Brand perceptions are directly tied to profitability. After all, branding is at the core of how customers interact with your customers. Your company’s brand feeds all other sales and marketing activities.

Your company’s brand is a unique experience associated with a certain product or service. This means the tangible part and the feeling and aesthetic that sets it apart from the rest.

A good example is the difference between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Each of these has a large market share, but they have very different brand identities. Much like Cola or Pepsi, in every category, there is a logo that pops in your head immediately.

When you think of luxury cars, you think of BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc. These companies associated their brand with sub-categories like luxury and quality. How did they do it? It all starts with knowing exactly what you want your brand to be.

The catch is that the public doesn’t see your brand as you do. This is called brand perception.

Brand perception featured image
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What Is Brand Perception?

The way customers perceive your brand is their own opinion of it, regardless of what you believe it to be. Ultimately, it will translate into purchases and profits in the end. This doesn’t eliminate the importance of the company’s vision.

Only through specific marketing campaigns can a company change brand perception. In other words, a good marketer’s job is to align how the public views your products with your vision.

External events, scandals or reputational damage might also undermine your brand.

A CEO of a travel agency, for example, had an idea of creating travel packages for young backpackers. An online survey revealed that most people choose this agency because of its cheap prices.

This is a problem for the company since it’s now perceived as low quality. Many potential high-paying customers would never consider this agency when travelling. The company has now been associated with cheapness.

Does this mean the company is doomed?

Knowing the exact gap between the brand’s potential and how it’s perceived is the first step to change. Before going over the rest of the steps, knowing a few things is important.

brand perception stats
There are many facets to brand perception. Image credit: Oberlo

What is Brand Recollection?

Imagine shopping at the supermarket with a list of general products like cereal or juice. But still, once you read certain items, a brand name pops up in your head. This is what we call brand recall.

Your brand’s ability to be remembered within a given category or class. Like Coke in the soda world or Nike in the sports industry. Having a good brand recall means your brand is inseparable from the product category.

This means your product is a first choice to many people and gives you a huge edge over the competition.

Having a good brand recall doesn’t necessarily mean better brand perception. You can probably count some instances where you remember products very well, but they are bad.

For instance, most people are aware of McDonald’s, but they might not all have positive associations with its brand.

If your company has a poor or negative brand recall, then there is no doubt it needs a change.

Whether that change is in the marketing strategy or the product itself, it starts with gathering data. Like any profession, a skilled marketer must be able to tell where the problem is to fix it.

How to Measure Brand Perception

There are many ways to measure brand awareness, some more effective than others. However, there is no doubt that no one parameter can give you a conclusive answer as to how well your brand is recalled.

1. Surveys

Although using surveys is not as popular as it once was, they are still worth mentioning. The main problem with surveys is that they can sometimes lack objectivity, as how the questions are asked can influence people’s answers.

Another problem is that sometimes people don’t answer truthfully or without bias or pressure.

However, surveys have an advantage over other data-gathering techniques in offering a sort of open discussion if done correctly. A more effective survey offers open-ended questions, giving the customer space to speak their mind.

Surveys can also be indirect ways of marketing, in the sense that just by asking about a product, you remind them of it.

2. Google Analytics

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If you have a website or blog, it’s possible to measure your brand awareness by checking your website’s traffic with Google Analytics. Direct traffic means the number of people who typed your website URL in their browser, an excellent measure for brand recall.

Organic search is also a good indicator, meaning people are more likely to stumble upon your website on search engines when looking for what they want.

The downside is that using traffic stats only measures the online part of your business. Some companies don’t have a significant online presence but still have good brand awareness.

Choosing the method that can give you the most reliable figures, not the most complimenting ones, is important.

3. Social Media

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Nowadays, there is no surer way to know if you’re popular than social media. You can gather a lot of information by analyzing your social media stats. For example, your brand’s Twitter followers are a direct indicator of your brand awareness.

You can track how often the brand is mentioned on social media; this practice is called social listening. There are many social listening tools out there that can help you gather all kinds of information.

Brand perception social media stats
Most people use social media every day. Image credit: Oberlo

How Brand Perception Forms:

Brand perception refers to how consumers view a brand based on available information and experiences.

Perception forms through factors like:

  • Product/Service Quality – Consistent delivery of value and satisfaction shapes positive perception.
  • Messaging and Positioning – Brand messaging and positioning influence how consumers interpret qualities.
  • Reputation and Reviews – Public chatter and critiques on reviews like Yelp impact perception.
  • Values and Culture – Social values, transparency, and conduct help define brand image.
  • Visual Identity and Design – Logos, names, and aesthetics create an imprint reflecting on perception.

Brand perception accumulates over time but can be actively managed through awareness of these influences.

Tips for Monitoring Brand Perception:

  • Conduct online listening with tools like Mention to track brand mentions and review sites.
  • Analyze consumer surveys, reviews, and feedback for common themes.
  • Audit marketing assets like the website and ads to evaluate alignment with brand identity.
  • Search social media discussions around your brand name and industry keywords.
  • Compare brand health metrics over time and across segments.

Regular monitoring provides insight to maintain positive perception and mitigate emerging issues.

How to Change Brand Perception

The end game here is to get the people on board with what you say is your brand’s true value. As mentioned earlier, the first step is to gather as much information as possible on how the public views your product.

The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to match your brand to their needs.

Measuring your brand awareness is a quantitative feat and indicates how your brand is perceived. The next step would be to interpret this data, i.e. knowing what went wrong.

