If the CFP Planning Board of Standards has its way, more "mass affluent investors'' will know what a "certified financial planner" is following a new brand awareness campaign, board officials claimed at a media conference call Thursday.

The CFP Board commissioned Marketing Evolution, a marketing research firm, to conduct a survey of the board's target audience: adults age 35 to 64 with $100,000 to $1 million in investable assets. The board wanted to determine whether any of its messages were striking a chord with this group. There are an estimated 14 million people in the U.S. who fit this description-6% of the U.S. adult population.

According to the survey, the brand campaign has indeed increased this group's awareness of the CFP marks. After 14 weeks of the campaign, there was a 71% recognition rating on the CFP Board's "Awareness Metrics" scale (an increase of 8 percentage points).

"I'm very pleased with the initial survey results,'' said Kevin Keller, CEO of the CFP Board, who outlined the preliminary survey results during a media conference call today. "Raising awareness is a long-term commitment from the CFP Board of Directors, but with these initial results, I'm very encouraged.''

Marketing Evolution conducted 6,000-plus telephone interviews between April 18 and August 7, the first 14 weeks of the campaign.

Also on the call was Tom Crowder, the managing director of marketing and business development for the CFP Board. Crowder, a former advertising executive, said the survey was intended "to get a gauge on our marketing effectiveness and to help us to optimize our media mix--to help us be spending our media dollars as efficiently as possible to move the consumer awareness needle.''

Crowder says the initial survey data will also be used--once it's all collated--to craft the CFP's media buying plan for 2012. "It will help our media buy to be a lot more effective,'' he said.

Launched this spring, the CFP Board's marketing campaign features television spots, print advertisements and online banner ads, all aimed at raising public awareness about the significance of CFP Board certification.

The promotional campaign, conducted by Boston-based international advertising firm Arnold Worldwide, consists of TV, print, radio and Internet-based ads as well as a dedicated Web site called "letsmakeaplan.org.''

The campaign's pitch: CFP Board certified professionals can help you stay on course with your financial goals. The CFP Board said its 30-second television spot will air during prime time programming on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, HGTV, ESPN, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News.

The campaign is being funded by an increase in CFP Board annual fees from $145 to $325 a year, which will draw an estimated $9.3 million over two years ($7 million the first year and $2.3 million in year two) from the board's reserves. There are an estimated 64,000 CFP professionals.

--Jim McConville