Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten to do something really important? Like perhaps you left your oven on or forgot to lock your front door…
Not to worry, we’re fairly sure you locked your door this morning — but did you remember to track brand perception? No? That’s okay, we’re here to help.
To be fair, brand perception is something a lot of brand managers forget about — but, it can lead to quite a few problems. After all, if you’re not tracking brand perception, how can you be sure that your target audiences are viewing your brand the way you want them to?
Well, we’ve got all the answers you’ll need here. So, keep reading to better understand what brand perception is and how tracking it will bring value to your company.
What Exactly Is Brand Perception?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of tracking and measuring brand perception, let’s discuss the basics of what it is.
Essentially, brand perception is the way in which your target audience views and thinks of your brand. This includes everything from how aware they are of your brand to the kinds of associations they have.
Remember, consumers’ image of your company will consist of a few different factors — which include (but are not limited to) their first-hand experiences with your brand, opinions from other consumers, and your overall brand’s reputation.
It’s this perception that makes your brand more than just a company — it’s what can turn it into something that consumers want to actively engage with. And the more positive this perception is, the more likely it is that consumers will interact with your brand.
To get the full picture of your brand’s perception, there are a few important KPIs to track:
Brand Awareness: This KPI measures what share of consumers are aware of your brand. Brand awareness is important because it’s the first step in one’s customer journey. After all, if consumers don’t know your brand, how can they be expected to perceive it one way or another?
Brand Associations: This KPI measures the characteristics and traits that consumers associate with your brand — like whether your brand is perceived as affordable, innovative, or sustainable. By helping customers remember your brand, brand association have a major influence on brand perception.
Brand Consideration: This KPI examines whether consumers would consider purchasing from a brand they’re aware of. While a high degree of awareness and desirable associations are great, they don’t necessarily mean consumers will make a purchase. It’s brand consideration that indicates how many potential customers you actually have. Thus, positive brand perception often goes hand-in-hand with higher brand consideration.
Brand Preference: This KPI reflects consumers' desire to use a particular company's products or services — regardless of equally priced and/or equally-available alternatives. Brand preference is an important metric because it provides an indicator of your customers' loyalty, the success of your marketing tactics, and the strength of your brand. Plus, it’s another important piece of your brand perception — consumers tend to prefer brands that they perceive more favorably.
The Best Ways to Track Brand Perception
When it comes to tracking brand perception, there are a handful of methods you can try, but it’s up to you to choose the approach that best fits your brand’s current and developing needs.
We’ll discuss the top four here.
DIY Customer Surveys: This method is a straightforward, low-cost way to track general brand performance via customer feedback. With the right questions and a large enough sample size, DIY brand perception surveys allow brand managers to gather relatively insightful data. However, keep in mind that many brand managers aren’t fully equipped to translate brand goals into insightful survey questions. Plus, with arguably less control over audience segmentation and question customization, the data may not be as nuanced as one would like.
Social Media: This is another simple way to see what consumers are saying about your brand on social media platforms. Have a look around the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook by searching for your brand name or use a free social listening tool to track online mentions, analyze consumer perception, and even respond to conversations. Who knows what you might uncover!
Website Traffic: This method is fairly basic, but it never hurts to take a deep dive into your website traffic to help monitor your brand perception. For example, if there’s a sudden dip in traffic, it could be a sign that your brand reputation has taken a hit. You’d be smart to investigate.
Brand Tracking Software: When looking to track brand perception, the data that advanced brand tracking software supplies is invaluable. Why? Because it allows you to provide solid data for an abstract activity, track specific target audiences and vital KPIs, and monitor your competitors' brand perception. After all — it’s great to know how consumers perceive your brand alone, but it’s even better to know how they perceive it alongside your top rivals.
Why Does Brand Perception Matter in 2022?
There are many ways in which positive brand perception can improve your overall brand performance and help your company grow. Let’s take a look at some of the areas where brand perception can have the biggest impact.
1. An Improved Customer Experience
To build a positive customer experience, you need to first understand how customers perceive your brand. That’s where brand perception data comes in. When it comes to setting the tone of your relationship with consumers, brand perception data is incredibly helpful. Because once you’re aware of how they think of your brand, you can work on actively improving said relationships to provide an even better customer experience going forward.
And by improving your customer experience, you’ll also impact the bottom line. According to TechJury, there is an “80% increase in revenue for businesses that focus on improving customer experience.” That’s pretty major.
Once you start to track your brand perception — via important KPIs like brand associations and consideration — you’ll understand exactly what customers want from you. Whether it’s improved UX on your website, a more streamlined customer journey, or increased B2B content, you’ll be able to meet — or even exceed — their expectations.
After all, customer satisfaction plays a huge role in long-term brand success.
2. An Increase in Brand Loyalty
Did you know that 60% of customers will refer a friend or family member to brands they love? It may sound too good to be true, but it’s a cold, hard fact.
And do you know what leads to increased brand loyalty? Brand strategies that take into account consumers’ perception and use it to improve upon the brand experience.
Remember, when you’re aware of how your target audiences perceive your brand — what they like or dislike about it, what they want and need from it — you’re in a much better position to enact campaigns and strategies that will bolster brand loyalty. Double down on aspects they like and eliminate those they don’t — you’re sure to see a positive impact.
Pro Tip: Positive that happy customers are using word of mouth to tell others about your brand? Make it even easier for them by setting up a referral program. Such programs are a brilliant way to make customers feel appreciated and encourage even more to try your brand — especially if there’s a reward element included.
However, if you discover that your brand perception is largely negative, you’ll need to take a slightly different approach. Instead of encouraging referrals straight away, it’s far more important that you address any issues and work on changing consumers’ perceptions.
3. Reduced Assumptions
It’s human nature to make assumptions — and we’ve all been guilty of it now and again.
But in this case, brand managers often just assume that they already know how consumers perceive their brand. However, just because it’s easy to assume, it doesn’t mean you should.
More often than not, you’ll be slightly off the mark — which could cost you big in the long run. Because when setting up brand and marketing strategies, we’ve found that it’s best to rely on data, not gut feelings.
One way to combat assumptions is to use a brand tracking tool that guarantees accuracy and allows access to consumers’ thoughts and opinions. When you have real customer data at your fingertips — everything from brand consideration to preference — you won’t need to make assumptions ever again. Instead, you’ll be able to utilize reliable, nuanced data to make smarter, more informed marketing decisions.
4. Increased Target Audience Knowledge
It’s one thing to know what consumers are saying about your brand, but it’s another to really understand your target audiences.
By analyzing and delving deeply into your brand perception data, you’ll get a much better idea of why they think about your brand a certain way — be it positive or negative.
With brand tracking software, you can set up customized audience segmentation — which allows you to track specific characteristics for different target audiences. You can then use your brand perception data to fine-tune your campaigns and improve your customer journey.
After all, when you know what consumers' expectations and perceptions are, you can more easily tailor your brand experience to their exact specifications.
Now that you’re aware of why it’s important to track your brand’s perception — as well as a handful of methods to do so — it’s time to hop to it!
Remember, with the knowledge that brand perception data provides, you’ll be able to better communicate with your target audience, improve brand equity, and bolster brand loyalty. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us.
Updated by: Cory Schröder on 18.02.22