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Brand awareness: Building brand power

Learn how strategic brands measure awareness and brand recall to help earn them more brand power.

Today, you’ll rarely find a company that’s the only one in its market.

Want a can of chicken noodle soup? If you go to your local grocery store, you’ll see at least 10 different soup brands, priced roughly the same, with roughly the same ingredients. What makes you choose one brand over the other? Is it the taste? Maybe. 

What about Pepsi and Coca-Cola? These brands are well-known in the beverage industry eclipsing Dr. Pepper—a cola that’s been around since 1783—and RC Cola which was established in 1905. Pepsi introduced its soda product in 1965, In 1883, Dr. Pepper actually first entered the soda pop market, later Coca-Cola being its product rival. 

In theory, Dr. Pepper ought to be the most popular of the cola brands because it’s been in the market the longest, but perhaps because of its brand awareness, that’s not the case. Brand awareness is about how much people know about your brand, which ultimately influences their purchasing decision. 

This article will explore what brand awareness is, how it’s related to brand power as well as the factors that influence it. Plus, you’ll learn how you’ll be able to measure your own brand awareness.

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What is brand awareness?

If you’re involved in marketing, you know that your job is to make sure people are choosing your product or service over the competition.

But where do you start? Figure out where you stand in terms of brand awareness. Brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with your product or service. Is your brand the first that comes to mind when someone wants to buy a laptop? When you know how visible (or invisible) you are to consumers, you can target your marketing efforts accordingly.

Start simple—you can discover how popular you are with consumers by using a brand awareness survey. Measuring brand awareness provides you with insight into how well your business is performing within an industry. It’ll also help you gauge how well your marketing efforts are doing. Having the marketing tools to measure your brand awareness will position you to gain brand power. By improving customer targeting and repurposing your product to satisfy consumer needs, you’ll increase customer loyalty and retention. This can result in a boost in market shares and notoriety as a thought leader. 

Resource: Get the ultimate guide on market research to help you start your brand awareness journey.

What is brand power? 

Many consumer-purchasing decisions are influenced by brand names. Brand power is an intangible asset reflecting the dependability, familiarity, and value of a company’s products and services. Titan industry names like Apple and Microsoft are product brands that continue to be trusted household names throughout generations. These brands are well-known because the companies have established equity in the product name more than the attributes of the product itself. In other words, brand power recognizes the company as a trustworthy image offering quality products. With brand power, a company has the luxury to place a premium value on any product or service it renders.  

Importance of brand power 

Building brand power helps establish brand familiarity. When consumers are familiar with a brand, they trust it. When you establish trust with consumers, they’re more likely to become loyal customers. These customers can have habitual buying behaviors—they are quicker to purchase your product without needing to shop around for options. 

Resource: Learn more about customer loyalty and retention

Examples of power brands 

  • Under Armour is a sports clothing company that’s popular with athletes and the military. Because athletes generally have an strong influence on most of the general public, Under Armour can associate their image with the athlete’s image and even their sports affiliation. Because of this, Under Armour can sell its products at a premium price. 
  • Nike is another power brand. A sneaker company that rivals Under Armour, Nike is better known for its logo swoosh symbol and tagline, “Just Do It.” The tagline aligns with with athletes in various sports industries. Nike established itself long before Under Armour aligning itself with star athletes, expanding and enforcing its brand. 
  • Amazon is a global brand that’s arguably the most trusted brand for ecommerce. This company started off selling books, but brand power grew when it began to sell other power brands at a discounted price. Allowing entrepreneurs and small businesses to sell their product on their platform enforces its brand power.
  • McDonalds, a fast-food restaurant that started in 1948 in San Bernardino, CA is now a global brand name in the food and beverage industry. McDonalds was originally meant to expand within the US but eventually opened franchises throughout the world adapting their menu according to geographical and cultural cuisine preferences. 

Factors that influence brand power

Employment, inflation, and supply and demand can heavily affect consumer purchasing power. Establishing brand power will keep your business healthy enough to survive such obstacles. If your business is strong enough to acquire and sustain buying power, the only variables you’ll need to address are the 5 core factors that influence buying power. Brand identity, brand loyalty, brand recognition, brand equity, and brand awareness will reflect just how well your business fairs in brand awareness and ultimately, brand power.

