The Why, How, and When of Measuring Awareness

It is a truism in consumer marketing that you have to build awareness in consumers’ minds, or else your retail distribution will underperform.

Today, consumers are overwhelmed with signal noise coming from multiple screens and sources that didn’t even exist when I was a kid in the 1980s. Noise. Sensory clutter. 

There is always a burn-in time for new trademarks during which otherwise happy fans still can’t remember your name. They usually remember the front panel color scheme first, then the trademark. This is an uptake/trial problem if your fan can’t recall a brand name in front of a bewildered store associate or when requesting the product be sold at their favorite store via WeStock! 

Once a brand is in the eight figures, it can reliably measure its national awareness on self-serve market research platforms, the cheapest being Google Surveys

I teach my clients to measure their brand awareness annually early on to measure the effect of word-of-mouth and sampling. If you’re regionally distributed, you can even just run the survey in the state where you know you are sold. 

But, when you start investing more than $1M annually in consumer marketing, it’s time to measure national awareness quarterly. If it’s not growing steadily, your marketing playbook needs help.

Of course, growing awareness will NOT solve fatal product design flaws or a weird attribute-outcome signal. But, if you do NOT measure awareness, you can’t be sure you’re building it ahead of growth in HH penetration.

I recommend having your awareness 3-4x the size of your HH penetration nationally as you grow exponentially. You always need an awareness head start before adding households efficiently with trade and consumer techniques. 

Get aware of your awareness levels!

Dr. James Richardson

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