Brand awareness survey: how to get started

Anna Raventós

Brand awareness is one of the most common metrics in market research surveys. Discover now what it is, why you should care, and find out which are the right brand awareness questions you need to use in your next survey.

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What is brand awareness?

Brand awareness is the level of familiarity consumers have with a particular brand, its products, or its services. Brand awareness is one of the most used metrics in marketing and, therefore in market research, so it is important to know how it works and how it can be measured through surveys.

Let’s imagine that you want to subscribe to a music streaming service. Possibly some brands in your mind offer this service, and you may want to check their websites and see the details of their offer. At this point, maybe you will make your buying decision. If you are not ready yet, you may search for additional players and find some brands that you actually know but didn’t recall spontaneously and some others that would be completely unknown to you. All the marketing literature shows that the more familiar you are with the brand, the higher the possibility of buying from that brand. All consumer brands – and many B2B brands as well – measure brand awareness among one of the most important KPIs and use this information to make the necessary decisions to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Brand awareness is often seen as the first step in a purchase process and this is why many reputed brand equity models use this metric as a foundational one. Since brand awareness correlates strongly with purchase intention, every marketer should work on making their brands recognizable and memorable.

Measuring brand awareness through a survey

Market research surveys help understand how brand awareness evolves. These projects provide insight into what actions have been more successful in moving the needle of the gauge of brand awareness in the right direction.

There are three main types of brand awareness:

1. Unaided brand awareness or brand recall

It measures what percentage of a target audience is able to include a particular brand within the mentions when asked about a category.

2. Top-of-mind awareness

It is a particular type of unaided brand awareness. It is the first brand that comes to mind to the audience when asked about a specific category. Being consistently mentioned in the number one position is an indicator of preference and leadership in the category.

3. Aided brand awareness or brand recognition

Instead of asking the audience to build the list from scratch, they are presented with a list of options where they need to confirm or discard the brands they can recognize as players in that category.

Aided vs unaided awareness. Which one is better?

Both metrics are useful and how they are used depends on the size of the brand surveyed. Big brands tend to use both since they will provide complementary and valuable information. However, if the brand is small, the recommendation is to skip unaided awareness, which could only provide a handful of spontaneous recalls.

Survey questions to measure brand awareness

Let’s go back to the example of music streaming services, and let’s see how the different questions to measure brand awareness can be drafted.

1. Top-of-mind awareness

  • What is the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about streaming music services?

2. Unaided awareness or brand recall

  • Can you think of any other brands of streaming music players? – if you have used the top-of-mind awareness question.
  • What brands come to mind when thinking about streaming music services? – if you have not used the top-of-mind awareness question previously.

3. Aided awareness or brand recognition

  • Which of the following streaming music services have you heard of?

Please note that if you need more examples of questionnaires and questions for specific purposes, Zinklar’s platform provides you with both questionnaire templates for the most usual types of research as well as with question libraries to pick and choose the ones you want to use for your next survey.

Brand Awareness Custom Research vs. Brand Tracking surveys

There are two approaches to brand awareness research. Some brands organize a brand awareness survey occasionally. These surveys are beneficial when creating marketing plans to understand what effort needs to be done in the following months. They are also useful before and/or after important advertising campaigns. Many other brands use a Brand Tracking survey to continuously evaluate how brand awareness and brand effectiveness evolve. These brands use the results to make short-term decisions to decide the right levels of advertising investment and to measure how the different campaigns work toward brand awareness and brand equity objectives.

If you need advice from our team of research experts to configure your desired research, please contact us and we will be delighted to guide your steps into Zinklar to ensure you get the right measures of your brand awareness.

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