If we use the travel agency example again, it is clear that the problem was the way the service was advertised. The message wasn’t clear enough. But how do we fix this?
A good method is the “one sentence” approach.

Simply describe what brand perception you want in one simple, clear statement. The next step is to get everyone within the company on board with this statement. Use it as a theme for every advertisement campaign, like a keyword in an article.

Changing the entire marketing tactics can do well to refurbish the brand perception. For example, The travel agency wanted to target the youth, so a guerilla marketing campaign could be more suitable.

Statistics demonstrating the business impact of positive vs. negative brand perception:

  • According to a Dimensional Research survey, 73% of consumers say brand perception influences purchasing decisions.
  • Brands with very positive brand perceptions can charge a price premium of up to 31%, according to data from Nielsen.
  • A social media crisis can cost a brand over $100,000 per hour in lost revenue per Adweek.
  • Per a Keller Fay study, negative publicity diminishes brand reputation for over 70% of consumers.
  • According to Forbes, companies with positive brand perception have a customer retention rate 2.5x higher on average than competitors.
  • According to Harvard Business Review, improving brand perception by just 10% with customers can increase revenue by over 25%.

Positive brand perception provides a significant competitive advantage, while negative events or publicity can inflict long-term damage if not properly addressed.

Project Your Message Through Branding

Believing in your brand is very important, but knowing it is practical. You have to be clear on every detail objectively regarding your brand’s place in the market. Then you can believe it can do better and start planning to improve it.

No one can read your mind; ultimately, it all comes down to how well you can project your vision onto the customers’ minds. Brand perception isn’t set in stone but in the customers’ minds, and thankfully, minds can be changed.

Tips for proactively monitoring online reviews and brand mentions:

  • Use Google Alerts to receive notifications of new reviews and brand name mentions.
  • Check review sites like Yelp, GMB, and industry forums regularly. Respond professionally to negative reviews.
  • Set up social listening with tools like Mention or Hootsuite to track discussions across social platforms.
  • Analyze review sentiment over time to spot negative trends early. Track competitors, too.
  • Search brand names on Google to find reviews, unauthorized uses, or issues needing reputation management.
  • Use PR monitoring tools like Cision to identify news and media influencing brand perception.
  • Track relevant industry hashtags and keywords on social media for real-time feedback.
  • Subscribe to review sites to claim and update business listings with accurate information.
  • Set Google News alerts on your brand and executives to monitor media exposure.

Proactive monitoring gives visibility to amplify positive news and mitigate emerging risks or negative chatter that may impact brand perception.

Crisis management strategies for addressing events that may damage brand perception:

  • Respond quickly – Speed is important. Acknowledge the issue and outline the next steps. Silence worsens perception.
  • Apologize sincerely – Don’t deflect blame externally. Take responsibility and apologize to affected customers.
  • Spotlight resolution plans – Demonstrate how you resolve an issue or improve faulty processes to prevent reoccurrence.
  • Increase transparency – Share findings from an investigation openly rather than hiding details. Regain trust.
  • Offer remedies – provide refunds, credits or other consolation to individual customers affected by a crisis.
  • Adjust messaging – Temporarily shift brand messaging from hard promotion to empathy, values and humanity.
  • Leverage other voices – Have well-known brand advocates and partners vouch for your company amid a crisis.
  • Learn from it – Analyze how the crisis occurred and discover lessons to improve crisis readiness. Review policies and training.

With proactive planning and evidenced accountability, brands can minimize the reputation damage of negative perception-impacting events.

Checklist for auditing and developing a brand perception management plan:

Audit Current Brand Perception

  • Conduct market research on current consumer perceptions
  • Analyze online reviews and brand mentions
  • Assess competitor brand positioning

Set Perception Goals

  • Define target brand personality and attributes
  • Set specific brand consideration and preference goals

Identify Influencing Factors

  • Review all brand touchpoints and experiences
  • Evaluate product/service quality and consistency
  • Examine marketing messaging and positioning

Develop Management Strategies

  • Improve experiences to align with brand promise
  • Create monitoring and response plans for reviews
  • Optimize messaging across channels.

Track Progress

  • Continue monitoring online listening and surveys
  • Measure brand health metrics over time
  • Optimize efforts to maintain positive perception

Having an audit checklist provides a strategic approach to proactively managing brand perception.

Brand perception FAQ

How is brand perception formed?

Brand perception is shaped by product quality, customer service, messaging, values, reviews, crisis response, and overall consumer experiences.

Why is brand perception important?

Positive brand perception builds trust, loyalty, and willingness to recommend. It allows premium pricing and reduces sensitivity to competitors.

How can you monitor brand perception?

Tools like social listening, review analysis, surveys, and online brand mentions can track brand perception and trends.

How can you improve brand perception?

Deliver consistent quality, optimize messaging, respond to feedback, align values to audience, and manage crises effectively.

What damages brand perception?

Negative publicity, unaddressed issues, poor reviews, product problems, misaligned messaging, and crisis mismanagement can harm brand perception.

Brand Perception Conclusion

Brand perception has a major impact on consumer behavior and business performance. By strategically monitoring and managing influencing factors – from product experiences to messaging and crisis response – brands can shape perception positively over time.

Building an authentic identity and maintaining transparency helps connect with consumers on deeper levels to foster affinity and trust. With vigilant brand perception management, companies can build reputations that stand the test of scrutiny.

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