Brand Awareness and Brand Associations

Introduction

This essay discusses brand awareness and brand associations. Its purpose is to create an appreciation of these two concepts in brand development and management. The essay begins by defining what a brand is and why an organization needs to have one. It then proceeds to discuss branding defining what it is and how to go about it. After this, the essay introduces the first of its main topics, brand awareness.

Brand awareness is defined, its elements discussed and its importance brought out. At this juncture, the results of a survey conducted to measure, compare, and critically analyze the brand awareness of two brands that fall in Australia’s FMCG product category are discussed. After this, the essay introduces the second of its main topic, brand association. Brand association is defined and its importance to an organization is discussed. The mental map developed for this topic with the aid of survey data is introduced and discussed.

Brand and its importance

A brand is “a distinguishing symbol, mark, logo, name, word, sentence or a combination of these items that companies use to distinguish their product from others in the market” (Investopedia 2013). In today’s world, brands have taken on a new role that of promise marks. This is because they “convey a uniform quality, credibility, and experience” (Goodson 2012, p. 2). With this being the case brands have become valuable and many companies today have associated a value to their respective brands. Taking into account some of the brands bought in recent times e.g. Kraft foods buying the Cadbury brand for $19.5 billion it is justified to conclude that when a company builds a strong brand its overall value increases quite appreciably as well. Value increase occurs as a result of the benefits that a strong brand presents.

Branding

Branding is the process through which a company builds its brand identity (Keller 2013, p. 16). Two elements characterize a successful branding process. The first of these is that the brand identity created should appeal more to buyers than those of competitors (Keller 2013, p. 16). Secondly, the brand identity of a brand has to convince prospective buyers that the brand can satisfy or meet their needs (Keller 2013, p. 16). The brand-building process spans from designing a company’s logo to the experience that prospective buyers have after consuming a product. In a nutshell, proper branding builds a brand that conveys the values of a company and what the company is known for within its respective market.

Brand awareness

At the basic level, a brand has to be recognized by its prospective consumers. In addition, it has to be rightly associated with its respective product class. Brand awareness is a measure of the strength of this recognition and association (Romaniuk et al 2004, p. 70). It is given as a percentage of a target market. In the early stages of product introduction to a market brand awareness becomes the primary objective of advertising. Brand awareness enlightens on whether branding efforts have achieved the desired success (Romaniuk et al 2004, p. 70). In competitive monopolistic markets, brand awareness is a crucial element in developing a brand.

This is because it helps a brand to stand out from the rest. Brand awareness is of two types, aided and top of the mind (Romaniuk et al 2004, p. 70). In the first type, there is the regeneration of awareness in the mind of the prospective consumer. The regeneration is achieved by aiding the consumer to recollect or recall his or her desired brand when a product category is specified. In the second type, awareness is already established in the mind of the prospective consumer, and therefore there is no need to aid him or her in recalling or recollecting his desired brand when a particular product category is specified.

Elements of brand awareness

Four elements are integrated into brand awareness. These are brand salience, brand recall, brand recognition, and brand familiarization. Brand salience is the first step in the CBBE approach for building a successful brand (Keller 2013, p. 16). More importantly, brand salience builds awareness of a brand by accomplishing two main objectives. The first objective is that customers can identify a brand (Keller 2013, p. 16). The second objective is that the brand acquires association with its respective or appropriate product class and customer need (Keller 2013, p. 16). In its basic nature, brand recall is psychological. A prospective consumer can associate in his or her memory a brand with a product such that when he or she recalls the product the brand comes into mind automatically (Keller 2013, p. 16).

Brand recognition on the other hand is the potential of a prospective consumer to retrieve the existing knowledge (or experience) he or she has of a brand when prompted (Keller 2013, p. 17). Prompting can occur either through an inquiry or by simply seeing the image of a brand logo. Brand familiarity is the likelihood that a consumer in need will prefer a product of a particular brand to another because the brand is reputable (Keller 2013, p. 17). Brand familiarity is playing a key role today as globalization takes shape. This is because as new markets open up it is becoming clear that consumers are interested in the brands they are familiar with or that are reputable.

