BrainTrust Query: Is Brand Awareness a Useful Research Measure in an Era of Digital and Shopper Marketing?
Commentary by Joel Rubinson, senior research consultant to the ARF and
president, Rubinson Partners, Inc.
Through a special arrangement, presented
here for discussion is an excerpt from a current article from the Joel Rubinson
on Marketing Research Consulting blog.
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with measuring brand awareness,
especially aided awareness (i.e., "Have you ever heard of a brand called …").
Aided awareness is a good measure when a brand is healthy and can be used to
compare progress across markets. However, it becomes a useless measure when
a brand declines.
I remember being at Unilever in the late 70’s and seeing
really high aided awareness levels for some brands that once were leaders but
had since dwindled to tiny shares (Pepsodent and Lifebuoy, to name two; the
reader probably is still aware of them today — admit it!).
In an era of
shopper marketing and Procter’s call for store-back thinking,
CPG marketers want to know how to get their brands noticed at retail. That
means the brand broke through the clutter and became relevant to that shopper
at that moment; it got in the game. It could even mean that a shopper became
instantly aware of your brand and bought it. That is shelf-back thinking!
noticed at retail is not a no-brainer; it is hard and requires great marketing.
John Dranow from Smart Revenue says the first thing a shopper does on a given
trip is deselect 90 percent of what’s in the store. The 90 percent
of products that are deselected are like the gorilla in the video with kids
bouncing basketballs. You are so intent on counting the number of passes by
those kids in white shirts amidst the chaos, you don’t see the person
in the gorilla suit. "Inattentional blindness" is the name of the
phenomenon and it happens to shoppers on every shopping trip.
What a marketer
should want from their communications efforts is to make their brand relevant
to break through the chaos. Create anticipation, curiosity, meaning, and desire
pursuant to actions like getting people talking, searching, visiting your owned
media sites, looking for your brand at retail and ultimately
buying it. Post-purchase, media can help guide the experience consumers are
having with the product and getting them to want to replenish as they run out.
is a survey construct that measures the ability of a respondent to retrieve
a brand memory during survey questioning regardless of whether or not the product
category was relevant to their lives at the moment they clicked the link.
In contrast, what CPG marketers really want to know is how to make the retail
experience evoke a brand memory and create meaning while someone is shopping
— further, what communications approaches best accomplish that given the path
to purchase for their product.
If marketing research wants greater impact on marketing decision-making —
if it is to get that seat at the table — it has to start measuring what the
business really needs to know.
Discussion Questions: How relevant is aided brand awareness as a research
measure in an era of digital and shopper marketing? What additional challenges
do marketers have in looking to measure brand connectivity at the retail level?
- Is Brand Awareness A Useful Research Measure in an Era Of Digital And Shopper
Marketing? – Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research Consulting blog.