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Brand Recall: How to Measure and Boost Brand Awareness

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The power of brand recall to drive sales is a force that marketers should never underestimate. Consider how brand recall influences your choices as a shopper: when you need to purchase a new product and you’re presented with an array of options, what factors into your decision of what to buy?

On one hand, you may opt for a product manufactured by a company you know you can rely on based on past experience. Alternatively, you may take a chance on something new because you were impressed by its advertising. Either way, your final choice is influenced by how aware you are of the brand.

For marketers, instilling brand loyalty is everything. As HubSpot reports, “Once a consumer bonds to your brand, they’re more likely to make repeat purchases with little to no forethought.” By investing a great deal of time and money into your ad campaigns, you’re striving to stand apart from your competition. Ensuring that your audience remember who you are and what you stand for is half the battle. 

Before you set out to increase your brand awareness, you must first develop a thorough understanding of the diverse metrics you can apply to measure it. This article will lead you through the various ways of measuring brand recall and brand awareness, so you can strategically track the performance of your next ad campaign.

What Is Brand Recall?

Brand recall is a measure of the proportion of consumers who can recollect your brand. Your audience’s ability to remember your brand is determined by a number of factors, like whether they’ve been exposed to your ads, or whether your brand has distinguishing features that linger in your audience’s memory.

How to Measure Brand Recall

There are two types of brand awareness surveys that are used to measure brand recall: 

  • Aided brand recall: This measurement involves presenting survey respondents with a list of competing brands, and asking them questions that test how well they can identify your brand and components of its advertising. 
  • Unaided brand recall: This method involves providing your survey respondents with a product category, and prompting them to list the brands that come to mind. For example, when you ask your respondent to name coffeehouse chains, they may respond with Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Tim Hortons.

The percentage of consumers who can name your brand, without being fed the name of your brand, will allow you to gauge your brand recall. Unaided brand recall is a noteworthy metric in the sense that it proves pre-purchase awareness. 

On the other hand, brand awareness (aided or unaided) doesn’t exactly signify intent to purchase. Of the percentage of consumers who are aware of your brand, only a slighter segment of them will have the intent to purchase from you. 

A better way to track intent to purchase is by measuring prospects’ behaviors and positioning them somewhere in your marketing funnel. “If prospects are exhibiting behaviors that don’t seem to be linked to purchase, like reading blog posts,” Instapage writes, “they’re likely in the early stages of the marketing funnel.” If a prospect has visited a price page, or is making searches oriented around highly specific keywords, these are stronger signifiers that they are seriously considering making a purchase. 

Brand recall remains highly important, however, because when a customer is toying with the idea of making a purchase and starting to place searches (when they’re still at the beginning of the marketing funnel), they are bound to seek out and respond more viscerally to the marketing efforts of a brand that they are already familiar with. In a 2001 study in the Journal of Product & Brand Management, Aron O’Cass and Kenny Lim underline the notion that “consumer brand knowledge determines how a customer thinks about a brand, and how the consumer responds to different stimuli regarding a brand.”

Increasing Brand Recall

When you set out to achieve an increased brand recall, there are two key metrics that will play a role in this: reach and impressions.

Reach refers to the number of people who are served your ad at least once.

Impressions refer to the number of times your ad has been served in total. 

When you’re running an ad campaign, it is well worth keeping in mind that one impression isn’t all that it takes for consumers to grow familiar with your brand. Marketers generally follow the rule of seven, which asserts that about seven impressions need to be made on a member of the brand’s target market before the consumer decides to buy from the brand. 

If you have a high number of impressions, but minimal clicks, your campaign isn’t doing so hot. If you have a low number of impressions but a high number of clicks, it means your campaign is performing successfully. 

There are a number of ways you can optimize the use of your limited ad spend to gather the most impressions. One method is to target niche audiences based on their interests and behavior. Instead of casting your net as wide as possible, it is a better idea to zero in on a smaller, more defined audience with a higher likelihood of converting. You can go about this using advanced marketing campaign utilities offered by the likes of Facebook Ads.

