Your business is your baby, and you know exactly how you want other people, especially prospective customers, to see it. You’ve got a vision in your head of exactly what your brand is, what it means, and what it stands for, but there’s just one problem. Once you put your brand out into the world for everyone to see, you might still own it, but you won’t own people’s perception of it.
Whatever you want to project about the image of your brand, consumers will perceive it based on their own feelings and senses. And not only that, but you’ve got a really limited amount of time to influence them before they make their decision about your brand, so it’s important to measure your brand perception. So what do we mean by brand perception, and how can you go about measuring it?
What Is Brand Perception?
Simply put, brand perception is what consumers believe a product or service represents, not what the business that owns the brand says it does. And we’re not just talking about opinions: brand perception is more about feelings, attitudes, and experiences. Yes, your brand should evoke emotions in your customers: in fact, 94% of people said they’d be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with. Not only that, but after having a positive experience with a business, 77% of customers would recommend the brand to a friend.
So that means you need to be tapped into exactly how your customers feel when they engage with your brand, since it swings both ways. Just as people who have experienced positive feelings when interacting with your brand will become loyal customers, and will be more likely to recommend you, customers who have had negative associations with your brand are 50% more likely to share that experience with their friends and family than they are to share positive experiences.
You can see from the above that brand perception is incredibly important. After all, brand perception affects the type of customers you attract, the prices you can ask, and the partnerships you can build with other brands. Think of it like this: if customers believe in your brand they will be more confident in purchasing your products, other businesses will be more interested in partnering with you, and it will be easier to launch new products/services. Did you know, for example, that 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from the brands they trust?
All of this means that if you can nail your brand perception, you’ll have customers recommending your business left and right, as well as a band of loyal customers who are willing to stick with your business and try your new offerings. Sounds good, right? So let’s take a closer look at how brand perception is formed, and how you can measure it.
What Creates Your Brand Perception?
Here’s a statistic that should make you sit up and take notice: it takes an average of 10 seconds for consumers to form a perception of a brand. You don’t have much time to engage people in a positive way, so you need to be really on top of all the ways that people form their perceptions. Consider some of these common ways that influence how customers feel about your brand:
- Logo – This is where people’s snap decision comes into play: is your logo evocative, with the right colors and/or words to catch the right people’s attention?
- Advertising – What messages are you conveying in your advertising, and are you living up to those messages?
- Experience – How does it feel to visit your website, or browse around your physical space?
- Customer service – What vibe does your customer service give off? How does your team interact with customers, both through your site/shop and on social media?
- Online reputation – How are you talked about online?
- Pricing – Does your price point line up with the quality and experience you offer? It’s ok to be the lower- or higher-priced option in your field, but those prices need to reflect something positive about your brand.
- Positioning – Does your business occupy a specific position in your marketplace, or would you like it to? Are you living up to that?
While customers are quick to form feelings about your brand, you need to be putting a lot of time and effort into shaping that snap judgment by focusing on all of the above. But before we look a little more closely at the above and how you can improve brand perception, we need to talk about measuring your brand perception, so you know where you stand and what you need to work on.
How Do You Measure Brand Perception?
According to a Bain and Company study, even though 80% of brands believe they provide great experiences, only about 8% of customers agree. Wow, that’s a big discrepancy. Turns out you can’t rely on your feelings when it comes to brand perception, even if your customers do! So how can you measure yours? Try these strategies:
- Monitor social media – Keep a close eye on what people are saying about you on social media, while also tracking general trends and how people’s opinions are shifting around certain keywords. Consider using a social media listening tool.
- Head to review sites – Social media isn’t the only place people will be talking about your brand. Check out what people are saying, and respond whenever you can, especially to negative reviews. Be sure not to ever sound defensive, though: every interaction you have with a customer should be made with an eye to boosting your brand perception.
- Sign up for GoogleAlerts – If you’re running a small business, it might be tough to dedicate a ton of time to combing the internet for mentions of your business, so let GoogleAlerts do it for you.
- Conduct customer services or focus groups – Include questions about
- How likely they are to recommend your brand to others (and why or why not)
- What you can do to improve their experience
- What about your brand meets or exceeds their expectations
- What they like least about your product or service
- Whether their most recent experience enhanced their view of your brand
- If you’ve lost any customers, ask them why they left and how you could improve/win them back
Analyzing the above will give you a really good idea of how people perceive your brand, and should give you areas to work on.
How Can You Improve Your Brand Perception?
There are things you can do to build up your brand perception, so let’s take a look at those, through the lens of some statistics about how consumers feel:
82% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after reading customized content and 61% of people are more likely to buy from companies that deliver unique content. That means investing a little into a content marketing strategy can give your brand a boost, and win you some sales.
Be honest and authentic
94% of customers are likely to show loyalty to a brand that offers complete transparency, so be totally honest about your ingredients, your environmental impact, etc. Not only that, but customers want to see authenticity on social media: 86% of consumers prefer an authentic and honest brand personality on social networks. So be yourself!
Work on customer service
73% of consumers love a brand because of helpful customer service, so make sure you’re offering friendly and helpful service every chance you get.
13% of consumers would pay 31-50% more for your products or services if they were under the impression that your business is making a positive impact on the world, so consider incorporating social responsibility into your brand. Just remember to go all in, or don’t do it all: having a message that doesn’t align with your actions can spell disaster for your brand perception.
73% of people prefer brands that personalize the shopping experience, so try sending out personalized emails with deals tailored to your customers.
Color yourself successful
Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%, so brush up on what colors evoke which emotions. Here’s a fun fact: a third of the logos of the top 100 companies in the world feature the color blue!
Consistently presented brands are 3.5 times more likely to enjoy excellent brand visibility than those with an inconsistent brand presentation. Not only that, but presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%, so make sure your product packaging, social media posts, website, and promotional material send a uniform message about your brand identity and its core values.
Use your senses
Visual marketing is very important to brand perception, but don’t forget about other senses, like smell, taste (free samples!), emotional connection (hello, ads that tug at your heart), and even hearing. For example, did you know that music can increase brand favorability by 46%? Might be time for a jingle!
You don’t own your brand’s perception, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t shape it! It’s up to you how you present your business to the world, and with all of the knowledge presented above, you have some excellent tools in your belt to get you noticed in the right way, and to keep your business growing.