Have you ever wondered why some brands never run ad campaigns but everyone recognizes them? This phenomenon is called brand recall, it’s the customer’s ability to recall your brand when thinking of products and services related to your niche.

Also, the frantic need to be one step ahead of your competition diminishes significantly when customers think of you first when they think of anything related to your industry.

So, let’s figure out what brand recall is, how to leverage it to imprint your brand on your target audience’s minds and how to measure it.

What Is a Brand Recall?

Brand recall is the likelihood of people remembering your brand, services, and products without prompting. Think of brand recall as being recognized as the top option in your industry.

When someone mentions project management software, what is the first tool that comes to mind? The first tool that comes to mind has the strongest brand recall with you.

Having a strong brand recall reduces the need for aggressive marketing because people are already familiar with your brand and its products. 

In brand recall surveys, respondents are asked to name brands that come to mind when a specific industry is mentioned. For example, “mention the brands that come to mind when you think of chocolate.”

The brands with the most mentions among respondents have the highest brand recall. 

You could also use it to test the effectiveness of your promotions. For example, you could show a video of an ad while blurring the name of the brand and ask them which brand they associate it with. If the respondents remember correctly, the promotion was successful.

Aided Brand Recall

This is the type of recognition that happens when respondents are prompted to recall a brand. Respondents remember the brand because they are given hints like the brand name or logo.

Aided brand recall assesses customers’ ability to recognize a brand based on its logo, name, and other brand assets. For example, “do you know Cadbury?” 

Starting with unaided brand recall helps to preserve the integrity of participants’ responses. Respondents may falsely claim to recognize brands when they do not, leading to inaccurate conclusions.

Also, to avoid sequence bias, randomize the order in which the brands appear. Sequence bias occurs when participants choose the top option simply because it is at the top of the list.

It is critical to tailor the list of brands to specific regions; for example, Nestle products in the United States may differ from those available in the United Kingdom.

Unaided Brand Recall

This type of brand recall does not outrightly ask participants if they recognize a brand by providing them with a name, logo, slogan, or any other brand assets as hints. Instead, they are asked to name the brands that come to mind when a particular industry is mentioned.

For example, “what are the first five brands that come to mind when you think of footwear?” This allows participants to provide a list of brands they are most familiar with.

This is the most effective measure of brand recall because it prevents survey bias.

What Factors Affect Brand Recall?

There are so many factors that influence brand recall, some are out of your control but most of them you can influence. Here are the major factors that affect your brand recall:

Brand Personality

Your brand personality is the result of your brand’s voice and tone; it influences how people view your brand. It could be friendly, educational, assertive, or any other qualities that set your brand apart from the competition.

Having a unique brand personality enables people who have interacted with your brand to easily recall it.

Brand Storytelling

A compelling story helps customers see the value of your product and raises their expectations. Telling your story does more than just introduce people to your brand; it takes them on a journey that creates a bond between you and them. 

Your ads are more likely to succeed if they contain a relatable story that motivates customers to choose your brand. 

For example, a student is more likely to recall a brand promotion that tells the story of a student who was struggling with workload until he or she discovered a particular task management software. It is easier for students who have seen the ad to recall your brand because there’s a story attached to it.

Unique Brand Assets

Customers have an unconscious recognition of your brand when you use assets such as your logos, fonts, and colors consistently. For example, almost everyone can recognize the Adidas logo without the name because of how consistent it has always been.

Brand Reputation

Whether you have a good or bad reputation, any kind of consistent reputation will give you a strong brand recall.

A good brand reputation means that when your brand is mentioned, customers will have a favorable impression of it. But if your brand has a negative reputation, people will associate it with scrutiny.

So, proactively ensure your brand is recalled with a good impression. For example, if your brand is environmentally conscious, make sure to mention it everywhere your potential and existing customers can see it.

You should also have a reputation management strategy in place to help you deal with negative press.

Read More: How To Measure the Impact of a PR Crisis on Brand Perception

Strategic Brand Promotion

If you notice that the majority of your customers and target audience are unaware of what your brand does, create marketing campaigns that strategically place your product in front of your customers. Constant exposure to your brand allows them unconsciously associate recall your brand and its products and services.

You can also increase brand awareness by leveraging influencers and celebrity endorsements. 

Also, don’t just show people your brand; let them know what you do with informative and engaging content such as monthly newsletters, social media posts, community events, and other activities.

How Does Brand Recall Tie Into Branding Strategy?

