Mindshare is a marketing term that describes the amount of consumer awareness or popularity surrounding a particular product, idea, or company. Practically, it is the consumer perception of a particular brand or product compared to their rivals as measured by the amount of talk or mentions generated by the public or the media. Mindshare, also known as "mind share," is similar to "market share," another measurement that is related to the popularity of a product or brand.

Breaking Down Mindshare

One of the primary goals of advertising and promotion is to make consumers think of certain brand names more than others. Given the multitude of choices available to consumers, advertisers can measure their success based on whether the products and services they promote are top of mind. Accordingly, mindshare is a gauge of popularity or consumer awareness as a result of advertising and promotion. For example, when a consumer decides they want to buy a hybrid vehicle, they may first think of Toyota's Prius even though there are many alternatives. This would be an example of the Prius having greater mindshare than other brands or models. Similarly, when asked to name an athletic shoe company or fast food restaurant the first answers from most consumers would be Nike or McDonald's — an example of the high mindshare of those brands.

Mindshare vs. Market Share vs. Heart Share

Mindshare is difficult to quantify, even with advanced advertising and social media marketing tools and metrics. Market share is a more easily quantified; it is the percentage of a market defined either in revenue or units that an item holds compared to a competing item. While increasing market share is the ultimate goal of any business, building on mindshare may be a means of achieving that objective. Some advertising experts contend that mindshare can be a better gauge of a small company's long-term health than market share because it signifies that a product is always available, is of high quality, and is backed by quality customer service. Similar to mindshare, "heart share" or "share of heart" is the message-driven focus on creating emotional engagement with consumers rather than simply focusing entirely on market share.

Mindshare and Brands Names

Mindshare may be best explained when brand names enter the lexicon as being the exemplar of a certain kind of product. Q-tip, Kleenex, Advil, Coke and Google (or "googling") refer to specific trademarked products but also serve to identify a class of products or activities.