Do different awareness measures measure the same thing ?

There is a history of discussion amongst marketers about the relative merits and meaning of different awareness measures. Then in 1995 an article was published that appeared to lay all this debate to rest:

Laurent, Gilles, Jean-Noel Kapferer, and Francoise Roussel (1995), “The Underlying Structure of Brand Awareness Scores,” Marketing Science, 14 (No. 3, Part 2), G170-G79.

Gilles Laurent and colleagues appeared to show that different brand awareness measures were systematically related, simply reflecting different levels of difficulty for respondents (i.e. brand prompted being easier than unprompted). So the different measures all tapped one construct, and a score on one measure could be used to accurately predict a score on another measure. We thought that was an incredibly important and practical finding. However, not was all that it seemed.

Nearly a decade later we replicated this research, and extended it to ad awareness. We achieved the same empirical results, but in doing so we were able to more clearly see what the previous research had, and had not, found. The measures tend to vary together, brand to brand, because some brands are much larger and more salient than others, so all their awareness metrics are higher too. However, we also examined the relationships between the loyalty metrics for each brand over time. Contrary to Laurent’s conclusion we empirically found that it isn’t possible to use their model to predict a brand’s score on one metric from its score on another.

So while all these brand awareness measures share something in common they do not perfectly tap one underlying construct. That’s as important a finding as Laurent’s might have been (if it had turned out to be true). Different awareness measures measure (somewhat) different things, even if they are all loosely related to the brand’s overall salience (and market share).

Romaniuk, Jenni, Byron Sharp, Samantha Paech, and Carl Driesener (2004) “Brand and advertising awareness: A replication and extension of a known empirical generalisation” Australasian Marketing Journal, 12 (3), 70-80.


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