What Is Brand Recognition?

The term brand recognition refers to the ability of consumers to identify a specific brand by its attributes over another one. Brand recognition is a concept used in advertising and marketing. It is considered successful when people are able to recognize a brand through visual or auditory cues such as logos, slogans, packaging, colors, or jingles rather than being explicitly exposed to a company's name. Companies often conduct market research to determine the success of their brand recognition strategies.

Key Takeaways

  • Brand recognition is the ability of consumers to identify a specific brand by its attributes over another brand.
  • Successful brand recognition takes place when people can recognize a brand through visual or auditory cues instead of being exposed to a company's name.
  • Cues that can lead to brand recognition may come in the form of names, marks, logos, and jingles.

How Brand Recognition Works

A brand is a name, logo, word, mark, tagline, or any other identifying characteristic that separates a company's product or service from others on the market. A brand is among the most important assets that a company has because it represents the company and helps keep the company in consumers' minds. Brands are normally protected using trademarks.

Companies invest a lot of time and money to create brand recognition. In order for brand recognition to work, companies need to find a way to help consumers recall their brand. A company's marketing department often comes up with different cues—both audio and visual cues—to help set their brand apart in the marketplace. They can do this by using logos, colors, marks, or jingles. Logos like the Nike (NKE) swoosh and the Golden Arches from McDonald's (MCD), and taglines like "They're magically delicious" from Lucky Charms cereal and "I'm a big kid now" from Huggies diapers all help further brand recognition.

To measure brand recognition and the effectiveness of promotional and marketing campaigns, many companies perform market research through experiments on focus or study groups. Both aided and unaided recall tests may be used in these groups. With similar products, brand recognition often results in higher sales, even if both brands are of equal quality.

Brand recognition is often paired with brand recall, which is why it's also known as aided brand recall. Aided brand recall is the ability of customers to think of a brand name from their memory when told to think of a category of products. Brand recall tends to indicate a stronger connection to a brand than brand recognition. For example, people tend to think of more brand names when prompted by a product than by a category. Brand recall is also called unaided recall or spontaneous recall.

Special Considerations

Small businesses and big corporations can do much to build and maintain their brand recognition. This ensures they remain top of mind with customers who are ready to buy their products or services. Here are a few ways they can do this:

  • Customers tend to remember brands that reach them on a personal or emotional level, so a company may use a unique, touching, or heartfelt story that lets customers know why it's in business.
  • Another way to build and maintain brand recognition is to provide exemplary customer service. Customers are more likely to recommend and buy products from a company they believe values their patronage.
  • Businesses should also aim to exceed their customers' expectations and educate them at the same time. Being known as an expert in a certain field or being able to relate to customers and how they use the products and services they buy goes a long way in ensuring brand loyalty. One way to accomplish this is through app development, email newsletters, or blogs that ensure new and existing customers keep your company in mind first.
  • Small businesses and large companies can use social media to make sure their names, products, and services are in constant circulation. Of course, a company's logo or visual theme should be used in all communications.

Brand awareness, which leads to brand recognition, is the extent to which people know that a brand exists.

Brand Recognitions vs. Brand Awareness

Brand recognition shouldn't be confused with brand awareness. Although they may seem similar, they're not. But they are related. Remember, brand recognition is the visual and audio cues people use to identify a brand. Brand awareness, on the other hand, is the knowledge that a brand exists. This is the extent to which the general public knows that a company, along with its products and services are available on the market. Brand awareness is what leads to brand recognition. For instance, if people didn't know about the Apple (AAPL) brand, they probably wouldn't recognize and associate the famous Apple logo with its products.