Brand Recognition Guide: How To Build Brand Recognition

Two eyes on a yellow background.

What do brands like Coca-Cola, IKEA, McDonald’s, Nike, and Apple have in common? When consumers see their logos, hear their jingles, or read their taglines, they can say, “I know who they are and what they offer.” That’s brand recognition in action, and these brands are among the most recognizable in the world.

In an inundated market where consumers have innumerable choices, it’s not enough to just be visible—a brand has to be memorable. Being unforgettable, relatable, and preferable is at the core of successful branding strategies, with brand recognition a foundational step in securing a place in the minds of your ideal buyers.

What is brand recognition?

Brand recognition is the extent to which a target audience or demographic can recognize a specific brand. When a consumer recognizes a brand, it may be thanks to a variety of visual or auditory cues, such as the brand’s name, logo, tagline, slogan, jingle, or advertising campaign. Brand recognition is also aided by other aspects of a brand’s identity, such as color palettes, fonts, and product packaging.

When a brand has recognition, it means consumers can connect the brand to a product or service. Building brand recognition serves as a foundational step in establishing your presence in a market and supports other elements of brand equity, such as brand awareness.

What’s the difference between brand recognition and brand awareness?

While often used interchangeably, brand recognition and brand awareness are two different aspects of the customer journey. Both involve customers developing familiarity with a brand; however, brand awareness is a deeper and more holistic understanding of a brand’s identity and values, its offerings, and how it matches up to competitors. Brand recognition simply refers to a consumer’s ability to recall the basic outline of a brand’s public image.

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Why is brand recognition important?

People are more likely to purchase from brands they’re familiar with: If they don't recognize your brand, they don’t understand what makes you unique or why they should choose you over a competitor. Building brand recognition helps you attract and retain customers, provides competitive differentiation, and increases profitability. When your target audiences recognize your brand, you’re one step closer to converting them to paying customers.

Brand recognition is an important step in brand-building strategies. It helps you cultivate brand equity and trust. According to Ipsos, 73% of consumers are more likely to trust a brand they know. When a consumer recognizes your brand, they’re also more likely to purchase your product or services over those of unknown competitors. About 60% of global consumers prefer to buy a new product from a brand they recall versus a brand they do not.

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Strategies for building brand recognition

Here are a few strategies to help boost brand recognition: 

Fine-tune your brand identity

You can promote brand recognition with memorable auditory and visual elements of your brand identity, such as your logo, colors, slogans, or jingles. 

An authentic brand story in a relatable brand voice that communicates your mission and values can also make your brand easy to remember—nearly two-thirds of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusting relationship with a brand, and 88% say that trust in a brand is one of the most important factors considered when deciding to make a purchase.

Be consistent

Consistency in omnichannel commerce (an integrated approach to retail with a unified experience across all channels and touchpoints) is not only important for brand recall and recognition, it’s also good for business. 

Using your brand color consistently across channels can improve brand recognition by 80%. Consistent branding on product packaging, your social media profile, and website can increase revenue by as much as 20%. Consistency in visual identity, product quality, and customer service helps create a customer experience that promotes brand recognition and awareness.

Use social media to connect with your target audience

Social media platforms are among the best tools for connecting with current and prospective customers to help build recognition and keep your brand top of mind. Not only can you create and post your own content, but influencer marketing has an impressive aided recall rate of 79%, while user-generated content (UGC) impacts the purchasing decisions of nearly 80% of consumers

Social media contests are another effective way of accessing new audiences while building brand awareness and recognition—on average, companies acquire 34% of new customers through contests.

Measure, adjust, and refine your campaigns

Monitoring your brand recognition efforts, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), and analyzing your progress will inform you on which brand recognition strategies you can modify to be more effective in the long term. Building brand recognition takes time and consistent effort, so measure, analyze, and adjust regularly to hone your marketing strategy over time.

How to measure brand recognition

High brand recognition can be a valuable measure of brand health (a collection of metrics that show how satisfied customers are with your brand). The two most commonly used KPIs for measuring brand recognition are aided and unaided brand recall. You can measure both types of brand recall with customer surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other forms of market research.

Aided brand recall

Aided brand recall is when a consumer can recall a brand with a prompt or other clue. For example, if you’re a makeup brand, you might measure aided brand recall by providing consumers with a list of makeup brand names that includes yours and asking them to identify the brands they have heard of.

Unaided brand recall

Unaided brand recall, on the other hand, is when a consumer can recall a brand without a prompt or clue. For the makeup brand example used above, you may measure unaided recall by asking consumers to list all the makeup brands they know to see if they name yours. Unaided recall is a stronger indicator of successful brand recognition, since it demonstrates that the brand is top of mind for consumers.

In both cases, you can quantify recall as a score by taking the number of survey respondents who recalled your brand, dividing that by the total number of respondents, and multiplying that by 100 to get a percentage score. (If 80 out of 200 respondents name or identify your brand, it has 40% brand recall). 

Brand recall benchmarks vary from industry to industry, but you can gain insight into how your brand is doing by comparing your scores to the competitors you chose to include in aided recall questionnaires or those offered by respondents in unaided recall questionnaires.

Brand recognition FAQ

What are some examples of brand recognition?

Brands with the strongest recognition have a high level of unaided brand recall. When asked to think of a ketchup brand, most consumers will think of Heinz, for example. For energy drinks, it’s often Redbull. For electric cars, it may be Tesla. These companies have built strong brand recognition and brand loyalty over time and with consistent effort.

How does brand recognition impact consumer choices?

When consumers have a choice between two or more products, they’re more likely to choose the brand they know. When thinking about consumer behavior, brand recognition serves as a simple and dependable heuristic, or shortcut. It allows consumers to quickly and easily identify products they have seen or heard of before and simplifies the decision-making process.

What’s the difference between brand recognition and brand perception?

Brand recognition is the ability of consumers to identify a brand, while brand perception is the overall impression that consumers have of a brand. Brand perception is a measure of sentiment: What consumers believe about a brand’s products, services, or reputation, and how the brand makes them feel.