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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Familiarity Attracts Consumer Attention: Two Methods to Objectively Measure Consumer Brand Familiarity

Published: May 25, 2021


Ursa Bernardic, University of Geneva; Benjamin Scheibehenne, Institute for Information Systems and Marketing


Brand familiarity is an important and frequently used concept in marketing research and practice. Existing measures of brand familiarity typically rely on subjective self-reports and Likert scales. Here we develop and empirically test two implicit measures to quantify brand familiarity. Based on research in visual attention and computer image processing, observers in a first visual search task are incentivized to quickly find a target brand among varying numbers of competitor brands. In the second approach, we measure the speed at which observers can identify a target brand that is gradually revealed. Both approaches are validated in four preregistered experiments. Results show that reaction times predict brand familiarity on an individual level beyond conventional self-reports, even when controlling for “bottom-up” visual features of the brand logo. Our findings offer an innovative way to objectively measure brand familiarity and contribute to the understanding of consumer attention.


We would like to thank Prof. Jeremy Wolfe for helpful suggestions on visual search task. We also thank Antonia Krefeld-Schwalb and Yvonne Oberholzer for helpful comments, as well as Cecilia Galvan, and Carlos Ray for help with data collection.