Brand perception is crucial to the success of a business because it sets the tone for future progress. In today’s dynamic world, consumers share their experiences with peers and friends. These experiences are reflected across social media channels and the whole world via the internet. As a result, a single bad experience can often destroy the reputation of a brand.
In fact, positive reviews yield better experiences as consumers are equally likely to spread the information. In other words, it is not an overstatement to suggest that the customer is more knowledgeable and less loyal to the brand than in previous generations.
While the internet has made a lot of things easier, it has also made consumers more powerful by providing limitless options to enhance their buying experience. If they are not satisfied with a brand, they are likely to switch to other brands due to the variety of choices available to them. Switching is easier because everyone has access to different brands via a handheld device. They can also learn what other customers experiences with those brands have been.
Under these circumstances, brand perception has gained immense importance compared to the previous few decades. Now, entrepreneurs are not only focusing on maintaining the brand but they are eager to find ways to build a unique brand identity.
To succeed in this dynamic environment, companies need to understand the basics of brand perception in the internet age. In addition, businesses should start using a variety of tools to help them monitor the progress of their brands.
Basics of Brand Perception
Everyone has their own view of brand identity. Accordingly, the definition of a brand perception also varies across textbooks and the Internet. However, all of the different variations try to explain three things, which include:
The first step to creating brand awareness is an attractive tagline or a slogan that can define the product in a few words. Often, startups ignore the importance of what their company says about itself.
Always remember that generating awareness is fundamental to attract consumers who have never heard of your brand. To attract these customers, you should have a catchy headline, slogan or a tagline, which is able to explain your business or USP, unique selling point, in an instant. If the customer thinks that you’re different, they are likely to check you out, instantly.
Secondly, brand perception is created by customer experiences. As suggested previously, the positive interaction of a customer will make them spread good words enabling the brand to get exposure outside their industry.
Lastly, there are thousands of potential customers who flock to the Internet just to review the rating of a brand before making a buying decision. Irrespective of what you think about online reviews, they are fundamental to brand success. A lot of companies hire dedicated workers who keep an eye on online reviews to get a useful insight into brand performance.
The Truth about Brand Perception
In the old days, it was difficult to judge brand perception due to the limited amount of research and data available to business owners. These limitations made companies rely on their intuition to make decisions about their brand perception.
After talking to a customer and helping them solve the problem, brand managers thought that they’ve done their job. The limited interaction also meant that companies often inflated their brand perception thinking that they are doing a great job when they weren’t even close to the figures they had in mind.
Recent research by Brain and Company revealed that nearly 80% of companies thought that they are generating positive brand awareness by offering great services. In reality, only 8% of customers agreed with their viewpoint. Such differences in perception are alarming considering that we are living in a digital age where experiences (good or bad) often spread like a wildfire.
Why Branding Matters – Statistics
The Internet and advanced communication channels are changing the way consumers perceive a brand. You can shred your old marketing handbooks because modern research portrays a different type of brand perception. Take a look at the following statistics:
Businesses can increase brand awareness by using consistent color patterns on their websites. In fact, signature colors boost awareness by 80%. It is one of the reasons why almost one-third of the top 100 brands in the world use the color blue in their logos and websites.
You can easily increase brand awareness by creating transparent and authentic content that doesn’t hide anything from consumers. According to statistics, 94% of consumers suggest that full transparency will make them loyal to a brand.
The authenticity of content is also important for increasing customer loyalty. Accordingly, 80% of consumers suggest that authentic content will promote them to follow a brand. Hence, you want to make sure that you are honest about what you claim and give credit to others, wherever it’s due.
Blogging is one of the most effective methods to generate positive brand perception. Understanding its worth, Google indexes 434% more blog content compared to website content. Blogging also generates 67% more leads due to the ability of a consumer to comment and get a response from the corporate blogger.
Social media has become an intrinsic part of the Millennial generation, who use it to gather information about brands. Almost 62% of the younger generation believes that online content is the only source of information about a brand. Therefore, it’s vital to use social media as a source of positive exposure and increased customer interaction.
Ignoring social media means that you’re ignoring your brand performance because there are more than 2.1 Million negative reviews posted on social media websites, on a daily basis. As social media makes it easier to spread information, the snowball effect can be devastating for any business.
Generating brand awareness by online sponsored ads may not be conducive to brand development. Almost nine out of ten individuals believe that sponsored ads negatively interfere with their browsing experience.
Self-promotion using online ads is increasingly causing headaches for brand managers because 45% of consumers are prone to “un-follow” a brand if the social website is dominated by self-promotion. In fact, online ads were never a great idea as 80% of consumers completely ignore such ads.
Monitoring Your Brand Performance
Monitoring brand perception is a part of a successful brand perception strategy. There are various free tools that can prove immensely useful in handling brand performance.
Google Alerts is the most widely known tool. It makes it easier to get instant notification whenever your brand is mentioned on the Internet. You can sign for Google Alerts telling it what you are looking for.
For instance, it can track a company’s name, specific products, and reviews. Using the keyword option, it even tracks certain keywords related to your business. Signing up for Google Alerts means keeping your hand on the pulse of your brand identity.
Online reviews on websites such as Tripadvisor, Yelp, and TrustPilot are an important source of information for consumers. More than 90% of consumers, aged between 18 and 34, consult reviews before making a buying decision.
The trend is similar across the B2B segment as more than 92% of businesses trust online reviews to make a decision. Hence, it’s important to consistently review your business identity on these online portals, which are paramount to your survival in the long-run.
Respond to Social Media and Reviews
Online reviews and social media posts only tell a part of the story. Mostly, these stories are told from the perspective of the consumer without giving any credit to the efforts of a business.
Business managers have started to fight back by responding to reviews and social media mentions describing their viewpoints. To increase positive brand perception, they are also proactive in acknowledging positive reviews, which leaves a great impression on other readers.
It’s common for customers to scan your social media mentions and reviews to get a better understanding of the brand. Responding to online posts is easier than recovering from negative publicity.
Using traditional survey methods is equally important to the survival of a business. When surveying, try to provide privacy to consumers, which will make them eager to participate in the survey.
Net Promoter Score is another viable method to track customer perception. It’s a great way of evaluating how and why customers are attracted to your brand, and what makes them detract from the brand.
Overall, it’s imperative to realize that your brand perception matters because it can generate a lot of positive publicity for the company.
As consumers get easier access to alternate channels, customer loyalty is also decreasing. Consequently, brand perception has become one of the most vital aspects of the future economy. Social media has even made it easier to spread inaccurate information about the brand. Unfortunately, most consumers trust and share information without verifying it.
These changes are reflective of a new age of brand development, which requires us to be more vigilant regarding brand management.