Attitude, Awareness, and Usage Survey (AAU) | Market Research 101

Market research is never short on acronyms. If you are planning on conducting a quantitative survey you will have plenty of options. These include acronyms like customer satisfaction surveys or CSAT. Or image and awareness studies or an I&A survey.

This article discusses the basics of an attitude, awareness, and usage survey (AAU) in market research. I will cover the definition, a process overview, and some of the benefits your organization would receive from running an AAU survey.

Whether your survey is B2B or B2C, an AAU survey can cover several core criteria and metrics for your brand to help guide you in the right direction.


What is an AAU Survey in Market Research?

An AAU survey in market research stands for attitude, awareness, and usage. Hence the acronym. The survey is intended to be sent to the market as a whole to help a brand understand metrics like top-of-mind awareness, aided awareness, sentiment, word associations, usage, and market share.

There are some instances with an AAU survey is sent to customers of a brand to measure awareness of different product or service lines. Typically the AAU surveys is sent to the market as a whole because if you were to ask awareness of your brand to a list of customers you have, it would not be relevant. If they have purchased from you in the past, they are undoubtedly aware of your brand so it can skew results.


What is the Process for an AAU Survey?

Most commonly, AAU surveys are completed online using a market research panel. A market research panel is a vetted and qualified email list of residents or professionals in a market who are willing to participate in market research. The response rate is much higher than using a blinded email list or sales list.

Most organizations use a third-party vendor or market research survey company to assist with their efforts. These firms can help guide you on question design, process, analysis, and reporting. If you are going to test awareness as part of your AAU survey, it is important your brand be blinded and removed from the study. This is one of the main reasons brands work with a market research vendor for an AAU survey.

The process is simple and straightforward. The steps include a kickoff meeting, workplan development, survey design, survey review, programming, testing, soft-launch, full launch, data quality checks, closing fieldwork, analysis, reporting, and a debrief.


What are the Key Benefits of an AAU Survey?

There are several benefits to using a AAU survey for your organization. As mentioned above, you will get factual data on where your brand sits in terms of several metrics.

Here is an example of some of the key takeaways you would receive from an AAU survey in market research.

(1) Top-of-mind awareness is 20%. This ranks third behind 2 other key competitors.

(2) Total awareness is 48%. This ranks second among the tested competitors.

(3) The top sources generating awareness are social media and television.

(4) The perception score for our brand is +45. Nearly two-thirds view our brand positively.

(5) Drivers to negative perception include wait time, customer service, and cost.

(6) Top word associations with our brand include quality, mothers, and caring.

(7) About 8% of the market was or is currently a customer of our brand.

(8) This market share figure ranks fourth among the competitors tested.

(9) The NPS for our brand is +35 which ranks second among the competitors tested.


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Drive Research is a market research survey company located in Upstate New York. Our team works with brands across the country and across the world to assist with both qualitative and quantitative market research.

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