What is Brand Awareness:
Brand awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or images of a particular brand. The degree of consumer recognition has important effects on consumer decision-making. It influences which brands enter the consumer’s consideration set and ultimately influences which brand is selected from that subconscious set.
Consumers have a habitual consumer behavior due to the passive recipient of product information. This occurs due to consumers’ repeated purchasing behavior. Concluded in a study done by Macdonald and Sharp; Brand awareness serves as the dominant choice tactic among inexperienced consumers.
Why is Brand Awareness Important:
Brand awareness is key to promoting a new product or reviving an older brand. In the marketing funnel, it is the very first step. The goal of brand recognition is to distinguish the product from the competition in a specific segment.
With more established brands in a particular product segment, brand awareness creates a barrier of entry to competitors from gaining market share. This results from repeated purchasing behavior or habitual consumer behavior going for the products they are familiar with versus a new product that has appeared in the market.
The consumer’s consideration set is influenced heavily by the familiarity of the brands they are offered. High levels of brand awareness have been connected to generating sales due to the fact that historically, consumers will purchase familiar brands. Repetitive purchase behavior and subconscious brand familiarity are established over time and ultimately is the choice between your brand and another in the consumer’s purchase intent.
The Benefits of Brand Awareness:
Brand awareness also allows campaigns; both existing and new, to be expanded on a larger scale. The introduction of social media and the internet has allowed companies to reach new audiences that they may not have had access to before. It allows businesses the opportunity to give new life to an old brand that needed a revamp.
Brand perception is the belief or bias consumers hold on a particular product, brand or service. It isn’t necessarily what the company’s mission statement is or how their public relations team shows the brand. It is strictly from the consumer’s personal experience, use or recommendation rather than what the brand is marketed towards.
Brand perception is tied closely to brand awareness as the perception of the brand influences buying behavior. A positive affiliation can be ruined by less than satisfactory public imaging or public relations scandals.
How to Increase Brand Awareness:
Now that the importance of brand awareness has come to the surface, how do we increase our company? A good first step is to strategically place physical print ads. Printed media has slowly come to be considered “dying” media. However, a strategic ad placed in a very niche market will oftentimes result in a quality lead.
Other channels like digital may be first considered and while they are effective in generating leads for your company and showing your brand to the public, placing a strategic ad will have a more lasting impression both on consumers and on revenue.
Another tip to increase brand awareness for your company is to stay ahead of negative publicity. Social media and the internet have been an innovative addition to how companies interact with their consumers. If a negative review were to arise, the company can quickly combat the concern in real-time. This allows customers to voice their concerns, and receive feedback from a real representative to address the concern and hopefully give them an overall positive experience with the brand or product.
Consider event sponsorships as well when trying to build brand awareness. Events like charity sponsorships for example can increase positive brand reputation and awareness. The company is then recognized in a good light for the charitable events it has decided to sponsor. Similar to this, partnering with other reputable organizations or parent company’s can be a method of increasing consumer awareness of your brand.
When partnering, the existing consumers already loyal to the partnership will then associate the new brand with the well-known one. When trying to grow, this could be very helpful but it could also be risky. Proceed with caution as the parent company’s reputation is now linked with your brand. If they become involved in a scandal the damage they take to their brand can reflect on your product or service.
The last tip; certainly not the only suggestion, is to take advantage of SEO. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a series of marketing strategies designed to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your company’s website or blog posts. It allows your brand to find your audience more easily. The easier your website is found to your target audience and potential customers, the more reputable your company will appear in the eyes of the consumer. When utilized correctly, SEO can be a very beneficial tool to increasing your company’s presence.
The Effects of Brand Awareness:
In a replication of a study performed by Hoyer and Brown, brand awareness has been proven to have a high correlation to preferences despite quality and price differences. Brands that the consumer had high brand awareness of were shown to consumers. It was observed that because the brand had more familiarity with the personal consumer, they were able to make the selection more quickly compared to those who had no relationship to either of the brands displayed to them.
Ultimately, brand awareness increases your brand’s market share, brand perception, reputation, and generated sales. While it isn’t the only factor to consider when analyzing consumer behavior, it is a reliable indicator in the early stages of research the strength of your brand in the competitive market segment it is sold.