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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Measuring Brand Awareness

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Published: March 2, 2015

Brand awareness is a critically important marketing goal because it sets the stage for the ultimate success or failure of your marketing campaign. Assuming that your end goal is to acquire new customers, you need to first generate awareness of your brand in the minds of your prospects, persuade them that your brand is the best way to satisfy their needs, and encourage an action that puts them squarely on the path to becoming a customer.

Most marketers would agree that any goal worth pursuing is worth measuring. How else will you know if your efforts are truly on-target and helping move your business forward? Unless you have the time and money to waste on misguided and ineffective activities that won’t return a penny on your investment, you need to establish a means of measuring your progress for each marketing goal you set – beginning with brand awareness.

What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness refers to consumer recognition of your brand’s existence and availability as a possible solution to solving problems and filling needs. It’s impossible for someone to consider buying from you if they don’t even know that your company exists. Building and maintaining strong brand awareness is the foundation of every successful marketing effort.

  • Top-of-mind awareness simply means that consumers remember and can associate your brand with a given product category. When consumers think about grabbing a cup of coffee, many will automatically think of Starbucks – which is bad news if you happen to be the owner of Joe’s Coffee Shop.
  • Aided awareness refers to consumers being able to recognize your brand only after their memory has been jogged by viewing a list of brands for a particular product category.
  • Strategic awareness is the most desirable level of brand awareness, and combines top-of-mind awareness with the belief that your brand is distinctly different and a better choice than any other brand in your product category.

Brand Awareness Measurement Mistake #1: No Measurable Goal
Establishing a measurable brand awareness goal will likely find you getting pulled in a number of different directions. Your sales team might want a specific prospect group targeted to attract more leads, public relations might argue for a higher profile among industry journalists, and so on. The best approach is to gather together everyone in your organization with a stake in building your brand and selecting one measurable brand awareness goal that everyone can live with. Whatever goal you choose, make sure that it’s quantifiable and has a set timeframe for accomplishment.

Brand Awareness Measurement Mistake #2: Trying to Do Too Much
Probably the only thing worse than doing nothing is trying to do too much. Focus on tracking only the few key performance metrics that best demonstrate your progress in building brand awareness. Remember that trying to measure direct conversions is usually not a good metric for measuring brand awareness – by definition, brand awareness is only the first stage in the buying process.

Brand Awareness Mistake #3: Not Keeping the Bottom Line in Mind
The idea behind running a brand awareness campaigns is to get your foot in the door with a potential customer, not to close a sale. That being said, it’s important to at least try to make a connection between your brand awareness building efforts and sales. Your customer relationship management (CRM) software should allow you to add your awareness metrics into the equation so that brand awareness is properly attributed for its contribution to the sales process.

Brand Awareness Mistake #4: Expecting Too Much Too Soon
Building awareness for your brand simply takes time, and it’s not something that can be fast-tracked. Just as your reputation cannot be built from scratch overnight, neither can brand awareness. What you should realistically be looking for is a cumulative increase in brand awareness over time and across multiple campaigns.