Brand Awareness vs. Brand Recognition: What’s the Difference?

Brilliant branding rockets company success. If it’s a dud, your business can flame out before it even really gets warmed up. Understanding the difference between brand awareness and brand recognition is crucial to creating an effective, comprehensive marketing program — placing your company on a winning trajectory for the achievement of aggressive company goals.

What is Brand Recognition?

Brand recognition is the ability of the public/target market to identify your brand by its “attributes.” These attributes can be a logo, auditory signifiers like a jingle, other visual signifiers like packaging or colors, and slogans/taglines too. When brand recognition is excellent, there is an immediate understanding of who the company is upon seeing or hearing something.

Some great examples of companies who have nailed brand recognition are McDonalds (golden arches), Nike (swoosh), Amazon (smile-arrow on packaging), and Apple (apple with missing bite). When you see these images, you know the products associated with the company right away.

What is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness progresses to the next level by associating impressions, emotions, and memories of a brand when you are in need of a product or service. It encompasses a broad array of knowledge such as value, quality, company culture, specific features, and other core company information.

When someone you know is having a birthday, do you think of getting them a Hallmark card? When you feel tired after lunch, do you think about getting a latte at Starbucks? When you get a terrible headache, do you wonder, “Where did I put the Goody’s powder?” Associating a brand with a solution to your problem is considered brand awareness.

Brand awareness and recognition are critical steps to making a purchase — and have tremendous power in building loyalty and growing a league of brand advocates.


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Building Brand Recognition & Brand Awareness

Formulating a strategy for brand recognition and awareness takes creativity, in-depth knowledge of your target audience, and a full understanding of who you are as a company. With these tools, you will have a greater ability to connect, expand your reach, and consistently build your brand.

Be Distinctive

Set yourself apart from the competition in unique and creative ways. What is your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and how can you leverage that in your branding? Getting your brand “stuck” in your customer’s memory is no small task. Focus on the core values of your products and services and present them in a way that reflects your company — prestigious, innovative, fun, etc. Through images, colors, content, distinctive logos, and concise, creative taglines targeted to your ideal audience, your branding needs to soar.


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Cultivate Your Best Brand Advocates

Stay active on your various social media accounts and seek out (and engage with!) your best brand advocates. This encouragement of “word-of-mouth” advertising is a very potent tool when it comes to brand recognition and awareness. Retweet, repost, reply — and repeat.

Need help reaching out to the right people? An inbound marketing agency can help manage your social media to find and utilize brand advocates to help grow your business.

Give Away Free Stuff

Be generous but don’t break the bank. Review your marketing and advertising budget and determine a certain amount of money to give away products or service packages to promote your brand. Depending on your industry, you can take advantage of professional conferences, city festivals and parades, company brick and mortar special events, etc. to promote your brand. From koozies to tote bags, refrigerator magnets to pens and t-shirts, this small gesture can create big rewards.

Create Interactive Social Media Contests

Brand recognition is often borne from marketing volume via comprehensive exposure across platforms and the organic growth or your brand. Brand awareness involves a greater connection and emotion. Do you give your clients “the feels?” Creating unique user experiences through social media contests is another way to enhance your brand.

Try themed photography contests on Instagram, promote a fun hashtag on Twitter, and if you really want to challenge your customers, start a contest involving video. You can give the winner a prize at the end, but the primary goal is connecting with your audience and making them feel they are a part of something positive and bigger than themselves. You can also promote the values of your organization, linking social, environmental, or other causes near and dear to your vision.

Provide Added Value

Go above and beyond pure marketing of your products and services. Stay in touch with your target audience and issues that are relevant to them. Offer free downloadable guides, “tips and tricks” videos, and similar content that is engaging and shareable. Providing added value is another powerful tool to advance your brand identity.


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Understanding the difference between brand recognition and brand awareness advances your overall brand identity. With creative techniques to build a stronger and more influential brand, you are well positioned to blast ahead of the competition.

Need assistance with your brand identity? Feel free to reach out to Revital Agency for the best digital marketing strategy for your business.

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Jon Tsourakis

Written by:

Jon Tsourakis followed his dream of opening an independent digital marketing agency. As CRO of Oyova Software, he uses logic and intuition to help companies grow their business online.

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