What is Brand Recognition?


As one of the key aspects of brand awareness, brand recognition describes the point at which consumers can identify a product or service’s brand from its logo, packaging or tagline alone. They may not be able to list its specific features at this stage, but they can distinguish it from other competitors on the shelf or screen. Because brand recognition offers an associated promise of quality or experience, it is one of the most valuable attributes a business can own or acquire, to the point where it typically outlasts the longevity of individual product lines.

What is the Difference Between Brand Recognition and Recall?

Both brand recognition and recall contribute to overall awareness. At the recognition or aided recall stage, the consumer can identify the brand through its visual or verbal elements. For example, a badge on the hood of a car could immediately make a consumer recognize the manufacturer, triggering a set of associated responses. Brand recall, however, goes further. At this level, consumers can apply unaided recall to name a brand without visual or verbal clues, by associating it strongly with its particular category. The peak of brand recall is when a brand becomes synonymous with, or shorthand for, its category, as in Xerox for the photocopier, Google for search engines, Hoover for the vacuum cleaner or Kleenex for the tissue.

What is High Brand Recognition?

Once a brand is top of mind for consumers, it has reached high-brand recognition. This differentiates it clearly from other brands, giving it a competitive edge. In order to build customer loyalty, manufacturers must first achieve brand recognition. Once the brand is sufficiently familiar, it becomes easier to launch new products and create a personal connection. Brand recognition has a business value that is distinct from market value. The value of Apple, for example, is rated at $170 billion, a fraction of the corporation’s market value, but still higher than any other brand.

How do you Measure Brand Recognition?

Pinpointing the exact level of brand recognition is not an exact science. Brand recognition is a less tangible value than sales revenue or market position. Neither is brand recognition a clear indication of ROI because a variety of factors may influence the path from awareness to conversion. The simplest, most traditional way to measure a brand’s performance at the awareness stage is to conduct a survey, whether by phone or focus group. In the digital age, brands can also exploit analytics and listening tools to identify how often a brand was entered as a search term, or how frequently it was mentioned in social posts.

Brand Recognition Ranking

Industry research supports the theory that customers are more likely to buy new products from brands they recognize. That does not exclude unknown businesses from disrupting the market with an innovative solution, but higher brand recognition typically makes new product launches easier. Furthermore, search engines reward brands that generate favorable mentions or interactions online with a higher search ranking. For example, users entering a generic term in search will be served results that reflect the most respected authorities on the subject. The higher ranking brand can reach the point where it becomes the implied thought-leader for its category.

Brand Recognition Marketing

A strong brand recognition strategy will lead to an increased brand recall. While some brands burst onto the market with highly engaging campaigns, the process of building recognition and ranking can take years. Once reached, brand recognition must also be sustained through regular reinforcement. Businesses can build brand recognition through strong storytelling, customer engagement and bold creative. Consistency, however, is key. Marketing campaigns must stay true to the core brand values and vision or consumers will either become confused or lose trust altogether.