How to measure brand recognition

There's an easy way to measure brand recognition. In this article we tell you what brand recognition really is, why you should measure it, and how to get results quickly.

There are a lot of things that go into building a great brand. You want to create a product or service that fills a need, and along the way you want to build trust with consumers, grow your brand equity, create a stunning brand style guide, and settle on a marketing strategy that reaches the right people for the least possible amount of money. After all, you don’t want to engage Gen X instead of Gen Z if that’s not your goal.

But the truth is, none of that matters if nobody knows about your brand. 

Like a lot of brand health metrics, ‘brand recognition’ might seem a little vague and confusing. Really though, it’s a simple concept – and it’s surprisingly easy to measure with brand tracking.

(Psst: It’s now super easy to do brand health tracking in-house, no agency required. Find out how to get going with our free guide to doing brand-tracking research in-house:)

How to do brand tracking in-house

If you’ve been relying on a research agency for your brand tracking, we’ll explain how you can be empowered to do it yourself – and what you can do when you have brand health data on-demand.

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What is brand recognition?

Brand recognition, in simple terms, sums up the ways in which people can recognise your brand. Think about the consistency of your logo, your brand colours, your tone of voice, etc. There are some brands that are ‘instantly recognisable’, and that’s the holy grail – brand recognition strategies are ones that aim to deliver that spark of familiarity between consumer and brand. 

What’s the difference between brand recognition and brand awareness?

Though very similar concepts, brand recognition and brand awareness aren’t exactly the same. While you can (and should) measure both, brand recognition can be considered a part of brand awareness. 

With brand recognition, a consumer might be able to identify your brand tone of voice on social media, or recall what it is that your brand provides, be it product or service. 

With brand awareness, a consumer doesn’t only recognise that your brand exists and identify it correctly – they are acutely aware of how your brand’s solution fits their needs or solves their problem. ‘Brand aware’ consumers are clued-up on the heart and soul of your brand’s offering, which is what makes brand awareness important.

How to measure brand recognition
From How to do Brand Tracking In-House

How do I measure brand recognition?

It’s a good idea to measure how well your target audience recognises your brand as you grow. It’ll give you a sense of how well your marketing strategies are working, whether your messaging is cohesive enough, and allow you to benchmark yourself against competitors in your category. 

In a full brand tracking survey, you’ll get a well-rounded view of your brand’s overall health and brand integrity; part of that is focused on the metric of brand recognition. The easiest way to measure recognition of your brand is through a combination of unprompted and prompted recall questions. 

Unprompted brand recall 

Unprompted brand recall is a measure of how many people think about your brand without, you guessed it, any initial prompting. The idea is to get a sense of which brands jump to mind when consumers think about a certain category – and if a high proportion of people think of your brand, then good news! You’ve got great brand recognition. People are associating your category with your brand. 

How it’s calculated: 

  1. Ask your target audience: ‘Thinking about [your category], what’s the first brand that comes to mind?’. Nothing else. No sneaky hints, and no pushing. 
  2. Count how many people said your brand, and divide that number by the total amount of people you asked (e.g. if you asked 500 people, and 20 said your brand, you’d calculate 20 divided by 500).
  3. Multiply that number by 100, and bingo! You have your unprompted brand recall score. 

Your unprompted brand recall score probably means very little on its own, unless you’re comparing it to previous times when you asked the same question. A good idea would be to also calculate scores for your competitors, in exactly the same way as you did for your brand (and from the same data set), so you’ve got some comparison. 

Maybe you’ve got the highest unprompted brand recall score of all of your competitors – in which case, the focus should be on keeping it that way. Maybe you’re somewhere in the middle, or you’re behind the rest – then the focus can be on boosting your brand recognition within your target audience. 

Prompted brand recall

Also known as ‘Preference in category’, prompted brand recall is another valuable branding metric for measuring brand recognition. In this case, you do prompt people with your brand, giving them the best chance of showing their interest and proving that they recognise your name, but alongside the brand names of your competitors.

How it’s calculated: 

  1. List out your main competitors within your category, and ask your target audience to select which of the brands they have heard of. Make sure you throw your brand into the mix too! 
  2. The proportion of people who mention your brand (and all of the other brands) will show you generally if people have heard of you, and also whether they’ve heard of your competitors.

If your competitors are selected far more often than your brand in a prompted recall question, you know your brand recognition within your category needs a boost.

How to measure brand recognition
From how to do brand tracking in-house

What tools can I use to measure brand recognition? 

Now you know what to ask your target audience, the next step is learning how to ask your target audience and start measuring your brand recognition. 

Luckily for you, it’s easier than ever. 

It used to be that if you wanted to get a sense of your brand recognition within a specific audience, you’d go to a big research agency – the type that’d cost you tens or hundreds of thousands, take months to produce any results, and even then only show you the data they wanted you to see.

Not only did that make valuable brand tracking research inaccessible to small to medium-sized brands, but it also meant that you couldn’t get insights in real-time, when you actually needed them. 

We say it’s time to skip all of that and start measuring brand recognition the easy way – and that’s why at Attest we’re making consumer research simple. 

Our brand tracking survey platform gives you access to 100M+ consumers across 46 countries, with results in real-time. That means you can start measuring brand recognition within your target audience straight away.

To find out more about how to skip the agency and get straight to measuring your brand in-house, check out our free guide: 

The Experts’ Guide to Brand Tracking

How to look at the impact of things like audience reach, panel diversity, and survey design to help you decide whether your current brand tracker is up to scratch.

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Content Team 

Our in-house marketing team is always scouring the market for the next big thing. This piece has been lovingly crafted by one of our team members. Attest's platform makes gathering consumer data as simple and actionable as possible.

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