Brand awareness: How knowledgeable are students, parents, and teachers?

  • Anna Vall Navés
  • 18 February 2020

When it comes to the success of school leaver programmes, brand awareness among students and their influencers is crucial. The more school leavers and parents that know of a company and its opportunities, the more likely it is that the company’s programmes will attract top applicants. So, how much do they know about companies that offer apprenticeships? And how can these companies make their brands better known to them?

Every year at AllAboutResearch, we conduct a series of studies to determine what school leavers and influencers know about the apprenticeships market. Participants are asked either to identify the names of employers from a list (aided awareness) or to name five companies with school leaver opportunities on their own. 

The data gathered from both our aided awareness and Top of the Mind research can tell us a lot. It can help us understand how successful different companies’ marketing and recruitment efforts have been amongst the groups we surveyed. It can also give us a general sense of how aware these groups are of available opportunities, and how their knowledge either overlaps or diverges. And with the addition of our 2019 data, the tool we’ve created provides an excellent way to compare how much school leavers and their influencers know, and how this might be changing as time passes.

Which brands do school leavers, parents and teachers know?

When it comes to the best-known brands, there is generally quite an overlap between what students, parents and teachers know. Employers like Barclays, McDonalds, the NHS and Tesco were well-known across groups, and across the different years in which we conducted our surveys as well.

However, the brands that students and their influencers think of more often are not exactly the same. For instance, while parents frequently considered public sector employers like the Civil Service, TfL or the Ministry of Defence as potential employers, students were more likely to think of food chains such as McDonalds, Burger King, Costa Coffee or KFC.

Regardless of these slight variations in the kinds of companies school leavers and their parents remember, both of these groups—albeit less so in 2019 than in previous years—were able to remember a large number of companies off the top of their heads. On the other hand, teachers, who were not surveyed in 2019, seemed less aware in previous years of the brands that offer school leaver opportunities both in the Top of the Mind and the aided awareness surveys. Although fewer teachers took the survey than students and parents in 2017, they were only able to name ten brands to the parents’ 63 and the students’ 64.

At first glance, it seems that parents and students were able to remember fewer brands on the whole in 2019. In the Top of the Mind study, students remembered 33 brands, while parents remembered 20—both only a fraction of the number of brands recalled in 2017. However, this has to do with the number of participants in the study in 2019, not with a real decrease in brand awareness. 

When taking a closer look at the aided awareness data from 2019 compared to other years, it becomes clear that brand awareness has not generally changed very much between 2016 and 2019. Most brands generally had a similar percentage of recall among students and parents through the different years surveyed. For instance, McDonalds was recognised by students 72.3% and 74.4% of the time in 2019 and 2017 respectively, while it was recalled by parents 64.5% and 62.7% in those same years. Most other companies show little variation as well.

What can employers do to increase awareness of their brands?

It seems that when little is done to change this, brand awareness generally stays stable among students and parents across the years: the same brands are frequently remembered. But the success of apprenticeship programmes relies on capturing the best talent, which in turn relies on students and their influencers knowing about a company and its programmes. So, if a brand isn’t among the most readily recognised by these groups, what can be done?

Informing those who influence students’ career decisions is key. At Parents’ Information Days, for instance, you can come into contact with parents and present your school leaver opportunities to them face-to-face. It’s an unmatched opportunity to make both your brand and its programmes better known among this group.

We also host a number of small-scale events to engage with school leavers themselves. Our in-office events, for example, allow you to meet students that have been pre-screened to meet your programmes’ selection criteria. Inviting students to your offices not only ensures that they will not forget the experience or your brand, but also that they will be more likely to apply to your apprenticeships.

It’s difficult to make your brand stand out to students and their influencers, and even more difficult to ensure these groups are aware of the school leaver opportunities you offer. If you would like to learn more about increasing students’ awareness of your brand, or if you would like to know more about the services we offer, please do not hesitate to contact us here.