communication effect that occurs first in the buyer's mind: categoryneed or brand awareness.
Recognition: Brand Awareness First
In many purchase situations, the brand is quite literally presented tothe consumer first, and this is what stimulates the consumer to considerthe relevancy of category need: Do I really need or want this? Thesequence in the buyer's mind is: Recognition of the brand reminds meof category need. It is important to understand here that a brand mayactually fail a recall test, yet be recognized in the store at the time ofthe purchase decision and bought.A good illustration of what we are talking about here is the processmost people go through when food shopping. Very few shoppers actuallycarry lists; and those who do will only have category reminders (e.g.,trash
on their list. Shoppersrely upon visual reminders of their needs as they scan the packages onthe shelf and brands are recognized. Clearly, then, when purchase se-lections rely upon recognition, advertising should feature the packageas it will be seen in the store.
Category Need FirstIn other decision-making situations, the brand is not present. A cate-gory need is experienced first, and then the consumer relies upon mem-ory to generate possible solutions. In this case the consumer must
a brand, or several brands, from memory in order to make a decision.For example, if a family decides to go out for lunch at a fast-food res-traurant, they are unlikely to drive around until they recognize onethey would like to patronize. Instead they will recall from memoryavailable alternatives, select one, and then proceed there for lunch. Asa rule, the first recalled brand (given a favorable attitude) will get thebusiness. In this case, it is important to see and hear the brand namerepeatedly linked to the category need in advertising.As we can see, brand awareness is not a simple issue. It has at leasttwo major components; and, in fact, one can even look at recognitionbrand awareness as being either visual recognition or verbal recogni-tion. The important thing to understand is that brand awareness is afunction of whether or not recognition ofthe brand drives category need(recognition awareness) or whether category need drives brand aware-ness (recall awareness). This distinction is critical to effective adver-tising strategy.This question is relevant to
advertising and promotion situations.An advertiser is always trying to create or maintain brand awarenessso that the brand is salient for the buyer in a purchase situation. With-
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