Brand recall is what causes customers to think of your company first when they need a product or service in your niche. Brand experience, on the other hand, is what will get your customers to recommend you to their friends and family.

A successful branding strategy enables your target audience to recall your brand for its products and services through the brand image, personality, and voice. This includes creating brand promotions to increase your brand recognition, equity, and reputation.

The primary goal of brand promotions is to get people to notice your brand and make enough of an impression for them to want and purchase your products. So, consistently creating promotions that strike the right chord with customers will help them recognize your brand, and make them think of you when they need a product or service you provide.

Why Is Brand Recall Important for Business?

  • It Boosts Sales

When you have a strong brand recall, you become a reference point for customers. So, whether they’re thinking about buying a new product or their friends and family need a recommendation, you’re the first choice.

Without a strong brand recall, your chances of getting customers without paid advertising reduce significantly. You’d have to proactively persuade people to become your brand customers which is not an easy fit financially.

  • Puts You Ahead of the Competition

If your brand is what your target audience thinks of first when they need a product, your chances of getting more customers than your competitors are pretty high. According to BusinessWire, 60% of customers would rather buy a new product from a brand they know than an entirely new brand.

This implies that when customers buy from you and have a positive experience, they are more likely to stick with you and become loyal customers. Having a good brand recall combined with a positive brand reputation is the formula for effective brand awareness and acquiring loyal customers.

  • Builds Brand Equity

Brand recall is the foundation for brand equity; brand equity is the additional financial benefits you gain from having a brand that people easily recognize.

Let’s you want to buy orange juice but see so many brands of orange juice, chances are you’ll choose the brand you recognize. Now, imagine how so many other people do the same thing; this is brand equity works.

For You: Brand Equity Survey Template

  • Increases Referrals

A strong brand recall increases the likelihood of customers recommending you to their friends and family. 

Another advantage of a strong brand recall is that you don’t even need to give customers incentives for referrals. Customers recommend you because you’re the first brand that comes to mind when they think of certain products and services.

  • It Helps Measure the Success of Your Marketing Efforts

If your target audience can easily recall your brand, it indicates that your marketing strategies are successful. So, your brand awareness efforts have been successful, and you can now focus on how to retain your existing customers and attract new customers by providing a great brand experience.

How to Measure Brand Recall

Brand recall is not exactly quantifiable, the brand recall survey is the most effective method of calculating the brand recall rate.

What Is a Brand Recall Survey?

An unaided brand recall survey is an open-ended question that asks respondents to name the brands that come to mind when they think of a specific industry, product, or service. 

While a brand recognition (aided brand recall) survey presents customers with a list of brands and asks which ones they can recall.

Here are examples of an unaided brand recall question:

  • What products come to mind when you think of project management software?
  • What are the footwear brands you know?
  • What brand comes to mind when you think of ice cream?

An aided brand recall (brand recognition) question looks like this:

Which of the following project management software have you heard of?

  • Asana
  • Jira
  • Notion
  • Airtable

After collecting responses, the next step is to calculate the brand recall rate. 

Brand recall rate formula:

= [(Number of respondents who recalled the brand/ Total number of respondents) x 100]

Read Also – Brand Surveys: Definition, Types + [Question Examples]

How to Create a Brand Recall Survey With Formplus

A brand recall survey is just what you need to know how effective your brand awareness strategies work. Here’s how to create a brand recall survey:

Method 1 – Using a Prebuilt Template

This is the simplest way to create a brand recall survey; all you need to do is choose a pre-existing template and customize it to fit your brand. You can customize the survey by editing the questions, changing the fonts, and embedding media such as images or videos.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Visit the formplus template library

2. Search for a related keyword e.g brand survey

3. Next, select the most suitable template e.g brand awareness survey, then edit it to fit your survey.

Method 2 – Building Your Form From Scratch

1. Create or sign in to your formplus account

2. Next, click on create new form

3. After that, drag and drop the short text option into the empty form field.

4. Next, click on the edit field icon, fill in your brand recall question then save.

5. If you’d like to add an aided brand recall question, click on choice options, then drag and drop the checkboxes option.

6. Finally, customize the checkbox field by filling in your question.



Brand recall is the ability to recall specific brands and their products and services with little or no prompting. Having a high brand recall increases your market share and keeps you ahead of your competitors.

The most effective way to measure brand recall is to create a brand recall survey that shows how well and how many people recognize your brand.

  • Moradeke Owa
  • on 9 min read


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