With Facebook Ads, you are offered the opportunity to run a brand lift test. Viget defines brand lift as “an increase in integration as a result of an advertising campaign, [that] is primarily used to identify a positive shift in customer awareness and perception.” 

Another avenue for achieving this is running an integrated marketing campaign. Instead of isolated marketing efforts across different platforms (email, Facebook, YouTube, etc.), you can create a seamless campaign that spans various marketing channels with a sense of congruity. Campaign Monitor reports that “personalized content provides 18 times more revenue than generic content, 67% of customers expect uniquely relevant content, and nearly half will get frustrated if you only offer generic content.” 

Measuring Brand Awareness 

Diligently measuring brand awareness is a crucial component toward increasing brand recall. There are a number of metrics that you can track to measure your brand awareness.

Here are a number of other ways to measure your brand awareness: 

Track traffic to your website

Using Google Analytics, you can analyze whether visitors to your website have increased or declined. It allows you to compare based on time period and date, so you’ll be able to analyze when things sped up or slowed down.

Web traffic is often touted as the holy grail for marketers. The more traffic you accumulate, the more powerful your brand. However, a dive into Google Analytics can reveal a lot about brand recall. Specifically, traffic that arrives at your brand via the ‘Direct’ channel can indicate how much of your traffic is arriving at your site simply because the end user is already so familiar with who you are that they came directly to you. Alternatively, traffic that arrives at your site via organic search can help you pinpoint how well your site’s content is helping to increase your brand awareness.

In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels to see how the source of your traffic breaks down.

Look closely at referrals to your site

Also easily performed through Google Analytics using the path listed above and clicking on ‘Referrals,’ this channel illuminates the backlinks that are sending users to your site. This can be an excellent measure of how your efforts to increase awareness through earned media are paying off, for example, by highlighting news outlets that are reporting on your business. However, it can also provide a way to identify other sites that are your biggest fans, and understand the big picture of how traffic is reaching you across the internet. Are you being linked in a popular article? Which readers are clicking through to find you? (Note: It’s worth inspecting the domain authority of the sites where you’re being linked. The higher DA sites linking out to you, the better. Use this tool to check a site’s domain authority.) 

Strategically study social engagement 

Just because you’re advertising on social media doesn’t mean that you’re performing according to your aims. One strong method of analysis to determine how strong your brand awareness or recall is on social media is to calculate your brand’s share of voice.

Share of voice refers to the percentage of the market that your brand owns. For example, owning the biggest piece of the ‘share of voice’ pie is one effective way to increase your overall brand awareness. A brand like Nike might be interested in dominating social media conversations on athletic performance. They’d be up against competitors that would include other sports apparel and footwear companies, like Adidas, Reebok, etc., as well as other brands publishing similar content, such as those who sell sports nutrition products or energy drinks.

To calculate your share of voice, you need to first understand who your competitors are. Then figure it out by using this simple equation: divide the sum of all the social mentions of both your brand, and all of your competitors, by 100. Then, count the number of mentions of your brand, and divide that number by the number you got in the first step. 

To track competitors and brand mentions, you can also use tools such as Awario or Brandwatch.

3 Popular Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

The best processes for boosting brand awareness will vary company by company. The process you ultimately opt for will largely be oriented around where you have been able to determine your target market resides. Are they trend-chasing digital natives who live on Twitter and YouTube, or are they an older audience who stay connected via email and typing questions into search engines?

Here are several strategic forms of marketing that will attune audiences to your brand and ensure that you stand out amidst all the competition. These methods are both customizable to various business models, and they’re proven to be effective. 

Narrative marketing

Tell your brand story. Since the dawn of time, people have naturally gravitated toward narrative arcs that can capture them and take them on a journey. Leo Widrich expands on the ‘sticking’ power of storytelling, drawing on a Princeton study that found that “when we tell stories to others that have really helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too. The brains of a person telling a story and listening to it can synchronize.”

There are 3 central types of stories brands should tell to build a loyal customer base, and they range from product-focused stories, to role-focused stories, to emotional-focused stories. Telling compelling stories with tact will imbue your brand with a distinct personality that presents it as an individual who consumers can relate to, instead of a mere corporation. Get a dose of inspiration with this list of great brand storytelling examples!

