Awareness, sometimes expanded to “brand awareness,” represents the degree to which consumers recall and recognize a brand by its name, logo, slogan, and/or other defining features.

Awareness describes how familiar consumers are with a brand and its products and/or services. In generating awareness, marketers aim to expose a company and its brand to a high volume of prospects, planting the seed for future engagement and, hopefully, sales.

Awareness marks the first step in the marketing funnel. Before consumers can engage with your brand or make a purchase or become advocates, they have to be aware of your presence. Brand awareness is cultivated in a variety of ways — from advertising to word-of-mouth to corporate events and sponsorships — giving potential customers an idea of who you are and what you do. The pinnacle of brand awareness occurs when a brand becomes a proprietary eponym (think Coke, Kleenex, Band-Aid): That is, the brand and the product are inseparable in the minds of consumers and that name becomes the generic term used to describe all products in that space.