Four States Small Business Blog

What's the Difference Between Aided and Unaided Awareness?

Posted by Pam Larimore on November 1, 2022 at 7:00 AM
Unaided and aided awareness
The goal of any brand is to be instantly recognizable. Each year, businesses, both big and small, spend untold amounts of effort to earn a place in the minds of their target audiences. That brings up a couple of important questions. First, how can you be sure that your marketing efforts are working? And second, how can you take advantage of that knowledge? Let's explore both these questions.

How to Measure Brand Awareness

Measuring brand awareness is done through survey research. There are multiple ways to go about your research, with different techniques offering varying degrees of accuracy. The most accurate research is typically done by polling firms that assemble detailed questionnaires and conduct online or over-the-phone interviews. On the other hand, you could also gather information by interviewing people on the street, although you should expect a lesser degree of accuracy. And in between these two, there are other approaches you could use depending on your accuracy requirements, time, and budget constraints.

Awareness surveys typically divide into two parts. The first section measures unaided awareness, while the second measure aided awareness.  

What is Unaided Awareness?

Unaided awareness is the gold standard for a brand. A survey question designed to measure unaided awareness asks the respondent to name brands in a given category. For example, the survey may ask respondents to write down as many car manufacturers as they remember. The average order of answers provides each brand with its unaided awareness rank. Ideally, you want to be in the top slot, meaning your company is top-of-mind. 

What is Aided Awareness?

An aided awareness question is posed if the respondent does not recall your brand in the unaided awareness question. An aided awareness question asks how many of a list of brands an individual has heard of for the provided category. Returning to the car manufacturer example, the list might include companies like Ford, Honda, and Volkswagen.  

Making Sense of Your Results

In most brand awareness surveys, there is a question asking respondents to explain how they heard of your business. These questions can either offer a provided list of advertising sources or leave it an open-ended question where the survey taker supplies their own answer. You can determine how best to allocate your marketing budget from this information. For instance, you may choose to spend more on the type of media that delivers the most awareness. 

If you find that your brand is receiving little attention, it could be that your branding message or delivery needs adjusting. You may also be stretching your budget too thin across multiple marketing platforms, allowing your brand to be drowned out by the competition. Another common issue may be misalignment between your target audience and your advertising medium. 

Earn High Levels of Awareness with Radio Branding

Your particular branding goals should always dictate your marketing decisions. However, most local businesses receive superb results from radio advertising. Radio delivers strong results for awareness and has an incredibly broad reach. It's the ideal first step to gaining traction in your market, and it works well with other marketing techniques designed to drive sales when potential customers are ready to buy.

Topics: Radio Advertising, Marketing Strategy, Branding