Brand awareness is one of the hardest things for any company to measure—it's a subjective, slippery concept. We know the importance of it, though. With increased brand awareness comes better brand recall, meaning people are more likely to recall your brand when it comes time to buy.
So why is it hard to measure? First, "brand awareness" can mean different things to different groups. A company should answer these questions before figuring out how to measure performance of a campaign:
- What does brand awareness mean to your company?
- How do you measure brand awareness?
- How do you measure the performance of brand awareness campaigns?
Here are a few tools and methods for measuring performance:
1. Track brand mentions online
A brand mention is when someone mentions your brand name online, in a forum, news article, blog post, or social media post. You can track brand mentions using brand monitoring tools like SEMRush or Brandwatch, or free monitoring tools like Google Alerts or Hootsuite. The pricier platforms will automatically compile data about who's mentioning your brand and the context and value of those mentions, while free tools will allow you to set up a system of automatic alerts for you to sift through and evaluate. The key is to watch for trends and to track how trends are affected by advertising and marketing campaigns.
2. Conduct brand recall tests
Conduct surveys with random groups (if you're a large brand), or target audience groups. You can do this via in-person tests or online surveys. SurveyMonkey offers guidelines for writing unaided and aided brand awareness questions for your survey to help meausure brand recall and brand recognition. Here are examples:
Unaided brand awareness question (to measure brand recall):
What bottled water brands are you familiar with? (Please write your answers in the box below)
Aided brand awareness question (to measure brand recognition):
Which of the following bottled water brands have you heard of? (Select all that apply)
- (Insert your brand name)
3. Use print specific tracking codes
Tracking codes are useful for measuring the efffectiveness of various advertising media or tactics. For example, you might use coupon codes in printed advertising, like billboards, fleet graphics or event signage. Then, measure how well these different codes perform.
Other methods of tracking include using unique phone numbers, URLs, subdomains, etc. to measure how well particular print ads perform.
4. Ask your customers
This one may seem obvious, but don't overlook your own customers. How did they first learn about your company or products? Utilize mailers, online surveys, email campaigns, or in-store print surveys to gather information from your customers. You may want to offer incentives for completing the survey, like a drawing or gift card, to make sure you have a good sample size.
5. Website traffic, social shares, search volume, links, etc.
Monitor trends of your direct website traffic (that's when someone navigates directly to your website). Listen to what people are saying about your brand on social media. Look at search volume for your brand name and keywords. Monitor how many links are referring traffic to your website. You may not want to do all of the above, but there are lots of ways to monitor trends through website and digital marketing analytics.
6. Monitor sales
Follow the money. If you're not seeing sales and actual dollars coming in from your marketing efforts, then something is wrong. Monitor promotions relative to sales trends and historical data.
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