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How measuring awareness can help your brand marketing

Every brand wants to be what Kleenex is to tissue, Chapstick to lip balm, Band-Aid to adhesive bandages, Jell-o to gelatin, Google to web searches, Coke to cola (no offense, Pepsi).

Getting a brand to become synonymous with a whole category is the ultimate achievement in brand awareness, the measurement of how much customers know a product or service. That’s where the phrase ‘top of mind’ comes from: These brands are the first thing that comes to mind when a consumer thinks of a certain product category, even before the actual product name. Brand awareness, therefore, is a very important measurement for any kind of business.

If you need information to understand it better, want to know how to measure and build brand awareness, and need tips on how engage in brand marketing in order to increase the consumers’ awareness of your brand, you’re in the right place.

A simple definition of brand awareness is that it is the extent to which consumers are familiar with your product or service. It’s clearly one of the first steps in a marketer’s road to success: They need to make sure consumers know their brand and, hopefully, prefer it over the competition when making a purchase.

Is your brand the first one that comes to mind when someone wants to buy a laptop? Hire a website developer? Buy furniture?

You need to make this kind of measurement to know how visible (or invisible) you are in the eyes of consumers in your target market. With this knowledge, you will be better prepared to decide on a brand marketing strategy that will help you in building a brand and, in the end, getting actual (foot or web) traffic to your store.

Unfortunately, the truth is that most marketers don’t know how to accurately measure brand awareness, as we found out through one of our own surveys: 76% of respondents admitted not knowing what percentage of their target market was aware of their brand, and nearly 70% confessed they didn’t know how to find this out.

Online brand awareness surveys can be a powerful tool to solve this conundrum, as we will see below. But first, let’s look at the two fundamental concepts necessary to understand brand awareness.

There are two basic measurements that you need to make in a brand awareness survey: Brand recall and brand recognition.

Brand recall is the consumers’ ability to remember your brand without help. As you can imagine, it’s a very valuable achievement for any company and a good measure of brand power. It gives you a clear view of how well consumers know your brand, because they are not biased by seeing or hearing your company name right away.

Brand recognition is your consumers’ ability to recognize your brand when sandwiched in the middle of a list of other alternatives. Once you know whether your consumers have your brand in mind, you can start comparing its performance against direct competitors.

Now that you understand these two key measurements, you need to know how to ask brand awareness survey questions that will show you how your brand is performing along those metrics.

In fact, there’s a specific kind of question for each of them: They are called unaided and aided brand awareness survey questions. Let’s look at their definitions and some examples.

Unaided brand awareness definition: A measure of the number of people who express knowledge of a brand or product without prompting (brand recall).

Here’s an example of an unaided question:

When you think of canned soup, what brands come to mind?

This type of question usually requires an answer written in a text box.

Aided brand awareness definition: The number of people who have some level of knowledge of a brand or product when prompted.

Aided questions mention your own brand to measure how it stacks up against competitors. For example:

Have you heard of Progresso?

You could follow up with other similar questions like the following:

  1. Which of the following brands of canned soup have you purchased?
  2. Which of the following brands of canned soup do you currently have in your home?

Note that there’s an “Other (Please specify)” option at the end of the list. Part of writing a good survey is making sure you never force respondents to choose an answer that doesn’t reflect how they really feel. (And you want to make sure you haven’t overlooked any other relevant brands.)

Once you start measuring your brand awareness, recall and recognition—and you should do it often to be able to track their evolution—you’ll probably need some tactics to make sure those metrics improve constantly.

We have a very useful blog post on how to use brand marketing to increase your brand awareness and grow your business. Here’s a summary of the tips:

  1. Make sure that your brand has a unique personality that will not be mistaken for any other.
  2. Be consistent in using your brand image, including logo, colors, design, etc.
  3. Launch a referral program offering rewards to existing customers for bringing their connections into the fold.
  4. Organize and host events where people who should know about your brand get exposed to it directly.
  5. Keep a blog with quality content related to your business, including infographics, videos, and articles.
  6. Post often on social media and keep a conversation going with customers and ‘influencers.’
  7. Optimize your web content for search engines, so that customers will find you when looking up information related to your business.
  8. Use paid search ads to have your website displayed prominently when people are looking for related information.

We have even more resources for you to learn about how to use online market research surveys in your brand marketing efforts. You can use surveys to know as much as possible about your brand and how your customers see it.

Check out the following pages to read in-depth about additional brand marketing concepts.

Brand Marketing Manager

Brand marketing managers can use this toolkit to understand their target audience, grow their brand and prove ROI.

See SurveyMonkey solutions for consumer products and services

The consumer products and services industry, including CPG, travel and hospitality, relies on SurveyMonkey insights to shape what’s next.

Explore SurveyMonkey solutions for Retail

See how SurveyMonkey helps retail companies to navigate evolving market trends, develop products that delight and build beloved brands.

See SurveyMonkey solutions for professional services firms

See how professional services organisations use SurveyMonkey to gain customer and market insights.