In a previous post we introduced two key questions brands are (or should be) asking themselves.
- Have consumers heard of our brand? – Click Here For Part 1: Brand Awareness
- What do consumers think about our brand?
We already discussed the importance of addressing these two research questions separately in our first post, but it’s worth mentioning again. Understandings how customers learn about your brand and what they think about your brand are closely related concepts, but it’s wise to conduct two separate research studies for answers.
Avoid the common pitfall of thinking you’re maximizing time and resources by merging these two questions into one study. Taking this approach seems to make sense during the planning phase, but the flaws in logic arise during the analytics phase and by that time it’s too late. By addressing two topics at the same time, respondent feedback is too high-level or vague to yield actionable insights. Instead you’re left with a need for more detail because neither of the initial research questions was fully answered.
This second installment of our two-part blog post will further clarify some of the key conceptual differences between Brand Awareness and Brand Perception. It will also discuss research details for Brand Perception with hopes of providing a solid jumping-off point for future research projects.
Let’s move on to the second question:
WHAT DO CUSTOMERS THINK ABOUT OUR BRAND?
BRAND PERCEPTION STUDY
Once a customer becomes aware of your brand they immediately start to form their opinion of your brand; this is what we call Brand Perception. It’s a clear understanding of how a consumer or the overall market perceives your brand. The name is pretty self-explanatory.
Things become more complex when we dissect the different facets and variables contributing to a consumer’s perception of your brand. Consider the messaging a consumer receives, the manner and timing of which they are exposed to content, the tone and style of delivery, brand colors and imagery, outside influences such as word of mouth or peer reviews, etc. All of these factors, and more, contribute to a consumer’s perception of your brand.
Marketing teams work hard to develop and deliver unique brand messaging. Sales teams work hard to reinforce this brand messaging while moving consumers to conversion through the customer life cycle. A cohesive strategy is needed to ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction, and close attention must be paid to confirm things are moving forward as planned.
Even with all this internal planning, effort and execution, the question still remains… “What do customers think about our brand?”
Is the intended brand message being received? Are marketing efforts building a positive, competitive presence within the marketplace? How does your brand stack up against the growing list of competitors? What adjectives would a consumer use to describe your brand? Are consumers seeing a clear picture of your brand considering your sales and marketing objectives?
By answering these types of specific questions, you’re able to benchmark performance and assess the different moving pieces within the sales and marketing teams. If Brand Perception Study results indicate there’s a miscommunication or misperception by consumers, then adjustments can be made without having to start from scratch. If consumer feedback results differ from expectations, there might be an opportunity to build upon unintended or unknown brand characteristics that are having a positive impact. There are a countless possible outcomes that all require the same first step; ask consumers what they think about your brand.
BRAND PERCEPTION RECAP:
It’s easy to become complacent in regards to brand identity or image building. Those closest to the brand often have the most experience and while this is certainly an asset it can also create “blind spots” that slow progress or may cause long-term damage. Successful brands may keep successful marketing and messaging the same over time. However it’s important to remember that the marketplace changes, consumers change, and the way your brand is perceived depends on who is looking.
Conducting a Brand Perception Study will definitively answer questions, confirm or deny theories, and establish benchmarks for ongoing performance tracking. Competitive markets are continually changing so understanding what consumers think and how they see your brand is necessary to stay relevant.
If you’d like to chat further about Brand Perception research or are ready to launch a study of your own, give us a shout!