I am not in the brand awareness business. I am in the brand association business. And to take it one step further I am really in the brand benefit business.
Brand awareness is simply recall of a name, logo and/or package. Marketing begins with awareness. It’s the price of admission.
Brand association takes awareness a step further in that consumers are asked to play back certain context and associations with that recall. It might be category association, e.g., Coke is a cola, Cowboys are a football team, or perhaps the association may extend beyond what a brand “is” to a quality, Apple offers product innovation, for instance.
But the third level, the one I refer to as Brand Benefits walks consumers beyond rote awareness and context features to benefits they need, desire or cherish. I’m not talking Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I’m talking endemic product or service needs. But importantly, these brand benefits must be few (three to be precise) and constant. They are brand planks.
To measure the success of a brand, you must track awareness of brand benefits. If consumers can play back your planks in unaided recall testing you are winning the branding war.