2.1 BRAND AWARENESS
Brand awareness is a marketing term that describes the recognisability, memorability, and popularity of companies, including their products and services. As a general concept, brand awareness is used to measure the degree to which consumers or a target audience recognize a brand name, logo, and products—as well as their knowledge of the key attributes that distinguish a particular brand from its competitors (Sharma, 2011; Ab Hamid et al, 2022)
Brand awareness creation in competitive environments is a key strategy for penetrating new market segments (Arora et al, 2022). Also, brand awareness as a business strategy strengthens the market visibility of older brands because companies that maintain high-level brand awareness over time are more likely to increase and sustain sales thereby achieving long-term competitiveness and incremental growth. According to Elon Musk (the CEO of Tesla Motors, co-founder of PayPal and Chief Engineer of SpaceX who recently acquired Twitter), ‘a brand is another term for perception, which eventually merges with reality after some time.’ But Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group notes that many business owners expect their brands to reflect a perfect, idealized picture of themselves thereby, unknowingly, removing texture, character, and public trust from the brand. Corroborating this statement, Warren Edward Buffet (the Chairperson and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway notes that premium brands sustain profitability by offering differentiated products and services. The philanthropist adds that ‘if business owners understand it takes up to 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to destroy it, they would prioritize value creation and product differentiation’ (Radder & Huang, 2008; Ghorbanzadeh et al, 2022)
Brand awareness creation—as a marketing and business development strategy—therefore influences consumer behaviour (instinctive preference) because potential buyers often choose familiar brands, goods and products when confronted with choices, especially in an ideal situation where all consumers have the purchasing power. Brand awareness creation does not only improve the market visibility of companies; it helps consumers to make smart decisions. Increases sales and traffic and creates loyal customers. According to Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO), ‘when consumers are convinced that they share values with a company, it becomes easy to gain their loyalty.’ Thus, brand awareness is a key consideration for business owners focused on influencing consumer behaviour through advertising management and brand management. While awareness in this context does not necessarily mean that a consumer should recognize a brand name, logo, slogan and other attributes, the potential buyer must be able to identify certain distinguishing features to complete the customer journey (that is, make a purchase). This explains why Keller (1993) categorized brand awareness under brand recall and brand recognition (Hafez, 2018; Rachmawati & Suroso, 2022).
Due to the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous nature of global business, companies are constantly competing for dominance through data-driven advertising. This reliance of brand marketing is necessitated by a fact that the level of brand awareness among consumers determine business performance and long-term survivability. Also, considering that brand awareness creation is a key facilitator of brand competitiveness (that is, brand equity) in both local and international settings, innovative marketers are now integrating a wide range of internet-based technologies to correctly analyse brand awareness, stay up to date with brand health and influence consumer purchasing decisions (Bibby, 2009). These online evaluation tools are known as Awareness, Attitude and Usage (AAU) metrics. According to the Keller (1993), business development managers have a responsibility to effectively manage awareness levels across the entire life cycle of products—from the product launch to sales decline—to achieve sustainable profits. Thus, the integration of intent data in brand marketing is not just an activity for when sales fall below an expected threshold. Successful brand awareness creation involves coordinated efforts among managers and subordinates, and the implementation of a clear strategy that streamlines all promotional activities towards the attainment of organizational goals (Hafez, 2018; Rachmawati & Suroso, 2022).