Importance of brand awareness

One importance of brand awareness is that it lowers the cost of acquiring customers (McDonald & Sharp 2012, p. 1). These low costs are achieved through brand familiarity. A potential consumer will try out a new product probably because its respective brand is well known or he or she has prior knowledge of it. Simply put the consumer is familiar with the brand and thus he or she is drawn to it at a low or zero cost to the company.

Another importance of brand awareness is increased customer loyalty (McDonald & Sharp 2012, p. 2). Consistent brand awareness ultimately boosts customer loyalty. For this to happen, brand recall and recognition come into play. After acquiring a new customer, keeping the customer is the next step. This is where brand recall and recognition efforts payout since they strongly stamp the product inside the mind of the consumer.

Another importance of brand awareness is capturing lost leads (McDonald & Sharp 2012, p. 3). Lost leads are simply the consumers who had almost consumed a product of a given brand. These lost leads are recaptured through reconnecting with them. The reconnection mainly comprises brand salience efforts which enable the consumer to identify and associate a brand with its respective class and customer need. Another importance of brand awareness whether aided or top of the mind is that it cuts market spending (McDonald & Sharp 2012, p. 3). When consumers can recall a specific brand when a product category is specified to them, it implies that it is safe for the company that owns the brand to reduce its marketing activities for that category. Brand recall activities play a key role in this case as they are responsible for hammering the brand into the minds of the prospective consumers.

Another importance of brand awareness is that it is a useful metric in certain contexts (McDonald & Sharp 2012, p. 3). For instance, in determining whether there is potential for growth in a new market in this era of globalization brand awareness can be a useful metric. In such a case brand familiarity will be measured as this plays a major role since potential consumers choose a particular brand over another simply because it is familiar.

The breadth and depth of the brand awareness of V and Mother

To compare the breadth and depth of brand awareness of two brands that fall in Australia’s FMCG product category, V and Mother are chosen. Both of these are energy drinks brands. V enjoys a larger market share compared to Mother making it the more prominent of the two. The survey conducted to measure brand awareness of these two brands revealed that 38 respondents of the 90 interviewed easily recalled the V brand.

The survey also revealed that 13 of the 90 respondents easily recalled the Mother brand. These results imply that the V brand has a deeper depth compared to the Mother Brand. Using secondary data, V’s share of the energy drink market is 42% which is worth $77.7 million whereas Mother’s share is 14% which is worth $25.9 million (Speedy 2011, p. 8). This implies that V has a better purchase and consumption consideration compared to Mother and hence the former’s breadth of brand awareness is bigger than the latters.

Brand association

A definition for the brand association is “the extent to which a particular brand calls to mind the attributes of a general product category” (WebFinance 2013). Brand association happens when a customer asks for a brand instead of the respective product (John et al 2006, p. 549). To illustrate, instead of a customer asking for soda or a soft drink the customer asks for Coca-Cola. Brand associations occur on multiple bases. Some of these bases include advertisements, product quality, an association of a brand with a celebrity, and pricing of a brand’s product (John et al 2006, p. 549). Brand associations can be positive or negative.

The associations are positive when the product being depicted by the brand is marketable, desirable and of high quality (John et al 2006, p. 549). Otherwise, the association is negative (John et al 2006, p. 549). When a positive brand association takes place it implies that the consumer involved is convinced that the brand associated possesses the capability to satisfy his or her need. As such, the customer has a positive impression of the product.

Importance of brand association

Positive brand association is important to an organization for two main reasons. The first reason is that it enables the organization to gain goodwill (Low & Lamb 2000, p. 361). Goodwill is important to an organization as it can help it overcome marketing crises when they happen. In addition, it facilitates favorable reactions to price increases or reductions. The second reason why the positive brand association is important to an organization is that it discourages new entrants to a market (Low & Lamb 2000, p. 361).

The entrants would become competitors. If these competitors were to enter the market this would mean lost sales and stiffer competition which would force the organization to spend more on advertisings. Therefore positive brand association enables an organization to maintain its sales and to keep its expenditures at a minimum.

