What Is Brand Recall? – Importance, Measurement, & Strategy

Every brand today wants to connect with the target audience like a pop song. But given the fierce competition and clutter in almost every industry, gaining such brand loyalty has become more than a simple task. The customer today is relatively more knowledgeable and aware and requires much more effort from the brand’s side to win his loyalty.

While different marketers have different solutions to overcome this obstacle, many believe developing strategies to enhance brand recall to be the best option.

Here is a complete guide explaining what is brand recall, its importance, its strategies, and how to measure it.

What Is Brand Recall?

Brand Recall is the likelihood of instant recollection of the name of a brand by a consumer when prompted with a product or service or any other association with it.

In simple terms, brand recall is a qualitative measure of the consumer’s ability to remember the name of a brand. It is a component of brand awareness which measures the spontaneous recall of the brand from memory when the customer is prompted by the product category.

Importance Of Brand Recall

Being at the top of the mind whenever the consumer thinks of a product category is the ultimate aim of every brand as it not only leads to increased sales, but it also helps the brand carry out its word of mouth marketing strategies, referral marketing strategies, etc. Here’s a more detailed explanation of why having a strong brand recall is important for a brand –

Boosts Sales And Market Share

The brand recall for a company is directly proportional to the likelihood of actual purchase of a product or service offered by the brand. It plays a significant role in facilitating repeat purchases.

A positive brand recall ensures behavioural, cognitive and emotional loyalty of consumers towards its existing and potential products and services.

Creates A Competitive Edge

Brand recall is one of the factors that lie at the top of the marketing funnel and reflects the first stage of a buyer’s journey. Brand recall signifies comfort and familiarity with a certain brand. It provides an edge over the competitor’s brand while making an actual purchase decision.

Builds Brand Equity

Brand recall builds brand equity for a brand’s products by ensuring that its superior quality and reliability is etched in the memory of consumers.

How To Measure Brand Recall?

Brand managers can ascertain the effectiveness of the branding strategies deployed for a company by measuring brand recall with this formula –

Percentage Brand recall (%) = (Survey Respondents who correctly identified or recalled your brand/ Total number of respondents) X 100.

The aforesaid technique must be aided with other KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and suitable industry benchmark. For example – the recall percentage of a start-up should be compared to its peer group and not with an established giant like Coca Cola.

Moreover, the above technique is also used to measure the two types of brand recall which helps the brand managers ascertain their future branding strategies. These two types of brand recall are –

  • Aided brand recall
  • Unaided brand recall

Aided Brand Recall

In terms of aided brand recall, the respondents are given an external hint which acts as an aid for them to recall the brand in the discussion.

For example, A researcher might prompt a respondent with a question like “Are you familiar with Heineken (or any other beer brand or a list of beer brands)?” If the respondent professes familiarity with the brand, it is a result of aided brand recall. The name of the brand or any cue linked to the same is given to the respondent for enhancing or aiding the consumer’s memory.

Unaided Brand Recall

Unaided Brand recall implies when a consumer or respondent recalls the name of the brand without any aid or hint.

For example, the researcher may ask a respondent “What beer brands are you familiar with?” A prompt answer from the consumer could be “Budweiser, Miller Light, Coors Light, Heineken” Such kind of prompt recall without any hint, under a product category is called unaided brand recall.

Strategies To Enhance Brand Recall

While there are innumerable strategies to enhance brand recall, which differs for different industries, here are some common and effective ones –

Develop A Brand Profile

A brand profile is a brand’s identity which encompasses all the decisions made by the company’s marketing agency in terms of communication, web presence, brand values and preferences, packaging, graphic design, etiquettes of the office staff, brand’s take on relevant socio-economic issues etc.

Developing a solid Brand Profile reinforces brand identity and allows consumers to readily remember the brand’s concrete and abstract appearance.

There are three main components of Brand profile based on which all communication on behalf of the brand is undertaken:

Define The Brand Purpose

Brand Purpose is the reason for the existence of a brand beyond generating revenues. It answers the question “How does a company improve the lives of its consumers” or “What is the idea that drives a particular brand”?

A classic example of a powerful brand purpose is Dove. The Dove brand purpose is to improve the self-confidence and esteem of women around the world.

Define The Brand Proposition

Brand Proposition is simply the problem which a company’s product is solving for the consumers. It is the promise that the brand delivers to its consumers through its product or service.

