Brand awareness refers to the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognise a brand. Brand awareness is a key consideration in consumer behavior, advertising management, brand management and strategy development. The consumer’s ability to recognise or recall a brand is central to purchasing decision-making. Purchasing cannot proceed unless a consumer is first aware of a product category and a brand within that category. Awareness does not necessarily mean that the consumer must be able to recall a specific brand name, but he or she must be able to recall sufficient distinguishing features for purchasing to proceed. For instance, if a consumer asks her friend to buy her some gum in a “blue pack”, the friend would be expected to know which gum to buy, even though neither friend can recall the precise brand name at the time.
Different types of brand awareness have been identified, namely brand recall and brand recognition. Key researchers argue that these different types of awareness operate in fundamentally different ways and that this has important implications for the purchase decision process and for marketing communications. Brand awareness is closely related to concepts such as the evoked set and consideration set which describe specific aspects of the consumer’s purchase decision. Consumers are believed to hold between three and seven brands in their consideration set across a broad range of product categories. Consumers will normally purchase one of the top three brands in their consideration set.
Brand awareness is a key indicator of a brand’s competitive market performance. Given the importance of brand awareness in consumer purchasing decisions, marketers have developed a number of metrics designed to measure brand awareness and other measures of brand health. These metrics are collectively known as Awareness, Attitudes and Usage (AAU) metrics.