Often when we think about a brand, we associate it with a physical product. On any given day, you can listen to your iPod while jogging across the street in a pair of Nikes to pick up some Jamba Juice. I don’t have to say that an iPod is an mp3 player, Nikes are sneakers, and Jamba Juice is a really delicious fruit smoothie. We are all familiar with these brands because they have become synonymous with their physical products.
So, how does a product make the journey from mere object to easily identifiable brand? What does it mean to create a brand?
Products and Brands
Products are tangible. They are a composite of packaging, labeling, features, functions, reliability and quality. Another component of a product, and an essential one at that, is brand. Think of your favorite jingle, logo, symbol, slogan, packaging - these cues make up what we’ve come to know as ‘brand’ - a series of tangible cues that add intangible value.
However elusive the idea of brand may seem, it cannot be dismissed as unimportant or irrelevant. Why else would the question “Coke or Pepsi?” elicit such strong responses? On the supermarket shelf, they are virtually indistinguishable — tall, dark, and fizzy — except for the label and the name. However, brand is not just a label or a name; it is a lifestyle. Brands create company value (brand equity) by generating a fan base and a sense of loyalty. Savvy executives realize that those intangibles, which give your life meaning, are worth capturing in a brand.
Brand Equity Begins with Brand Awareness. Understanding Brand Awareness Begins with Market Research.
Brands are assets that can be built, modified, and adjusted over time to generate their own equity and create value for the company. Strategic investment in a brand can pay huge dividends over its lifetime. The relationship between consumers and a brand is not a one-off economic transaction; rather, it should be seen as a relationship that has the potential to grow and develop into a marriage. Therefore, it is necessary to intentionally initiate, cultivate, and maintain a positive relationship between consumers and the brand, as well as focus on the relationship between consumers and the related products.
This process begins with market research to quantify brand awareness and other key dimensions. The resulting measured brand value is amplified through strategic brand management and positioning.
Market Research for Brand Awareness
Market research for brand awareness is in a sense the cumulative success of prior marketing efforts.
Brand awareness refers to how well consumers can recognize a brand, correctly identify it, and connect it with the company that brought it to market.
Determining levels of familiarity can give clear data about what has worked in the past and what efforts have not been so successful, helping to plot the optimal direction for future efforts.
Brands with significant brand awareness should come top-of-mind to consumers, meaning that brand is the first one a consumer thinks of when a certain product is mentioned. Brands who have achieved top-of-mind awareness may focus their efforts more on the decision-making or purchasing process in their marketing campaigns, rather than promoting familiarity.
Why Brand Recognition Matters
Brand awareness research is the first step to generating brand equity. Strong brands serve as high, strong barriers for competitors to overcome. It is important, then, to understand how customers perceive your brand and which other companies are competing for their business. Brands that establish trust with consumers by providing reliable and consistent products will in turn generate buying loyalty. Investing in both your brand and your product is crucial to creating lasting profits.
Customers are busy people with many distractions in their everyday lives. Brands serve as a shortcut through the labyrinthine web of purchasing decisions, providing consumers with a recognizable path to confidently follow. Successful branding can increase consumer likelihood of purchase, but poor branding can stand out like a sore thumb.
The takeaway: before investing in that product line extension, product repositioning, or rebranding, make a modest investment in research for your brand. This is the real key to increasing consumer likelihood of purchase, revenue, growth, and profitability. Some food for thought for the next time you reach for your tall, dark, and fizzy…
Actionable Brand Awareness
Actionable Research has been successfully helping companies identify their brand equity for over 16 years. Our brand services are beneficial in a myriad of situations, such as discovering optimal messaging & positioning, naming new products, branding or rebranding, and even in the acquisition of companies. To discover more about how our brand measurement methodologies can be beneficial to you, subscribe to our blog, download our latest eBook, or contact us today.