Does Name Recognition Still Matter?

By Posted in - E-Note on January 4th, 2013 0 Comments

Social networking, content creation, brand engagement. These are the buzzwords of the digital age. But what about good old-fashioned brand name recognition? Is it still something to strive for? And if you have it, does it do any good? According to a recent research study by two Vanderbilt professors—name recognition still has the power to sway public opinion—and in ways you wouldn’t believe.

What the researchers did:

Just as a local Nashville election was kicking into gear, the researchers placed yard signs for a fictitious candidate named Ben Griffin near a local elementary school.

Three days after the Ben Griffin signs were posted, parents at the elementary school were surveyed about the upcoming election and asked to name their top three choices among the candidates. Their options included the five actual candidates and two fictitious ones—one of whom was Ben Griffin.

The result?

Nearly one quarter of the parents who had driven by the fictitious Ben Griffin signs placed him among their top three choices.

Not bad for a guy who doesn’t exist.

The marketing takeaway:

The same formula holds true for brands. When consumers are choosing between two or more brands of which they know very little—they’ll often gravitate toward the name that sounds familiar.

It’s also important to keep this mantra in mind: Right time. Right place.

The Ben Griffin signs targeted voters in a high traffic area, just as the election was kicking into high gear.

So while name recognition is a good thing—be strategic in where and when you seek it. Tossing your name around willy-nilly, without careful regard for who sees it—and when—won’t necessarily win you the vote.

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