Brand identity

Establishing what your business is in terms of beliefs and core values defines brand identity. This should reflect in your mission statement and become the foundation of your leadership. Brand identity is also about perception. Ensuring the target market views your brand in a way that correlates with their own values helps increase and sustain business. Build your brand identity today.

Brand loyalty

Competing with other brands based on price and accessibility is highly competitive and doesn’t necessarily guarantee longevity. A competitor can come along with a better brand or a lower price driving you out of business. What can sustain a business is brand loyalty

Quality and reliability are strong factors of brand loyalty. If you can produce a product that meets the customer’s needs, they won’t have any reason to shop the competitor. Consumers are typically willing to pay more money for products they can trust. When you achieve brand loyalty, you’ll be able to count on repeat business and referrals. Brand loyalty offers you the flexibility to increase should extenuating costs arise and not lose retaining customers. Find out how to measure brand loyalty with consumer surveys that will help you determine a customer’s perception, trust, esteem, reliability, and overall satisfaction.   

Brand recognition

The clothing industry is highly competitive. What distinguishes one pair of jeans from another? How a buyer determines which pair is the right fit may depend on the brand. While the consumer may be aware of many brands, there will ultimately be one that he or she recognizes as a trusted brand over other selections. For instance, Wrangler jeans might be recognized by older generations whereas Levi’s is likely recognized by today’s millennials. In a broader view, brand recognition is related to taglines and logos as well as the type of businesses that are associated with that brand. It’s is about being able to stand out from the competition. With key insights, you’ll be able to focus on the right audience and show them how and why you’re different enough to be the choice consumers prefer.

Brand equity 

How popular your brand is in your industry will determine the amount of brand equity you have. Brand awareness is about perception, familiarity, and trust. If a consumer perceives your business as a valuable brand, they will most likely pay a premium for the product or service. Furthermore, these shoppers are more likely to purchase new products. Brand equity can not only help your increase revenue, it can help you save on costly and unnecessary marketing campaigns. 

Brand equity model

A customer’s perception of your business impacts can impact your business. Most shoppers prefer to purchase from a brand they trust. According to Keller’s Customer Based Brand Equity Model (CBBE), brand equity relies on the 4 stages of identity, image, response, and resonance. Brand equity reflects a positive customer experience of your brand. 

  1. Identity - Brand identity establishes who you are. This is implied in the business name, logo, the color scheme you choose, and the overall voice of how you represent the company.
  2. Image - Brand image represents your company’s core values and what you stand for. This is exhibited in performance and imagery. 
  3. Response - Brand response represents the consumer’s reaction to your product. This will be expressed in how the product makes them feel which ultimately leads to their judgment toward your brand. 
  4. Resonance - A consumer’s overall judgment will determine the relationship they’ll have with your product. They’ll either trust your brand and become loyal customers, or they’ll shop around looking for the product that fulfills their need.

Brand awareness interprets how popular your business is with consumers. Can shoppers quickly identify your brand among a long list of competitors? Furthermore, do they trust it enough to purchase it? Being able to uniquely define your products and services in a way that stands out among your competitors will increase your brand awareness and strengthen buying power. 

How does brand awareness relate to brand power?

There is no brand power without brand awareness. A consumer needs to know your business exists first. Next, they need to experience your product or service and assess whether or not it meets their needs. Based on customer response, brand awareness isn’t always perceived positively. 

It’s the customer’s perception and acknowledgment of your brand that will determine how much brand power you have. While brand power allows companies to charge a premium for their products and services, they can still lose sales to a private label. One recall can place doubt and mistrust in a consumer’s mind influencing them to choose a lesser-known label over a popular brand, one that costs less and may very well meet their needs resulting in a decrease in retention and overall sales.

Measuring brand awareness

There’s only one way to measure brand awareness and that’s asking consumers how they perceive their brand among competitors. This can be tricky because brand awareness is about knowing whether or not shoppers are aware of your presence in the industry. So, how can you do that without exposing your brand in the process? Submitting surveys that ask unbiased questions will result in critical insights to help you see how you’re truly positioned in your industry in regards to branding power.

