Brand recognition is the extent to which customers recognize a brand and their attitudes toward the brand. When a new brand is introduced, brand recognition develops according to 5 progressive stages:
If customers have a negative experience with your product, they may make a conscious effort to avoid your brand in the future. It is important not to ignore customers’ negative experiences, but to address grievances and complaints before brand rejection escalates. For example, if you are aware of complaints against your customer service department, create a logo or slogan that advertises your commitment to excellent customer service. Once you accept that some consumers may reject you or your product, you can develop strategies to alter the situation.
If your product is not clearly distinct from your competitors, customers may not recognize your brand at all. It is crucial to emphasize what makes your product unique. Carefully label each individual product or service with a distinctive name, just as you branded your small business as a whole. Make sure that names for products and services serve to highlight and reinforce the unique features of your brand.
If you are stuck in the brand non-recognition stage, brand recognition is your primary goal. In brand recognition, customers simply recognize your brand. At this stage, customers will choose your product over a competitor’s product that they cannot recognize. However, brand recognition never confers a permanent advantage because your competitors are also working hard to distinguish their brand from yours.
Once customers can differentiate your product from the competitors’, customers who believe that your product uniquely meets their needs will select your brand. Like brand recognition, brand preference confers temporary benefits: at any moment, the competition may intensify their marketing campaign by adding value or lowering prices. Therefore, independent business owners should not stop at mere brand preference but should strive for the ultimate form of brand recognition, brand loyalty.
This is the highest level of brand recognition. Customers who are loyal to your brand will chose your brand every time, even if they experience occasional poor service or a superior product is introduced to the market. Only highly differentiated products achieve brand loyalty; remember that intangible elements such as customer service can help to distinguish your brand.