Remarketing

Target your ad campaign at individuals who have already visited your site. You can accomplish this using Google AdSense. Remarketing is a robust way to reach the segments of your audience who have already shown interest in your brand by visiting your site, meaning they stand a higher chance of converting when the right marketing is employed.

As mentioned above, it takes a minimum of seven exposures to a brand name for it to become memorable. This makes remarketing an effective way to reach audiences that already have some familiarity with you, and really ingrain brand recall. 

SEO

Search engine optimization is one of the most popular techniques to attract visitors to your site by way of organic search. Doubling-down on enriching your content so that it shows up when individuals are searching relevant topics will ensure they land on your site.

How do you go about enriching that content? 

While prioritizing keyword density (populating your target keyword multiple times throughout your content) is a customary SEO tactic, it is actually just as important to properly locate your keywords. Positioning your main keyword at the beginning of your content, both in a page’s title tag and the opening sentences of your copy—also known as front-loading—is a fantastic way to boost SEO. In fact, Google puts more weight on keywords that appear at the top of a webpage rather than further down.

It’s important to note that once you’ve got durable content that has been perfectly optimized for search engines, that you don’t duplicate it elsewhere on your site. Google will recognize whether your content is being reproduced, which will in turn diminish your SEO. This is why, for each page on your site, you should write distinct title tags, meta descriptions, landing pages, image alt text, etc. The existence of each page on your site should be justified for being 100% unique.

The Most Effective Way to Enhance Brand Recall: Sonic Branding

Studies show that we process sound faster than any other sense. Crafting audio ads is a surefire way to gain instant access to your audience’s undivided attention in a capacity that exceeds anything that visual marketing is capable of. In fact, creative agency Fabrik Brands reports that “it only takes around 0.146 seconds for human beings to react to sound.”

Today’s audio consumption is at an all-time high. Voice commerce sales are projected to reach $40 billion by 2022, and around 60 million people own a smart speaker in the U.S. alone. The Best Audio Brands Report 2019 found that “brand engagement is far stronger when audio is treated as an equal and essential aspect of the brand.” To be a true market leader, you ought to tap into the vast potential held by audio branding, so your message resonates and sticks with viewers in a profound, lasting manner.

In the 2019 Audio Logo Index, a comprehensive study of all the major players in the audio branding realm, Veritonic was able to single out a few key trends that sonic marketers can employ to their benefit. They found that bookending your sonic logo in an audio ad—that is, placing it at both the beginning and end of the ad—increased brand recall. Veritonic additionally found that using a brand’s name in conjunction with a pleasant melody improved its participants’ brand recall. 

These findings make clear that, while audio is a dimension worth channeling in your marketing efforts, it isn’t enough to simply play the name of your brand for all to hear. You ought to be strategic about the number of times it is played, in addition to what the audience experiences alongside that sound. 

Audiodraft discovered that “brands whose music is aligned with brand identity are more likely to be remembered,” as opposed to music that didn’t align with the campaign or the greater brand presence. Another key finding they report is that “ads that link sound and visuals deliver higher memory encoding.” So whether you’re creating a television commercial, an online ad, or even a product demo, it’s worth pairing a voice with the visuals.

Additional studies show that messaging delivered via voice tech can amount to double the brand recall of TV commercials, because “voice offers a real-time connection that heightens relevance and memory with a hands-free experience.” Consumers are also less likely to skip ads when they’re being played over a smart speaker, compared to an audio ad that pops up while they’re consuming audio content on their phone or computer.

Find a Voice to Build Your Brand Recall

It’s now evident that launching your forthcoming advertising campaign via audio channels and wielding the emotionally resonant power of voice is the optimal way to reach your target audience and cause them to remember your brand. Drive brand recall by finding the best voice actor to read your script and headline your campaign. 

Sign up for a Voices account to hire a voice for your brand today. 

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  • Aaron Starc
    June 22, 2020, 9:09 am

    I think if you want to enable your online customers purchasing then you need to build trust in and show them who you really are and one of the main ways for doing it is putting out visual content in which you can get some influencers on board which would really help the cause.

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