Brand awareness survey questions and questionnaire design

Brand awareness survey questions are usually organised into several sections within a questionnaire.

The first section would typically comprise of demographic questions. These could include gender, age, region and social grade, and possibly also life-stage, income, ethnicity or other questions. Usually some or all of the demographic questions would go at the start (rather than end) of the questionnaire. That is because they are often used as the basis for managing the structure of the survey sample, by way of “quotas”.

For example, if your sample needs to have 500 males and 500 females, then the question on gender would need to be at or near the beginning of the questionnaire. This is so that when the 501st man or woman begins the survey, and answers the question on gender, they can automatically be prevented from completing the rest of the questionnaire.

Following the demographic questions there are likely to be one or more “screener” questions. These are questions at which respondents are “screened out” of the survey if they do not meet the criteria for taking part.

For example, consider an awareness survey for a brand of dog food. The client has decided that they want a sample of 1000 respondents, all to be owners of a dog. In this case there would need to be a “screener” question after the demographic questions, which asks each respondent if they own a dog. If a respondent answers “No” then they would be screened out of the questionnaire. This ensures that only dog owners can complete the questionnaire. As an aside, it is best not to ask screener questions in a “Yes/No” format, because this encourages some respondents to cheat (in order to receive the incentive for completing the questionnaire).

After the screener questions there will be various questions about the category or the brand.

Usually there would be two brand awareness questions. The first would be unprompted and the second would be prompted. The unprompted question would be open-ended, asking respondents to write down any brands [of dog food] they are aware of. This gives “prompted (or “unaided” or “spontaneous”) awareness results. The second question would show a list of brands, and ask respondents to tick all of the brands that they are aware of. This gives “prompted” brand awareness results.

Following these questions, there may also be questions about which brands they have ever bought, or buy regularly, or which they would never buy. There might also be some brand perception questions about some or all of the brands that they say they buy.

Finally, there could be a section of questions about purchasing activity in the category. For example, which shops respondents buy dog food at, how frequently they buy it, the types they buy, etc.

So, in summary, brand awareness survey questions need to be about awareness of the brand itself (and its competitors), but also about the respondents in the market.

For further information about surveys please see our webpage on online quantitative research.