The truth is that it’s all about perception. Perception is everything, not just when it comes to business, but throughout life. By making something look great, you can make it more appealing to people.
Brand perception, both online and offline, makes a big difference to the success of a company. When someone has a choice between two products or services, they’re more likely to choose the one that they recognize and that they perceive as offering them more value. All businesses need to pay attention to how customers perceive their brand if they want to understand their reputation.
What Is Brand Perception?
Brand perception is how a brand is viewed by its customers and target market. It’s the perceived value that they see in the brand, the emotional connection that they have to it, and the loyalty that they have to the brand.
One important thing to remember about brand perception is that the business isn’t always entirely in control of how people perceive their brand. Although there are plenty of things that you can do to sway the perception of your brand, it’s ultimately the customers who get to have the final say in how they see you. However, there are still steps that businesses can take to measure how people perceive their brand and to influence what their customers think of them.
When you think of brand image and perception, you might consider things like the brand’s logo, colors and other visual elements. However, there is more to brand perception than what they look like on the surface. While people do associate many brands with their recognizable logos, from Coca-Cola to Apple, there are also many other ways they can think about a brand. Brand perception also relates to what a brand means to someone and all of the thoughts and emotions that they associate with that brand.
Brand Perception as an Experience
Businesses that are thinking about their brand perception need to take a variety of factors into account. There’s a whole package that makes up the things that influence public opinion of your brand. Everything from your staff and the customer service that you provide to what your website looks like can affect how your brand is perceived. The whole experience that customers receive from your brand influences their thoughts and feelings. That’s why many brands are now focusing on the customer experience that they can offer, particularly when it comes to differentiating themselves from competitors or trying to make it as a brick-and-mortar business.
Customers will consider the behavior of your staff, their telephone manner, the language they use in their emails, and the customer service they provide in various ways. They will also look at the experience they get from any physical locations you might have, from stores and restaurants to offices. Even if your customers don’t enter your offices, they can still make judgements about your brand based on what the buildings look like outside or what they see online. They will pay attention to how they are treated when they visit your locations too. Do the staff go above and beyond to look after them? Or perhaps there are some uniques experiences or practices they will associate with your brand. For example, everyone associates Starbucks with being asked for their name to write on their cup.
Online, brand perception is also important. Your online brand image, including website, advertising and social media, will affect how your brand is perceived. The brand tone of voice on social media, the usability of the website, and even how easy the brand is to find online can all influence public perception. Customer service is often provided online too, including via chat applications and social media, and people pay attention to the standard of service that they receive.
There’s plenty of crossover with offline brand perception too. Some things will be the same or similar no matter which medium is used, such as brand colors, fonts, taglines and brand messaging. A consistent brand image both online and offline is important to help create the right brand perception. If the experience that people receive online doesn’t match what they might see offline, it could mean that they perceive the brand to be untrustworthy or they could be unsure about what they’re going to get.
Why Does Brand Perception Matter?
What difference can brand perception make to the success of a business? Going back to the Starbucks example, people are willing to pay more for a Starbucks coffee than they would be a non-branded or independent coffee. Even when comparing two drinks that are essentially the same, people will choose the Starbucks drink, even though they’re asked to pay more. It’s all related to branding and brand perception. People see Starbucks as a reliable brand that has built a reputation. They know what they’re going to get from Starbucks, and it’s not just the coffee that they go for.
Creating a clever brand and encouraging the right brand perception requires businesses to work on building relationships and their reputation. Brand perception is related to whether people think positively or negatively of a brand, but it’s also about the associations they have with that brand. If they were to take a survey asking them about their thoughts and feelings related to the brand, what would they say? Brand perception can be measured through market research, using techniques such as customer surveys and social media listening to find out what people think and what they’re saying.
Starbucks and a non-branded coffee seller might sell the same cup of coffee, but people have thoughts and feelings about Starbucks that they might not have about another retailer. They might see Starbucks as an established place to go, with a comfortable environment, and a menu that they’re familiar with. On the other hand, some people might perceive Starbucks as being overrated and too expensive. People could be inclined to choose an independent coffee shop that they feel offers them quality and a more intimate experience, or they could turn to McDonalds for a cheap coffee that they feel still delivers on quality.
Familiarity and exposure can be one thing that influences which product or service someone chooses. If they are familiar with a brand and see it as being reliable, they might choose it over a brand they are less familiar with. Brand messaging can make a difference, telling customers what they can expect. Delivering a consistent experience, including a good product and customer service, also influences brand perception, and whether customers will keep coming back.
Businesses need to consider that every interaction that they have with customers can influence their brand perception. There are many ways that a customer might interact with a particular brand in the digital age, especially when people are more informed than ever about their choices. It’s important to think about brand image, messaging and customer communication to ensure the right perceptions and relationships are formed.
Brand perception is related to how people view a brand in a logical way, looking at reviews, searching for information, and more, but it’s also about emotional connections. Businesses should think about the emotions that they inspire in their customers and the experiences that their customers are looking for.