Brand perception is the sum of consumer feelings, attitudes and experiences with a service. These thoughts and feelings happen when a consumer is aware of the brand and interacts with its service. Brand perception is what customers believe a service represents, not what the company owning the brand says it does.
It is based on the customer use, experience, functionality, reputation and word of mouth recommendation. When a brand delivers or exceeds customer expectations, it has the potential to establish loyal brand equity.
The secret recipe for a strong brand perception is to connect your company’s personality to five senses. As a result, it will resonate with customers and leave a lasting mental impression. For example:
- Visual: Craft instantly-recognizable logo and invest in entertaining commercials
- Auditory: Use catchphrases to make your way into popular culture
- Olfactory: Try patented scents in order to trigger emotions and enhance overall brand experience
- Taste: Offer free samples or special deals to try new services
- Touch: Nurture client relationships by staying in touch with them
The importance of positive brand perception
The ultimate goal of brand perception programs is to develop brand value and brand equity. Brand equity is the extra value a company gets from a product with a recognizable name. When high, your customers will feel more confident and comfortable to purchase your service instead of competitors.
It may take your brand multiple touch points and multiple positive experiences to generate any kind of influential impact. However, it may only take one negative experience to completely destroy a consumer relationship. The reality is, we’re far more likely to share bad brand experiences with our friends and family than good ones.
Positive brand perception will result in consumers choosing your business over a competitor. It also means that they’re likely to bring in new customers to your business since. In fact, 60% of customers will refer friends and family to their favorite brands. Moreover, other businesses will be more interested in partnering with you and it will be easier to launch new products.
How to improve brand perception
As brand perception is an essential component in building brand equity. Therefore, it is important to measure it regularly and identify what drives improvements. Measuring the brand perception of your competitors can help you understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. As a result, brands can better understand what aspects are contributing to their perception. These insights can then be used to help support initiatives to reshape and increase brand perception. There are several things you can do to measure how customers perceive your brand:
Know your customers
Before you can improve customer perceptions of your brand, it’s essential to understand your customers themselves. Find out your customer’s age, gender, location, language, professions and interests. Having a concrete understanding of your customers can provide a solid foundation for any efforts aimed at elevating their perceptions.
Listen to their feedback
The only way to know how people perceive your brand is to ask them directly. Collect your customer’s and employee’s opinion and perform a brand perceptions analysis. Study these insights to get the most out of their feedback and hopefully, implement steps to boost brand perception.
Meet their expectations
Once you have identified the target audience, start providing them with the right content. Make sure your website, blog and social media channels reflect the brand messaging. In addition, optimize them to reach as many people as possible. Furthermore, understand their preferences and expectations to adjust your customer experience strategies. For example, providing quick and personalized customer service can go a long way to elevating experiences. In turn, it can influence how they perceive the brand.
Nowadays, business changes happen rapidly. Hence, it’s important for your law practice to stay up-to-date with the latest laws, trends and technologies. When changes happen, consider implementing innovations that will help you elevate your brand. Refreshing your brand can revive the brand’s image in the eyes of the consumer. For example, modernizing your logo or changing your website design.
Focus on the customer service
Show your customers you care about their experiences and are always looking to be better. Check-in with your customers to get insights in their perception of your brand. See if their perceptions change over time and use it to your advantage to stay in track.
Track online reviews
According to a Brightlocal survey, 91% of 18 to 34 year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Your potential customers are probably evaluating your business through reviews on sites. For example, Yelp, G2Crowd, Reddit and other. Make sure you are notified when someone mentions your brand on online forums, customer review sites, blogs and news sites.
Brand perception surveys
Brand perception surveys provide a way to gather targeted insights from your customers to understand how they perceive your brand. Collect customer feedback at all your touchpoints on all channels, including your website, mobile app or via email. These valuable insights will help your future strategies and drive customer-centric action to boost customer perceptions. There are a variety of survey types that capture feedback of the customer journey:
- A customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey measures customer health and sentiment by asking customers targeted questions. It’s usually sent after a specific customer experience. For example: On a scale from 1 to 5, how are you satisfied with our latest product?
- Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) measures customer loyalty with the following questions. How likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend, colleague or family member? Why or why not? It is typically sent at specific stages of the customer lifecycle. Moreover, it’s an effective way to identify brand advocates or brand detractors.
Consider running brand perception surveys at least quarterly to track the progress of contributions to your brand. Furthermore, practice conducting employee surveys and interviews. That will help inform your next steps and strategies for moving forward.
Brand focus groups and forums
Focus groups and forums give you the opportunity to hear the positives and negatives of your brand. You can benefit of customers feedback and develop a genuine understanding of what works well for your brand. Online brand forums can be useful if you find it hard to reach your customers and strengthen your brand.
Social media monitoring
Social monitoring can provide important insights into the performance of your social messaging. When knowing what people are saying about your brand, you can grow your social media presence faster. By monitoring a brand’s social presence, you can reveal insights such as:
- Which social media platforms are growing your brand most
- The type of content that gets the most views
- The number of mentions and shout-outs of your brand, often in real time
- Reviews and comments
- Influencer reach
- Dwell time (how long someone spends looking at your brand)
- Which paid content performs best
The Importance of Brand perception
Profile your target audience
It’s crucial you understand your audience on a deep level. In order to do that, you need to access to their demographics and psychographics. Demographics consist of factors such as gender, age, education, profession, income level, marital status etc. Psychographics are the classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations and other psychological criteria.
In short, demographics represent what your customers are, while psychographics represent who and why your customers are. When you understand your target audience, you’ll be better able to predict their shopping behavior and attitudes. Afterwards, you can use that information productively.
Understand pricing perceptions
What is the primary positioning goal for your brand within the marketplace? Are you facing with highly competitive environment? Is it more important for your brand to have the lowest price among competitors? However, it’s essential that you know how consumers view your brand’s worth. That way you will be able to determine if public perception aligns with your strategy and goals.
Define brand equity
How do your customers feel about your brand? You can define their sentiments by focusing on two key concepts: Brand identity and Brand relationship. Brand identity represents how do they identify your brand within the marketplace. It directly related to your brand’s personality, which is a combination of performance and visual brand identity.
Performance stands for how well it meets the functional needs of your customers. Visual brand identity represents how well it meets the psychological needs of your customers. How customers align with both aspects of your brand’s identity greatly informs how you communicate it. Defining your brand’s core values through effective messaging will help impact how consumers react to it on a visceral level.
The second aspect of brand equity is a connection your customers have with your brand. Ideally, you want customers who are actively sharing and connecting with others who associate with your brand. Therefore, strive to convert these customers into loyal clients and advocates of your brand using the techniques above.
Understand drivers and barriers
Understanding your customers motivation will allow you to convert the curious into the committed. These drivers and barriers frequently include pricing, interface, risk, urgency and trust. Clarifying these drivers and barriers that motivate your customers will influence long-term loyalty.
Utilize white space opportunities
White Space is where unmet and unarticulated needs are uncovered to create innovation opportunities. In other words, it gives you the opportunity to take advantage of currently unused areas of potential of your brand. These areas can be used to identify an entirely new market or map innovation within an existing service. White Space can ultimately define a new source of customer value that can then be translated to economic value. A deep understanding of your customers’ values will enable your brand to enter these new and valuable spaces.
In sum, brand perception is what consumers believe a service represents and not what the company owning the brand says it does. Hence, brand perception is based on customer use, experience, functionality, reputation and word of mouth recommendation.
When a brand delivers or exceeds customer expectations, it has the potential to establish a whole lifetime of loyalty. The biggest reason consumers cite for their loyalty to a brand is because they love the service. By combining the tools above, companies can monitor brand perception and improve their overall business strategy.