Brand Image & Awareness Surveys - Part 1

Image and awareness studies are a staple here at Evolve. Brands want to know if their target audience is aware of them, how they feel about them, and what they know about them. 

In most instances, image and awareness studies are quantitative, and there is a practical reason for this - people want to measure something. The exact metric can vary as there are multiple ways to quantify the image and awareness of a brand. 


Positive and Negative Sentiment


A simple 5-point Likert scale is a staple of measuring the image of a brand, product, industry, service, or organization. For example:


When you think of "Brand X," what is your image of this company?

a) Very positive

b) Somewhat positive

c) Neutral

d) Somewhat negative

e) Very negative

f) Don't know


Of course, this style of question can be adapted to fit the precise goals of the research. We can replace the word "image" with an alternate adjective like "reputation." Or, we can change the scale to something like a 7-point Likert or 10-point numeric. Although the exact wording of the question can vary, the item needs to be clear and direct.


Likelihood to Recommend AKA Net Promoter Score


The Net Promoter Score (or NPS) is a classic measurement of brand loyalty and another way of gauging the image of a brand. The idea behind the question is if you feel strongly enough about a brand, then you are likely to recommend it to your friends and family. An NPS question goes a little like this:


How likely are you to recommend "Brand X" to a friend or colleague?

Screen Shot 2019-11-06 at 11.46.54 AM


The first thing to note is the scale. It's a numeric scale anchored by labels at the 0 and 10 points. Honestly, 0-10 is a bit funky - it doesn't feel as natural as 1-10, but that's just how the NPS rolls. The real power of the NPS comes in the form of a simple calculation and a program of benchmarks.


Depending upon their answer, the respondent will fall into one of the following three categories.

  • 0-6: Detractor
  • 7-8: Passive
  • 9-10: Promoter


Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from Promoters reveals the NPS score. For example, if 35% of the audience are Promoters (i.e., assign a rating of 9 or 10) and 40% are Detractors (assign a 0-6), then the Net Promoter Score is -5%. 


NPS = % of Promoters - % of Detractors


Since the Net Promoter Score is somewhat ubiquitous in brand image research, there is a wealth of benchmarking data to which you can compare your brand. Different industries have different NPS benchmarks. In hospitality, the benchmark might be 6, whereas in consulting, it could be 53. Perspective is critical when using NPS.


Unaided Word Associations


An excellent way to get top of mind associations with a brand is to ask an open-ended question.


What words come to mind when you think of "Brand X"?  


The survey participant doesn't select from pre-determined answers. Instead, they are left up to their own devices to type in whatever comes into their minds. To make the question more useful and defined, I like to ask something like "what five words come to mind when you think of Brand X"? By adding five answer boxes to the survey, the respondent is guided to provide single adjectives and more than one answer.


This type of question gets a good read on the spontaneous brand association but requires analysis to classify and code the wealth of responses you might receive! 


In Summary


These are a handful of questions that can be used to measure brand image, but there are so many more ways to do this. For example, selecting from a pre-built list of emotions or using Best-Worst Scaling (Max Diff) are both viable options. A single question should not solely define the perception of your brand, and it should be a combination of several to provide the most accurate read possible.


Look out for Part Two of this post, where we address the measurement of brand awareness.

Posted by EvolveKev

Kevin is all about research. Qualitative, quantitative, UX, you name it. When he's not researching, he's to be found laying down beats in his studio and hanging out with his dogs (and girlfriend). Woof.

Topics: Research Tips, What We Do