Brand awareness and brand perception studies can provide important metrics for manydifferent kinds of organizations. Often though, definitions of each can get a little muddy andthese very distinct terms get used interchangeably. Here’s a quick overview of brandawareness vs. brand perception and reasons why each is an animal all its own.Brand awarenessSimply put, brand awareness is the “who” and the “how much” of brand information. It refersto how many people know your particular brand and how that familiarity stacks up againstthe competition. Usually, consumer awareness is measured through surveys that askparticipants questions like, “What brand comes to mind when it’s time for a medical check-up?” Or, “What hospital would you think of first if a loved one needed minor surgery?” Here,marketers are looking for unaided responses to gauge awareness. We’re focused on thepercent of respondents who mention a brand without any influence or suggestion.Brand perceptionPerception is more complex; it’s the “what” and the “why” of the brand. Perception iscreated through experience with the brand’s product or service and it reflects the valuesconsumers have attached to it. Digging deeper than questions about awareness andfamiliarity, perception studies score the attitudes that consumers have about a particularbrand. Study questions may ask participants to rank a clinic in terms of patientcommunication or rank a cancer center based upon its holistic approach to treatment.How each is usedSo why are we splitting hairs between brand awareness and perception and how can all thishelp your organization? Brand awareness and brand perception data both have their placein the world of market research and both provide important insights on how to improvemarket share. For growing brands or those that are new-to-market, assessing andpromoting awareness is a key driver to increase business. Organizations need to know howto cut through competing brand messaging and position themselves for steady growth in afield of other options.But for more mature brands, perception is the primary driver. Consumers may be keenlyaware of an established brand, but not particularly prone to use it (i.e., you’ve heard ofChrysler, but have you ever owned a Chrysler?). Perception studies uncover howconsumers experience a brand and the results (both positive and negative) revealopportunities to reposition it to reach new market segments.
Perception studies are especially useful as organizations face pivotal branding moments —extending a brand, merging multiple brands, or revitalizing a mature brand. Insights fromstudy data form the foundation of a broader marketing strategy that honors the legacy of astrong organizational brand and sets the stage for its successful evolution.How has your organization benefited from brand awareness or brand perception studies?What surprises about your brand did you discover from perception study results?