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How do I improve my Awareness Index?


Introduced by Millward Brown in the 1980s, the Awareness Index (AI) is a well established measure of brand-linked advertising memorability, which relates to sales effectiveness. The higher your ads AI, the greater the return on your marketing investment. Some ads are over 20 times more efficient than others in generating this kind of awareness. What can you do to improve your AI? The key is to ensure your ad is enjoyable, involving and well branded.
How is an ad awareness model produced?
The modeling process has two stages. The example below shows that, even in the absence of advertising, a proportion of consumers believe they have seen this brand advertised recently:

The AI is then calculated by looking at the rise in ad awareness that is generated above the Base Level, and relating it to the number of GRPs spent. Stripping out the historical component means we can be sure that the rise we are looking at is due to current activity. This proportion is referred to as the Base Level.

Why is the AI so useful?


The AI can be viewed as a measure of the opportunity to communicate for an ad: the higher the AI,

How do I improve my Awareness Index?

Millward Brown March 2007

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the greater that ads potential to influence consumers with its message. In the example below, an AI of 9 achieves far greater ad awareness than an AI of 3, given the same spend. Assuming 500,000 was spent behind the campaign, the AI of 9 achieves the equivalent level of ad awareness to 1.5 million spent behind the AI of 3; an improvement of 1 million in ROI terms over the AI of 3.

brands, because some brands and categories are far more responsive to advertising than others, but when the sales effects are indexed within the same brand, the pattern is clear:

ual brands

Ads with a higher Awareness Index perform better in improving perceptions of the brand and do so for less spend. Not only does a more memorable, well branded ad mean the image of the brand is more likely to be strengthened, it also means you can spend less to achieve an even greater effect.

How to achieve a strong AI?


There are three factors which determine whether a TV ad will achieve a strong AI. These are: how enjoyable the ad is, how strongly the ad involves the viewer, and how well branded it is. The strongest contribution comes from the branding score, which represents how well respondents think they will remember the ad was for the particular brand being advertised:

Image increases are % point image increases pre-post

Sales modeling work shows that doubling your AI is likely to lead to a doubling of the sales effectiveness of your advertising. The effect is not obvious across

How do I improve my Awareness Index?

Millward Brown March 2007

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More enjoyable ads are also much more likely to be remembered:

Positively involving ads (those described by respondents as being interesting, involving, or distinctive/unique) are also likely to be more impactful as are negatively involving ads (described as irritating, unpleasant, or disturbing). But, of course, negatively involving ads may not be tonally right for your brand.

So we see that the most impactful ads, in terms of achieving increased awareness, are highly creative; but they harness creativity in such a way as to highlight the brand. For more on this subject, see the Knowledge Point What makes a great TV ad?

A technical definition
Technically, the Awareness Index is the rise in brandprompted ad awareness per 100 GRPs, factoring out the effect of diminishing returns. (This refers to the fact that each point of awareness is harder to achieve than the previous one; e.g. it is harder to go from 60 percent to 70 percent than from 20 percent to 30 percent.) So our Awareness Index actually describes the gain which would be achieved if ad awareness started at zero.
Knowledge Points are drawn from the Millward Brown Knowledge Bank, consisting of our databases of 50,000 brand reports and 40,000 ads, as well as 1,000 case studies, 700 conference papers and magazine articles, and 250 Learnings documents.

Its worth noting that ads which are enjoyable are not necessarily involving and vice versa. Ads which are clever, sexy, funny, intriguing, surprising and exciting are most likely to be described as both enjoyable and involving:

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How do I improve my Awareness Index?

Millward Brown March 2007