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Brand Salience

Brand Salience refers to all of the elements that combine to create an awareness and understanding of a brand in the mind of the consumer. It means: Awareness of the brand. In the past, Brand Salience has meant only that a certain brand was the first mentioned or thought of when taking about a product category (Cameras: Nikon, Cars: Ford, Mp3 Players: iPod) but Jenni Romaniuk and Byron Sharp take it one step further and say that brand salience really encompasses both the quality and the quantity of memories, thoughts and perceptions associated with a certain brand. This is important because it means that your brand does not have to be the number one brand in your product or service category it just has to resonate fully and strongly with your clients and customers. You can make certain to achieve this by always keeping your target clientele in mind, and paying attention to detail. For every design decision you make, remember who will be in your store, what they will be doing, and where theyre going to be in their buying cycle. Consistency is the key, and it doesnt take much to jar a customer out of the lets shop! mindset.

How to measure Brand Salience


Posted on March 26, 2008 by Byron Sharp

Jenni Romaniuk and I developed the concept we called Brand Salience as the propensity of the brand to be noticed or come to mind in buying situations. So how do we think this construct should be measured ? Salience is cue dependent, it is based on the memories associated with the brand, and so different cues have different tendency to elicit the brand. To measure salience we need to get a handle on these cues. Traditional awareness measures (top of mind etc) share the common failing that they use only one single cue and that is the name of the product category. This single cue cant tell us about the propensity of the brand to come to mind in real world buying where a substantial range of cues can trigger noticing/recall of the brand. Fortunately we dont need to measure consumers reactions to the full vast range cues. In the same way we dont need to sample everyone in China to know the Chinese view on a particular topic, we just need a smaller representative sample. We just need a sample of cues, a sample of brand associations.

We set out the characteristics for choosing cues in Report 41 for corporate members of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute. We also explain how to measure these brand associations. To then test if the selection and number of cues is adequate to measure Salience we expect the distribution of survey responses to follow the same distribution of repeat-buying of brands (NBD-Dirichlet). This is because we expect Brand Salience to have the same structure as individuals brand buying repertoires. So this statistical distribution can be used to shape the set of brand attributes. So most brand perception tracking surveys can be adapted to measure Brand Salience. The biggest fault we find with existing brand tracking surveys is that they have an emphasis on evaluation, so contain many attributes that dont measure memory but rather measure attitude (which means they measure past usage). It also means they have a great deal of redundancy. All of this can be fixed. In addition to the group of attributes that are used to measure Brand Salience, we encourage adding some descriptive assets to track the brands distinctive assets (e.g. tone, colours, logos, slogans, characters). These cant be used in the Salience measure because they skew substantially to particular brands (e.g. American or red for Coca-cola) and so bias the estimate. But there is value in measuring these perceptions because they allow communication to be branded (and therefore build salience) and these cues are used by consumers in noticing brands. Corporate members who are interested in measuring Brand Salience, or mining their tracking data to produce Salience metrics should contact Jenni.

Brand Salience: Why It's Important For Your Brand Woody Allen once said that 80 percent of success is just showing up . Unfortunately, at purchase decision time, the vast majority of brands never show up at all. Getting consumers to think about your brand more often, and in more buying situations, is one of the most under-rated marketing challenges that brands face today.

Brand Salience What is It?

Brand Salience is the degree to which your brand is thought about or noticed when a customer is in a buying situation. Strong brands have high Brand Salience and weak brands have little or none. This helps explain to some degree why big brands are big and small brands are small: if no one thinks about you at the moment of buying truth, your brand is going to be relegated to the dustbin of small and unnoticed brands.

Moment of Truth - Does Your Brand Have Salience ? Brand Salience IS NOT the same thing as top of mind awareness. Top of mind awareness is simply what brands come to mind when consumers are asked to recall brands within a category. Brand Salience is different. Why? Because it is what brands come to mind when consumers are in a purchase situation. More specifically, Brand Salience is the memory of your brand and its linkage to other important memory structures. The buying situation mindfulness and linkage to memory structures is what differentiates Brand Salience from top of mind awareness.
What Drives Brand Salience

This all sounds very simple. But there really is some science behind it. Jenni Romaniuk and Byron Sharp of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science have done research into Brand Salience, and the findings are surprisingly simple, yet counter-intuitive, for Marketers. Brand Salience is a function of the quantity and quality of the consumers memory structures. Brand Salience is the step before considerationis your brand even thought of before the consumer considers a brand or brands and makes a final purchase decision? Or is it mentally screened-out, like the majority of brands?
1. Quantity Of Memory Structures

In buying situations, consumers are often driven by mental cues that trigger their thoughts around brand consideration sets. For example, if Im thinking about getting a quick meal for under $5, Im likely to consider Subway based on their ubiquitous $5 Foot Long campaign.

Subway $5 Footlong - Building Brand Salience

Or, if I want to eat something fresh and healthy, then Im also likely to think of Subway given their focus on fresh and healthy eating. The more memory structures your brand is linked to, the more salient your brande.g. the more likely it is to be thought of during a buying situation. The examples above point out something important: what buyers remember about brands isnt always the same across buying decisions. So, the quantity of memory structures can make a difference.
2. Quality of Memory Structures

Romaniuk and Sharp argue that the quality of Brand Salience is a function of the strength of the association and the attribute relevance. Taking the Subway example above: because Ive seen so many $5 dollar foot long creative executions, the linkage is very strong. Additionally, if value is important and relevant to me because Im on a budget, this further increases Brand Salience. So, to summarize: Brand Salience is a function of: a) the quantity of memory structures your brand is linked to; and b) the quality of these structures, as defined by the strength of association and relevance of the structure. By building the quantity and quality of memory structures, you maximize the number of consumers who will think of your brand and the number of times they think of your brand in various buying situations. So, in Woody Allen parlance, your brand shows up.
Brand Salience vs. Brand Equity A Conflict?

If you grew up in traditional CPG brand management like me, you were trained to believe that a brand should define its equity and rigorously and relentlessly focus on communicating it without deviation. I still recall senior P&G managers speaking scornfully of advertising which was offbrand. On the other hand, Brand Salience sounds a bit like a license for freelance communicationequity be damned. There neednt be a conflict. Marketers need to consider two approaches to building Brand Salience: 1. Focus on Defining and Communicating Different Cues Against A Common Equity Assuming youve defined a focused and important equity for your brand, you need to do the consumer research to understand the most important and relevant cues which link to your

benefit. Then, having defined these, brands need to execute creatively against these cues to maximize the number of memory structure associations.

Subway Fresh & Healthy - Building Brand Salience For example, Subways fresh and healthy positioning can be executed via a range of cues like good for my kids, for people on diets, good for outdoor activities, etc. These are all different cues that may lead to a consumer considering Subway for a fresh and healthy offering. 2. Create and Own Distinctive Executional Memory Structures A second approach is to increase the quantity and quality of executional memory structures. For example, the Subway logo, usage of the Jared Fogle character, the $5 dollar foot long music, etc. are all examples of creating executional memory structures. These executional memory structures help create a platform that enables consumers to more easily remember your brand in buying situations.

Subway's Jared Fogle - An Executional Equity So, Brand Salience is an important but often ignored challenge for Marketers. Do your brand a favor. Listen to Woody Allen. Make sure that your brand shows up and is salient a very important step in ensuring your brand gets considered for purchase.