The Mother brand mentioned above has a secondary association to the more established Coca-Cola brand. The product is produced by Coca-Cola Amatil. The strength of this secondary association lies in the fact that Coca-Cola is a drink company and therefore its association with another drink is not far-fetched and will simply be viewed as a move to extend its portfolio. The favourability of this association lies in the fact that the brand gives Coca-Cola an opening into the Australian energy drink market.

The uniqueness of this association lies in the fact that Mother is an energy drink brand while Coca-Cola is a soft drink brand. From the results of the survey conducted to study brand association, it was discovered that 7 out of the 13 respondents who easily recalled the Mother brand were drawn to it due to its secondary association to Coca-Cola. The other 6 out of 13 were drawn to it following the brand building activity which involved brand salience, brand recall, and brand recognition. As shown in the mental map in appendix C familiarity with the Coca-cola brand draws consumers to the Mother brand more strongly. The strong brand building also draws consumers to Mother brand, however, not with the effectiveness of brand association.

Conclusion

In the preparation of this essay, several facts have been noted. The first is that it is critical for a company, especially in today’s world, to build a strong brand as this raises its overall value. The second is that brand awareness is important and to build it, brand salience, brand recall, brand recognition, and brand familiarization activities have to be well formulated and structured. The third is that positive brand association is important to an organization as it maintains sales and keeps expenditure at a minimum. The fourth fact is that secondary associations do play a major role in popularizing a lesser-known brand.

References

Elizabeth, A 2012, The top five benefits of increased brand awareness, web blog. Web.

Goodson, S 2012, ‘Why brand building is important’, Forbes. Web.

Investopedia 2013, Brand. Web.

John, D, R, Loken, B, Kim, K, & Monga, A, B, Brand Concept Maps: ‘A Methodology for identifying brand association networks’, Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 18, pp. 549 – 563. Web.

Low, G, S, & Lamb, W, C 2000, ’The measurement and dimensionality of brand associations’, Journal of product & brand management, vol. 9 no. 6, pp. 350-368. Web.

Keller, K, L 2013, Strategic brand management – building, measuring and managing brand equity, international edition, 4th edn, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

McDonald, E, & Sharp, B 2012, ‘Management perceptions of the Importance of brand awareness as an indication of advertising effectiveness’, Marketing bulletin, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 1 – 11. Web.

Romaniuk, J, Sharp, B, Paech, S, & Driesener, C 2004, ‘Brand and advertising awareness: A replication and extension of a known empirical generalisation’, Australian Marketing Journal, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 70 – 80. Web.

Speedy, B 2011, ‘Popular energy drinks have the majors buzzing’, The Australian. Web.

WebFinance 2013, Brand association. Web.

Appendix

Appendix A Research methodology

The survey targeted 90 respondents who were chosen at random. The respondents were over 18 years old. The survey questionnaire contained two questions. The first question was “Name your favourite energy drink brand?. The responses were coded as 1 = V, 2 = Red Bull, 3 = Mother and 4 = others. The second question was “ If Mother is your favourite energy drink is its association to Coca-cola why are you drawn to it?” The valid responses to this question were coded as 0 = No, 1 = Yes and NA = Not Applicable

Appendix B

For the first question, the survey yielded the following data from the 90 respondents

1,2,1,2,1,1,2,2,3,4,3,1,1,2,2,1,3,1,2,4,2,3,1,2,2,2,1,3,1,3,1,4,2,3,1,1,1,2,2,1,4,4,3,2,1,2,1,2,1,1,3,4,1,1,1,1,2,2,2,1,4,3,1,2,2,1,2,1,1,1,2,2,1,2,1,3,1,1,1,2,2,2,3,3,2,1,2,1,2,1

For the second question, the survey yielded the following data

NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,1,NA,1,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,1,NA,NA,NA,NA,0,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,0,NA,0,NA,NA,NA,1,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,0,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,1,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,0,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,1,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,0,1,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA,NA

Appendix C

Mental map.
Fig 1: Mental map.