand’s popularity. The quoted percentage indicates what proportion of those surveyed actually recognized the brand under the microscope. For the purposes of more detailed investigations, brand awareness is divided into three stages.
What is Brand Awareness?: Detailed Summary
Brand awareness is an important factor for any company, because it can influence purchase decisions in many contexts. The brand name is very important in what are described as “low-involvement situations” where the buyer takes little account of a product in terms of its pricing or other considerations. In such situations, most consumers reach for the “tried and tested” product – meaning a well-known name and brand.
However, there are other situations where brand awareness is also important, for example in B2B (business to business) marketing. Here, much rests on the fact that the customer is familiar with the company – and that certain trust primarily exists simply because he knows the company or its associated brand.
In the business-to-consumer sector, brand awareness helps to maintain long-term customer loyalty. Because of this brand recognition, the customer associates a brand with a specific image, and often with certain emotional characteristics too. This, in turn, creates brand trust and leads the customer to choose the same branded products over and over again. In an ideal scenario, he even becomes a brand ambassador who regularly seeks to convince others about the benefits of the product.
The dream goal in brand awareness is when the brand name eventually becomes a generic name – in other words, when the brand replaces the usual term for the product. Well-known examples of this process include “Kleenex”, “Band-Aid”, “Chapstick” and “Google”. However, in sectors which already have established products it is rarely possible to achieve such high brand awareness. On the other hand, this goal is more easily achievable with newer products, but even this has now become extremely difficult because of the tendency for imitation products to appear in the marketplace ever more rapidly.
Brand Awareness in Three Stages
At first sight, brand awareness seems like a very straightforward concept – either people know the brand, or they don’t. However, it’s not really that simple because it also makes a difference how quickly people can recall the brand, and also whether they can recall it after some prompting. Thus, there are three levels of brand awareness:
- Top of the mind
- Unaided recall
- Aided recall and recognition
“Top of the mind” means that people instantly remember the brand, so for them it is always mentally present. In the case of “unaided recall”, a person knows about a brand name but needs a while to think it through. This level of brand awareness is still useful for companies, but in situations where a purchasing decision has to be made quickly, this kind of brand awareness often won’t apply. At the third stage, “aided recall” or “recognition”, people do not remember the brand name through their own efforts, but will recognize the brand when prompted. This type of brand recognition is particularly useful when the customer has little product knowledge, yet has time to make his purchase decision in peace.
Brand Awareness in the Online Marketplace
At first glance, one might think brand awareness plays only a subordinate role in ecommerce. After all, thanks to Google, a huge selection of products are available to the user with just a few clicks. Furthermore, online prices can be compared in seconds, while product descriptions and reviews make it easier to weigh the advantages of certain products.
Despite all this, a brand’s popularity still plays a very important role in the online purchases. On the Internet, products cannot be physically handled and inspected. For most buyers of clothing and shoes this is especially important, but the same tends to apply even with electronic products where the feel of buttons and switches can – at least supposedly – allow the purchaser to draw conclusions about the quality of a product. Where such a “manual” examination is simply not possible, most customers will then rely on well-known brands. In their mind, purchasers unconsciously associate the well-known brand with a certain minimum quality.
Accordingly, many SEO measures are also aimed at increasing brand awareness, and the idea driving this is quite simple: The more often a brand name appears on Google, or in social media content on Facebook or other portals, the more users become aware of its presence. In addition to these relatively simple optimization measures, there are also various other ways to increase brand awareness.
Measures to Increase Brand Awareness
As mentioned above, advertisements such as Google AdWords or Facebook Ads are a very easy way to make a brand increasingly more familiar. Unfortunately, this method can be quite expensive, because when such advertisements utilize what prove to be hard-hitting keywords, there will soon be hefty fees to pay in Google AdWords.
Optimizing your own page according to SEO standards is usually a more cost-effective procedure which also contributes to brand awareness. In addition, there are a lot of other – and usually quite cheap – ways to improve brand awareness, such as:
- Recommendation programs
- Guest contributions on other sites
- Freemium products
- Social media competitions
Recommendation programs are based on a very simple principle: the customer gets an additional benefit when he or she recommends a product or service. Such programs are particularly suitable for digital products, since it is relatively easy to check on whether the customer really has recommended the product. However, in principle, they can be used with all types of products and services. A good example of a successful recommendation program is the incentive offered by the Dropbox cloud storage company. Every customer who persuades a friend to use Dropbox receives additional cloud storage. Especially during the early days shortly after the company was founded, this recommendation program made a decisive contribution to the distribution of the Dropbox product – and thus also to its brand awareness.
Guest contributions are especially attractive for companies who rely on social media content, because social media platforms such as Facebook share quality content more frequently. If a company publishes a strong article on a particular topic on a different Facebook page, this effect will then be amplified. The reason for this is quite simple: if others consider the article to be so good that they publish it on their own page, readers automatically assume it must be of a higher quality, and thus, even unconsciously, they themselves are more inclined to share it with others.
Another way to increase brand awareness is to use freemium products whereby, in addition to the paid-for product, a free-of-charge version is also available and usually limited in scope or function. Provided the free version is not restricted too much, then users will definitely recommend the product – because who would say no to a free, high-quality product? Of course, not all new users will opt for the paid variant, but some will do so readily – and thanks to the freemium product, the others will have a positive experience and still retain the brand name in their memory.
Social media competitions are also a good way to develop higher brand awareness. Companies can choose simple competition variants, or employ more complex strategies such as a competition in which users create their own content (user generated content). The advantage of a competition on a social media platform is that the whole thing can become successful very quickly – the first users draw the attention of others to the content, they then share it with others, who also forward it on … and so on.
Giveaways are an absolute classic in terms of brand awareness. These are free gifts which are available as accessories alongside the purchased product. Such items could include, for example, ball-point pens, note-pads or flashlights. Digital giveaways can be employed as well, for example, an unusual design template for a social media profile. Giveaways have two main advantages: they are generally very cheap, and because they are so useful, they are often deployed – and that means the brand name is always on view.
Brand Awareness reflects the popularity of a brand name and is a decisive factor in purchasing decisions which occur in various contexts. Brand recognition plays a particularly important role in ecommerce, because the customer cannot handle and examine the products.
There are many opportunities to increase brand awareness, ranging from social media competitions to SEO measures, as well as online advertising via Google AdWords or on Facebook.
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