Brand Equity Survey: 4 Questions You Need to Be Asking

Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is an important factor to measure for any organization.

For instance, an interesting figure revealed that up to 77% of brands could simply vanish without anyone caring. We don’t want that to be you! 

Without properly measuring customer satisfaction, how can you be sure they are satisfied with your brand, product, or service?

How can you be sure customers will remain loyal and continue to give you their business?

That is where brand equity studies come into play.

Garbage in = garbage out. To execute a successful survey, you must ask the right questions.

Use these sample brand equity survey questions to get started.

Quick Recap: What is a Brand Equity Survey?

A brand equity study provides real insight (not assumptions) into if your target customer knows you exist, what he or she thinks your business represents, and, why they have chosen a competitor over you.

While this concept is likely no revelation to organization leaders, it is important to clarify customer satisfaction should not be the only thing you are paying close attention to.

Why? Because meeting the expectations of your customers is not the only factor that determines the level of success your organization can achieve.

Before your customers were…well, customers, they were prospects.

They entered the sales funnel with some level of awareness or perception of your brand. While their awareness and perception of your organization were likely positive, you cannot assume the same of your current target market.

What kinds of questions should you focus on in a brand equity study? This is dependent on your main objective for conducting non-customer research.

However, to help get you started, our market research company explains five critical questions you should be asking in your brand equity survey in the blog below.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Choosing brand equity research topics is dependent on the client’s main goal. Having a clear understanding of this goal prior to embarking on your market research journey is helpful. 

Question Type #1: Unaided or Top of Mind Awareness

When measuring the awareness of your target demographic it is important to not skew the results in any way.

This is oftentimes why researchers recommend conducting a brand equity study with a third-party because the sponsor of the study remains anonymous or blinded.

If the survey is branded with your company logo, and you ask how aware someone is of your organization, the results will naturally skew higher.

This provides your team with inaccurate and unreliable results, which will hurt your marketing or business strategy moving forward.

An example of an unaided question for a brand equity survey would be the types of SUVs.

A car dealership may ask respondents:

“Name the first two or three car dealerships that come to mind when you think of SUVs.”

What percentage of respondents listed your car dealership first? What competing car dealerships ranked higher?

This information is extremely valuable.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Unaided/top of mind awareness questions are just that–asking respondents what immediately comes to mind when thinking about a brand, unprompted.

Recommended Reading: Should You Blind or Reveal the Sponsor of Your Survey?

Question Type #2: Aided Awareness

Yep, there are two types of awareness questions you should include in your brand equity study: aided and unaided awareness.

Aided awareness is similar in that it is better to not mention the sponsor of the study. You want to most honest answers and feedback possible.

There is one major difference.  

Keeping with the car dealership example from above, here is a sample aided awareness question.

"From the list below, select the car dealership you are aware of. (Select all that apply)"

In this question, you would list 8 or 10 brands of SUVs for respondents to choose from.

Aided Versus Unaided Awareness 

As we’ve covered, measuring awareness is a key metric in market research. 

Focusing on the customer’s purchasing path, awareness is at the core of buying a product. For this, the AIDA model is used. Think about it with your own personal journey as a customer. You first need to be aware of a brand to become involved with it. The AIDA model follows this step-by-step. 

The AIDA model is: 

  • Awareness 
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action 

Unaided awareness is when respondents in a project already know about a brand/product without being prompted. Think about the SUV example that we covered in the previous section. 

Try it out on yourself. Choose a product and notice what brands come to mind. What brand pops into your head when you think of guitars? Maybe it’s Fender. What about shoes? Nike, perhaps? This is unaided awareness in a nutshell. No one had to prompt you to think of these brands, they simply came to mind. 

When asking unaided questions in a market research project, the way they’re worded will depend on the goals of the client.

While aided awareness is when respondents are asked if they already know about a brand. It goes something like this: “Are you aware of [insert brand name here]?” Following this question, respondents will say if they know the brand or not. 

When asking aided awareness questions, it’s best to stick with the main competitors in your industry. This keeps the process organized and can often avoid confusion.

Easy as that. 

Which type of awareness question is better? We answer that in the blog post, Is Aided or Unaided Awareness Better in Market Research?.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Aided and unaided awareness questions are important to incorporate in your brand equity survey. They function as a straightforward and insightful way to gain key insight into competing brands and uncover additional information. 

Recommended Reading: What is Unaided and Aided Awareness in Market Research?

Question Type #3: Word Association

Understanding what word or words come to mind when someone hears or sees your brand name can help determine what the perception of your organization is.

Not only can you determine the word association around your brand, but assess competitors too.

For example, say our market research company was conducting the brand equity study for the auto dealership in the examples above.

From the list of brands we provided in the awareness question, we would program the survey to next ask respondents what word or phrase comes to mind when they see the brand of SUVs they said they were aware of.

This question helps compare how good or bad your competitors are perceived by your target audience.

💡 The Key Takeaway: The words or phrases mentioned in this question can help fuel the strategic planning and to encourage prospects to choose you over a competitor

Question Type #4: Perception

Lastly, perception scores. Of those brands of SUVs respondents are aware of, ask respondents to list their level of perception on a scale of positive, neutral, or negative.

Although your customers and employees think you’re a great place of business and love working with you, it doesn’t mean you should assume the perception among your community is also positive.

One bad online review can scare any prospect away from giving you their business.

It is important to truly understand how well you are perceived to know how you should market your brand, product, or service.

💡 The Key Takeaway: A perception score measures the likability (or lack thereof) of a brand. Respondents can choose from positive, neutral, or negative options. 

Recommended Reading: What is the Impact of Positive Online Reviews?

Other Brand Equity Survey Questions to Consider

There are countless questions we could include in a brand equity survey - but keep in mind, that the shorter the survey, the better.

With that being said, it can't hurt to know all your options! Here are some other survey question types to consider asking target respondents.

For customers...

  • Brand loyalty. Increasing customer retention by just 5% boosts profits by 25% to 95%. Measuring brand loyalty can help predict whether someone is a lifelong customer or has one foot out the door.
  • Likelihood to recommend. Perhaps one of the most common metrics in market research is a brand's Net Promoter Score. It measures the percentage of customers who are brand promoters, passives, and detractors.

For non-customers...

  • Top factors of choice. When potential customers are searching for products or services you offer, what factors are most enticing to them? Identifying these factors can help shape your marketing and advertising messaging to push them to act.
  • Sources of awareness. Where are your prospects most active when seeing marketing and advertising campaigns? Some target markets thrive off of social media advertising while others benefit from TV commercials. Be where your target market is!
  • Likelihood to consider. If someone is aware of your brand, how likely are they to consider making a purchase from you? What would persuade them to contact your team? Find out with this survey!

💡 The Key Takeaway: It’s important to tailor questions to your audience–in this case, customers and non-customers. From brand loyalty to choosing factors, there are many options when it comes to creating your questions. 

Conduct Brand Equity Surveys with Drive Research

Drive Research is a national market research company. Our team specializes in several types of custom market research services, including brand equity studies. Want to learn more about what our team can do?

Here are ways to contact us!

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Author Bio George Kuhn

George Kuhn

George is the Owner & President of Drive Research. He has consulted for hundreds of regional, national, and global organizations over the past 15 years. He is a CX-certified VoC professional with a focus on innovation and new product management.

Learn more about George, here.

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