Brand awareness: What is it and how is it measured?

Brand awareness | Notoriedad de marca | Notoriedade de marca
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Brand awareness is a key metric in any brand building strategy. Consumers are more likely to purchase brands they know. Imagine facing a choice while shopping at a supermarket aisle. Most likely, when standing in front of the shelves, you will recognize some brands, while others may be unfamiliar. Consumers tend to favor brands they recognize and remember when making their purchasing decisions. That’s why brand awareness is so important. We will explain what it is and how it’s measured in this post.

What is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness is the ability of your brand to stand out from the others. It is the capacity of brands to be present in the minds of consumers, and naturally, it is a factor considered when making a purchase.

Often, when buying everyday products, consumers don’t think too much about the brand and simply purchase the product from the first brand that comes to mind.

Moreover, it’s essential to note that, as a general rule, people prefer to buy products from brands they already know, which is especially evident when buying a product for the first time.

Brand Recall

The way to measure brand awareness is through brand recall. If a consumer remembers a brand spontaneously or through prompting, it indicates their ability to identify it when making a purchase.

To increase brand awareness, it’s important to understand that there are various types of brand awareness. Depending on the type of brand awareness and its level, different actions may be recommended.

Levels of Brand Awareness

There are several levels of brand awareness, and it’s important to be aware of them to measure them effectively through a brand study.

Dominant Brands and Eponyms

This is the highest level, the best one. The brand is so well-known that it even overshadows the product’s name. In many cases, consumers may know the brand but not the product itself. Some clear examples of this level are Kleenex, Albal, and Bimbo.

Top of Mind

«Top of mind» is the first brand that comes to a consumer’s mind when asked about a product category. In other words, when a person is asked about a refreshing beverage, their immediate response is their «top of mind» brand. Being the «top of mind» brand is crucial because it’s likely the consumer’s first choice when making a purchase in that category.

Spontaneous Brand Awareness

The respondent remembers the brand spontaneously but not in the first position. In this case, the mentioned brand may not be the consumer’s first choice for purchase, but it could be among the brands they consider for purchase.

Suggested Brand Awareness

Suggested brand awareness is the ability to recognize a brand when mentioned. In this case, the brand is not spontaneously remembered, but when mentioned, the respondent recognizes and confirms that they are familiar with it.

Why Measuring Brand Awareness Is Important

In markets where all products are very similar, brands are the most valuable assets companies have. Therefore, measuring your brand’s awareness is of utmost importance to know if you have an advantage over the competition. If compared to the competition, your brand has low levels of awareness, you should design actions to increase it. If you already have high awareness compared to your competitors, you should monitor it to ensure you maintain the difference.

How Is Brand Awareness Measured?

Brand awareness is measured through a brand study. These studies help understand various factors important for a brand, including awareness. When the brand test is continuous, it is called brand tracking. All these studies include interviews using a brand awareness questionnaire to measure the level of each type of brand awareness.

Brand Awareness Questionnaire

The questionnaire for a brand awareness test is simple. It’s important to target consumers of the category, as non-consumers of the category won’t provide valuable input during the interview. Once selected, you should ask:

What is the first brand in the category that comes to your mind? This question gathers top-of-mind awareness.

What other brands in the category do you know, even if you’ve never bought them? This second question collects spontaneous awareness. This question should be open-ended and not pre-coded, allowing the consumer to «search their memory for the brands stored there.» You can find more information about types of questions in our related post.

Of the brands we are going to show you below, which of them do you know, even if you’ve never purchased them? Here, you can use a question that allows the insertion of images, as it’s often helpful to display the brand name along with its logo. The consumer should then check the boxes of the brands they are familiar with.

With these three questions, you will have gathered spontaneous awareness, including top-of-mind and suggested awareness. The brand awareness questionnaire may contain other sections to cover additional research objectives.

When Should Brand Awareness Be Measured?

Brand awareness is a fundamental variable for brand equity, and since we can collect the necessary information with just three simple questions, it’s essential to include brand awareness questions whenever possible in our questionnaires.

It’s especially important to measure brand awareness before and after a significant campaign. This way, any difference in brand awareness can be attributed to the campaign. Brand awareness should also be a standard section in brand tracking questionnaires.


At We Are Testers, we have the tools and an expert team with extensive experience in creating brand awareness studies. If you want to start measuring brand recall and using brand awareness tests to see how your brand awareness grows and validates your actions, we can assist you. Contact us to learn more!


Update date 11 June, 2024

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