Brand awareness surveys

To get an accurate measure of your business’ brand popularity, submit aided and unaided survey questions. This way, you’ll eliminate consumer bias. The challenge is determining what an aided and unaided survey question looks like. Utilizing a brand awareness survey template offers the right verbiage to help survey takers mention your brand name on their own. For instance, asking the question, “Which of the following brands have you heard of in X industry?” prompts survey respondents to provide you with the products that are most familiar to them and in turn, inform you who your competitors are. 

Unaided brand awareness 

For example, if you really want to know how present your brand is in consumers’ minds, ask them unaided questions like these:

  • How familiar are you with canned soup?
  • When you think of canned soup, what brands come to mind?

Your first question, “How familiar are you with canned soup?” can be a multiple-choice question with answer choices like these:

  • Extremely familiar
  • Very familiar
  • Moderately familiar
  • Slightly familiar
  • Not at all familiar

The second unaided brand recall question, “When you think of canned soup, what brands come to mind?” can be an open-ended question—meaning you should give your survey respondents a text box where they write in any brand they can think of (Progresso, Campbell’s, Amy’s, Healthy Choice, etc.).

Aided brand recognition

Once you know if consumers have your brand in mind, the second measurement you should take is brand recognition (your consumers’ ability to recognize your brand among a list of alternatives). Use aided questions, in which you mention your brand, to measure how you stack up against your biggest competitors. Let’s continue to use the soup example: 

  • Have you heard of Progresso?
  • How familiar are you with Progresso?
  • Which of the following brands of canned soup have you heard of?
  • Which of the following brands of canned soup have you purchased?
  • Which of the following brands of canned soup do you currently have in your home?

But when you ask a brand recognition survey question like, “Which of the following brands of canned soup have you purchased?” how do you know which brands to present to consumers when you write out your answer choices? 

Do you remember the open-ended brand recall question, “When you think of canned soup, what brands come to mind?” Because your respondents already entered in the brands they’re familiar with, you’ve got the most popular brands (and most likely your biggest competitors) at your fingertips.

So, your answer choices for your aided brand recall question, “Which of the following brands of canned soup have you heard of?” would be the following:

  • Progresso
  • Campbell’s
  • Amy’s
  • Healthy Choice
  • Other (Please specify)

Note that there’s an “Other (Please specify)” option at the end of the list. Part of writing a good survey is making sure you never force respondents to choose an answer that doesn’t reflect how they really feel. (And you want to make sure you haven’t overlooked any other relevant brands.)

Visually aided brand awareness

Strong brand awareness is often more visual than the name of the actual product. Logo design and brand packaging are part of building brand awareness and power. For instance, there are several brands of sparkling water in the market. While consumers may not know the brand name, they may recognize the packaging. This is where utilizing visually-aided brand awareness becomes helpful. Asking a consumer to identify brand names of sparkling water accompanied with a photo of options to select from will help them easily identify brands and provide you with specific brand awareness responses. Furthermore, you can ask the same question without visual aid and see what results you get. From this analysis, you’ll be able to determine which brand of sparkling water has the best and least brand recognition. You’ll also be able to see where your business correlates within this data. 

Writing effective brand recall and brand recognition survey questions

When you’re writing a brand awareness survey, you want to take two measurements. The first is brand recall, which is your consumers’ ability to remember your brand without help. Because you need to get a true measure of how well consumers know your brand, you don’t want to bias them by presenting them with your company name right away. 

Understanding what consumers think of your brand

Finding out how familiar or aware consumers are of your brand is only one part of the equation. If you want to assess your overall brand power, visit our resource for branding and brand identity resource page to learn how to run a brand attributes survey and access brand loyalty, brand equity, and brand awareness survey templates.

Measure brand power through brand awareness surveys

Discover just how much brand equity your business has by seeing where you stand in brand identity. Collect real-time data on how your brand is performing within your industry with our Brand Tracker. Align your brand with consumers’ needs and market research solutions that will educate you on consumer preferences and buying habits. 

Learn how to analyze survey responses for optimal results to build brand power. Get a modern guide to brand & industry tracking. Learn how to move your products and services in new markets while keeping up with competitors.

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