For example, Apple promotes itself by promising innovation and simplified user experience which forms Apple’s Brand proposition.

Build A Brand Personality

Building a brand personality implies providing human characteristics to a certain brand like competence, toughness, sincerity, sophistication etc. For example, the brand Nike has built its personality as Athletic. Therefore, it appeals to all athletes no matter which sport they play.

Create A Brand Story

Creating a brand story involves making an emotional connect with the audience which becomes a part of their memory.

The narrative of the story could highlight conflict and resolution.

For example, Nike’s equality campaign highlights the conflict in the form of inequality and the resolution by projecting Nike as a force for positive social change, i.e. equality, which is beyond just offering the athletes its workout gear.

A brand’s story of struggle and success may invite consumers to be a part of an inspiring movement.

Develop Catchy Brand Logo Design

A brand logo lays the foundation of Brand Identity. It grabs attention, differentiates the company from its competitors and makes a strong first impression in the minds of consumers.

An aesthetically pleasing logo triggers a positive recall about a company’s brand. It serves as a great hedge, in case the name of the brand is forgotten, by crystallizing the brand’s profile.

Companies can choose from an array of brand logo types to enhance brand recall, like monogram logos, emblems, pictorial marks, mascots etc.

Focus On The Upkeep Of Brand Reputation

It is important to identify and eliminate all the potential reputation risks that may undermine the hard-earned reputation of a brand. While a brand recall is a boon, it may act as a bane if negative recollection takes place in the minds of consumers.

Humanize The Brand

It is a commonly known fact that people respond to people as opposed to a faceless organisation. Humanizing a brand involves connecting the ideas of the company with the people involved with the brand.

The employees, the customers and strategic partners should be used as brand ambassadors of the company and their story of growth with the company must reach out to the audience. This realistic connect will ensure a greater Brand recall for customers.

For example – A recent Apple advertisement that shows the design team at Apple’s office has just a few days to come up with a round pizza box prototype before a deadline. The ad with a pinch of humour focuses on how different products of Apple help the team of ‘underdogs’ collaborate towards a shared purpose.

Develop An Unforgettable Brand Tagline

One of the most effective ways to draw attention and enhance brand recall is developing an unforgettable tagline. A tagline should be such which points towards the benefits of a product while parallelly conveying the Brand Purpose.

Some of the memorable brand taglines are :

  • Airbnb– Belong anywhere,
  • American Express – Don’t leave home without it,
  • L’Oreal –  Because you are worth it,
  • M&Ms – Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

Communicate Well With The Target Audience

Consistent communication with the target audience enhances Brand recall.

Social media can be leveraged through modes like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. The Brand’s followers constantly lookout for updates from them on these platforms.

For newer brands, which are trying to make a mark or capture market share, techniques like giving away free promotional products or experiential campaigns may be used to make space in the minds of the consumers.

Brand Partnerships

Brand Partnership is a mutual agreement between two or more brands to help one another in increasing brand recall, exposure, breaking into new markets and providing value-added services to the consumers.

This excites the consumers and refreshes their memory about the brands involved.

Brand Recall Examples


The yellow M triggers a Brand recall in the target group’s minds for Mc Donald’s. McDonald’s, currently the sixth most important brand in the world, smartly crafted its logo using the colour yellow which is associated with happiness and catches the eye even on a crowded space.

The company uses the same branding strategy in all the countries it operates in and has the same mascot, same brand voice, and the same branding guidelines for each of its marketing message which boosts its brand recall.


Nike’s swoosh tick mark is enough for consumers to recollect the Brand’s name. The logo indicates movement and speed, which supports the brand’s positioning goals.

Besides this, the company has also succeeded in developing an unforgettable tagline – ‘Just do it.’ which resonates with each of its target customers. Nike also uses social media and other communication channels very well to communicate with their target customers and build a community around the brand.

Brand Recall vs Brand Recognition

Brand recall and Brand Recognition are both components of brand awareness.

Brand recall is the top-of-mind recollection of a certain brand when a consumer is asked about a product category. It is a relatively stronger link which leads to final purchase.

Brand Recognition is the ability of consumers to identify or recognize the name of a particular brand among other brands. It is a weaker link to final purchase as compared to Brand recall.

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