Brand perception can make or break a business. It is the image that companies give consumers about their products and values, giving customers a picture to look at, hold on to, and often relate to. Is is the canvas onto which a brand’s character is painted. One wrong stroke of a brush can tarnish years of careful creation, and can go as far as impacting the value of a business’s products as well as the potential revenue they can make.
Despite this, very few take the time to think about a brand’s perception, and companies often underestimate the importance of measuring and changing it. They leave the creation of their brand image up to optimistic marketing tactics and fate. Instead of treating brand perception as an artform with the potential to create a valuable asset, it is overlooked as an uncontrollable quality of a business.
Smart companies take the time to learn the art of brand perception. They paint their own images deliberately and thoughtfully, and benefit immensely from the perception their work creates. This article will go over the art of brand perception; how brand perception works, how to measure it, and how a company can change it to benefit their business goals.
What is Brand Perception Exactly?
Brand perception is the summation of the thoughts, feelings, and overall perception that consumers have about a company. The ideas customers obtain about a company come stem from advertisements, store/website appearance, quality and appearance of products, logo, and interactions with the business and representatives. The amount that customers are aware of these characteristics depends largely on the company’s size, popularity, uniqueness, and marketing strategy.
Why is brand perception so important?
Companies should put a lot of value in their brand perception, because it is a reflection of how their consumer base views them and feels about them and their products. For small companies, building a solid brand perception could be the difference between rapid growth and stagnation. Larger companies should also be hyper-aware of their brand image; they are not immune to their brand perception being negatively affected by competition, poor customer service, and the changing tastes of their customers.
Alll it takes is for one commercial or pop-up ad for a company to impact their own brand perception, whether that be for better or for worse. Younger generations of consumers especially have high standards from the brands they purchase from and are shown to favor businesses with strong, relatable, and ethical characters. They are also less likely to forget disingenuous marketing or poor customer service and are very vocal about it on social media, making brand perception even more vital and fragile for companies than ever before.
Some brands have gone very far in making their brand perception more relatable and less corporate with great success. Wendy’s, a fast food chain, had their Twitter account go viral after a series of funny, edgy and relatable comments, replies, and even a rap album. They even went as far as insulting their competition directly on their advertisements. This seemingly wreckless campaign was actually well-calculated, and was aimed at refining their brand perception and strengthening their image among younger demographics. This was a very bold move, but it paid off for them - their brand perception became a lot stronger with younger consumers, and their following increased drastically. They are a great example on the importance of a company’s image, and how this image both reflects and impacts their consumer base.
How can you measure and/or change brand perception?
Measuring a company’s brand perception can be done easily through observance, surveys, and social media engagement. Using services that track mentions of a company like google alerts will help give a good idea of what the public (and more importantly, customers) are saying about it. Additionally, regularly surveying customers and offering rewards for completing the surveys (discounts, vouchers, etc.) can give a lot of insight into how customers feel about a brand and its products. Lastly, reading and responding to customers on social media is a good way to get more information about their thoughts, praises, and potential concerns regarding a company and/or the products they purchase.
In regards to improving brand perception,there are a few key ways a company can change their image for the better:
Give products more value. Refining a brand can be done primarily by refining the products sold. Making products more unique and gaining a reputation of high-quality products will impact how customers view a company’s brand in a very positive way. For businesses who sell less unique items, this can be done instead by becoming the best offer. Providing better shipping options, promotions, and bundles can easily enhance any company’s brand perception. Amazon, for example, has a better brand perception thanks to their shipping options and often unbeatable prices.
Give your marketing strategy some character. Consumers are continuously showing increased preference towards brands that have personality and a less corporate tone, and they are hyper-aware of marketing tactics that aren’t genuine. For companies, this means that playing safe may not actually be the best choice. Wendy’s thought outside the box and created a social media presence that most companies would consider too inappropriate, but it actually made their brand perception better and gained a lot of loyal customers. Not all companies should start insulting their competitors on Twitter, but they definitely stand to benefit from creating a tone that is more personal and relatable.
Focus on customer service. Interactions with your customers are a huge part of your brand perception. Studies show that customers expect fast and pleasant customer service, and your brand perception will be improved by providing this. For some companies, this means investing in a high-quality chat bot. For others, it could mean hiring a solid team of customer service representatives who go above and beyond for customer satisfaction. Either way, brand perception relies a lot on customer service, so companies looking to improve their brand perception should focus a lot of effort in this area.
A comprehensive vision of one’s brand perception is essential for every retailer. If brand perception is misinterpreted or disregarded, the business is likely to undertake a wrong price positioning and brand strategy. And that’s where software can help.
Competera's Price Index
Each competitor impacts your sales in a different way. An average assortment intersection with other retailers is 35%. Competera’s price tracking software helps retailers to identify real competitors stealing their sales and get a comprehensive vision of how the company’s pricing policy reflects the retailer’s brand positioning. Price index tracking is an easy-to-use tool helping pricing managers to get a full control over the retailer’s positioning on the market.