When people hear your brand name, the immediate thought they have can either boost or harm your business. It's that initial gut feeling that matters for your success.
By understanding what your customers think, you can learn valuable things that will help you build a brand image that connects with people, keeps them interested, and sets you apart from your competitors.
You're not alone in this; a significant 72% of customers feel a strong emotional bond with the brands they choose to buy from. Once people have a certain feeling about a brand, it's pretty tricky to change their minds. This is why brands put in a lot of effort to create positive connections with consumers right from the beginning.
Getting a handle on how people see your brand is the key to shaping those perceptions and building brand value. To do this, it's important to understand what influences how people view your brand and how it affects the decisions both you and your customers make.
What is brand perception?
Brand perception is what people feel, experience, and believe about a product or service. It's not just what a brand claims; it's what people think it stands for. This perception is vital for creating emotional connections with customers and influencing their choices when comparing products.
Customer interactions like reviews, customer support, and recommendations all shape brand perception and impact a company's success. Positive brand perception leads to loyalty, like Apple vs Android or Nike vs Adidas.
Understanding brand perception helps companies build brand equity, which is the combination of people's perceptions, experiences, and opinions. High brand equity means loyal customers who choose your product over competitors.
Your ability to create a brand perception that resonates with your target audience drives business growth. You can measure and improve brand perception, which greatly affects your company's success.
Also read: What is review gating, and what are the risks of review gating
How to measure brand perception
Measuring brand perception is vital, as it offers valuable insights that can greatly affect a brand's long-term success:
Improve the customer experience.
Grasp customer sentiments.
Recognise SWOT analysis.
Shape market strategies.
Establish credibility with customers.
You can gauge brand perception through different methods, such as:
Conducting brand perception surveys
Conducting brand perception studies
Gathering customer insights
Conducting brand perception surveys
To gain insights into brand perception, consider using brand perception surveys. These surveys help you understand how people perceive your business in comparison to your competitors. Pose questions that explore emotional, cognitive, and action-related aspects. Here are some sample questions from Qualtrics:
When you think about [the brand], what's the first thing that comes to mind?
How attached do you feel to [the brand] on an emotional level?
What emotions do you associate with [the brand]?
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [the brand] to a friend or colleague?
How would you explain [the brand] to a friend?
Which words would you use to describe the brand?
Can you share your most recent experience with [the brand]?
This entails keeping an eye on online discussions, social media comments, reviews, relevant hashtags, online forums like Reddit and Qoura, and news references.
As your brand expands, the volume of data will also increase. Establish a process to address negative comments promptly and stay updated on conversations about your brand, products, and marketing efforts.
Conducting Brand Perception Studies
Brand perception research entails a continuous examination of how the public perceives your brand, tracking any changes over time. This can involve keeping an eye on particular metrics or regularly conducting surveys to gauge shifts in customer attitudes.
Here's an example of effective brand perception research in action:
A tech company conducts quarterly brand perception research, evaluating aspects like product reliability, customer trust, and brand reputation. By comparing data across different quarters, the company identifies trends and adjusts its product development and customer support strategies based on evolving perceptions.
Gathering customer insights
At various stages of the buyer's journey, gather valuable data from customers. This data should encompass how buyers conduct research, assess products, make comparisons among competitors, engage with customer support, reach a purchase decision, onboard, and interact with the brand after making a purchase.
When you've amassed sufficient data to measure brand perception, you can then determine whether consumer sentiment matches your brand identity. If it does, you should continue in the same direction. If not, this data can guide your efforts to enhance consumer brand perception.
Also read: How to deal with customer complaints and resolve them
How to cultivate a strong brand impression
Engage with customers: Promote meaningful interactions, for example, taking cues from Starbucks' personalised approach to coffee orders.
Maintain a consistent brand identity: Keep your visual identity, logo, and messaging in harmony, much like Coca-Cola's enduring red colour and the timeless "Open Happiness" slogan.
Deliver quality and reliability: Uphold has a reputation for consistency and trustworthiness, similar to Toyota's reliable cars.
Craft compelling narratives: Create captivating stories that resonate with your audience, as seen in Nike's empowering "Just Do It" campaign.
Showcase uniqueness: Highlight your distinctive features and qualities, much like Apple's commitment to design and user experience.
Forge valuable partnerships: Collaborate with brands that share your values, mirroring Red Bull's successful partnerships with extreme sports events.
Champion employee advocacy: Ensure your staff embodies your brand values, exemplifying the exceptional customer service culture.
Demonstrate social responsibility: Embrace ethical practices and sustainability, following in the footsteps of Patagonia.
Provide a consistent brand experience: Guarantee a uniform and positive customer experience across all touch points, aligning with Disney's magical moments approach.
Stay adaptable: Remain responsive to market trends and consumer feedback, evolving as Hotstar did from a DVD rental service to a streaming powerhouse.
Boosting brand equity through exceptional customer service
Enhancing customer loyalty through exceptional service:
Exceptional customer service creates satisfied and loyal customers who are more likely to choose your brand over competitors, leading to increased brand equity.
Building positive word-of-mouth and referral marketing:
When customers receive outstanding service, they become advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth and referring friends and family to your business, bolstering your brand's reputation and equity.
Reducing negative brand impact and enhancing reputation:
Effective customer service handles issues and complaints promptly, preventing them from damaging your brand's image. By consistently providing solutions, your brand builds a strong reputation, thereby increasing brand equity.
Brand perception is the cornerstone of business success. A top-notch customer experience is the initial step toward shaping a positive brand perception. Moreover, engaging in meaningful social initiatives and maintaining message consistency is essential. Most importantly, prioritise gathering positive reviews.
Cloodot offers a range of SaaS (software as a service) products that harness the power of AI and automation to assist businesses in streamlining and modernising their customer experience management, including reviews and messaging. Our comprehensive online reputation management solutions can elevate your brand perception, enhance your brand's image, and forge enduring customer relationships.
Sign up for a free trial or connect with our experts to learn more.