What Is Brand Recall? Brand Recall In A Nutshell

Brand recall describes the degree to which a consumer will instantly remember a specific brand name after exposure to a communication effort. Brand recall is an aspect of brand awareness, a form of un-aided awareness that enables customers to build a positive perception with the brand, and build a loyal audience.

Understanding brand recall

In world markets characterized by extreme competition, there are few things more valuable to a business than the space it occupies at the front of a consumer’s mind.

Brand recall is an aspect of brand awareness, though the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. There are two different types of brand awareness:

  1. Aided awareness – where the consumer remembers a company with the aid of a clue, and
  2. Un-aided awareness – where the consumer remembers a company in association with a particular industry or product. This is sometimes called top of mind awareness.

In essence, brand recall is a form of un-aided awareness that dictates how consumers think and feel about a specific brand. Brand recall strategies focus on creating positive associations between the company and the consumer, with the primary intention to build an audience of loyal customer advocates.

How is brand recall calculated?

Brand recall can simply be calculated as the percentage of individuals that can recollect a brand. 

To arrive at the brand recall value, the number of participants able to recall a brand is divided by the total number of participants in a study and multiplied by 100. As a general rule, any score above 50% is considered desirable.

Data is collected from surveys or focus groups with written questions – but some businesses may also choose to use visual or auditory cues.

How can businesses increase brand recall?

Most experts agree that a memorable brand has to be consistent, defined, and differentiated. To encapsulate these qualities, it is useful to write a brand manifesto that declares the views, intentions, and motives of the brand.

Then, it is a matter of following these guidelines:

Create a memorable logo

The most effective logos are clean, simple, and evoke certain emotions. They must also be consistent in appearance across various channels.

Color consideration

Color is a core driver of brand recall, with different colors also responsible for evoking a wide gamut of emotions. The chosen color(s) should match the nature of the business. For example, consumers associate environmental companies with shades of green.

Create a memorable brand name

It stands to reason that the brand names consumers recall most often are short, simple, and easily spelled or pronounced. The holy grail for a business is when its brand name becomes a verb and enters everyday language. Examples include Uber, Google, Xerox, PayPal, and Photoshop.

Create a powerful unique selling proposition – what can the business offer the consumer that they can’t get anywhere else? Coca-Cola devotees understand that other companies offer comparable soda, but it is only Coca-Cola that they associate with fun and happy experiences they can share with friends.

Brand recall examples

While we cannot speak for everyone, there are a few brands in existence that are easily recalled by the majority of consumers. When an individual heads to the store to purchase soda, for example, there is a reasonable likelihood that Coca-Cola or Pepsi will be the brand they recall.

Here are some more examples:

  • Luxury vehicles – BMW, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, and Audi.
  • Technology – Apple, Google, and Samsung.
  • Sportswear – Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas.

Case Studies

  • Fast Food:
    • McDonald’s: Globally recognized for its golden arches, the brand is synonymous with quick-service burgers and fries.
    • Domino’s: Known for its efficient pizza delivery service and innovative order tracking technology.
    • Pizza Hut: Remembered for its unique pan pizzas and family dine-in experiences.
  • E-commerce:
    • Amazon: The world’s leading online marketplace, known for its vast product range, Prime benefits, and fast delivery.
  • Streaming Services:
    • Netflix: Pioneered online content streaming and is associated with binge-watching popular TV shows and films.
  • Search Engines:
    • Google: The dominant search engine, its name is now used as a verb meaning “to search online.”
  • Ride Sharing:
    • Uber: Revolutionized taxi service with its app-based booking system.
    • Lyft: Known for its pink logo, it’s a major competitor to Uber in the U.S.
  • Sneakers:
    • Nike: Recognized for its iconic swoosh logo and association with top athletes.
    • Adidas: Identified by its three stripes, it’s a top brand in both sports and fashion circles.
    • Reebok: Known for athletic footwear, particularly in the fitness and training sector.
  • Soft Drinks:
    • Pepsi: Coca-Cola’s main competitor, distinguished by its sweeter taste and blue branding.
    • Dr. Pepper: Unique flavor profile, standing out with its “23 flavors” tagline.
  • Photography:
    • Canon: A leading name in the world of photography and videography.
    • Nikon: Recognized for its advanced DSLRs and optical technologies.
    • Sony: Known for innovative camera technologies and mirrorless camera systems.
  • Home Furniture:
    • IKEA: Swedish brand famous for flat-pack furniture, modern designs, and in-store experiences.
  • Social Media:
    • Instagram: Image-centric platform where users share photos, stories, and now reels.
    • Facebook: The world’s largest social networking site, known for connecting friends and hosting various groups.
    • Twitter: Microblogging platform famous for its 280-character posts and real-time updates.
    • LinkedIn: Professional networking platform used for business connections and job hunting.
  • Music Streaming:
    • Spotify: Popular for its vast music library, playlists, and personalized recommendations.
    • Apple Music: Apple’s offering in the music streaming space, integrated with the iOS ecosystem.
    • Tidal: Known for high-fidelity sound and exclusive releases from top artists.
  • Cars:
    • Toyota: Renowned for its reliable and durable vehicles.
    • Ford: An American legacy brand, particularly recognized for trucks like the F-150.
    • Honda: Known for fuel-efficient cars and innovative engineering.
  • Airlines:
    • Delta: One of the major U.S. carriers, known for its extensive network and customer service.
    • Emirates: Luxury airline recognized for its high-end in-flight experiences and global connectivity.
    • Southwest: Popular for its budget-friendly fares and unique seating system.
  • Smartphones:
    • Apple’s iPhone: Known for its user-friendly interface, design, and ecosystem.
    • Samsung’s Galaxy series: Recognized for advanced features, quality displays, and versatility.
    • Google’s Pixel: Lauded for its clean Android experience and camera capabilities.

Key takeaways

  • Brand recall describes the degree to which a consumer will instantly remember a specific brand name after exposure to a communication effort.
  • Brand recall data is collected via surveys and focus groups with a range of written, auditory, and visual cues. Brand recall itself is expressed as a percentage, with any score above 50% considered desirable.
  • Businesses can increase brand recall by creating a memorable logo and brand name and ensuring their unique selling proposition is truly unique. They should also consider their colors carefully to ensure consumers make the right association with their brand. 

Key Highlights

  • Definition: Brand recall measures how well a brand is remembered by consumers without any prompts or cues.
  • Importance: It is an indicator of brand strength, reflecting the effectiveness of advertising campaigns and consumer loyalty.
  • Types of Awareness:
    • Aided awareness: When consumers recognize a brand with some help or clue.
    • Un-aided awareness (brand recall): When consumers remember a brand spontaneously.
  • Calculation: Brand recall percentage is determined by dividing the number of participants who recall a brand by the total number of participants, then multiplying by 100.
  • Strategies for Increasing Recall:
    • Consistent branding: Maintain uniformity across all platforms.
    • Memorable logo: Simple and evocative logos are more easily remembered.
    • Effective color use: Colors can evoke emotions and should align with the brand’s message.
    • Unique brand name: Short, simple, and distinctive names can enhance recall.
    • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Offer something that sets the brand apart from competitors.
  • Examples of High Brand Recall: Brands like Coca-Cola in the soda industry, BMW in luxury vehicles, or Apple in technology have achieved high levels of recall in their respective markets.
  • Outcome: A high brand recall often indicates strong brand equity, consumer loyalty, and effective marketing campaigns.

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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