What Are Brand Perceptions and How Can You Measure Them?

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brand perception measurement

This blog post covers the basics of brand perception - including what brand perceptions are, why perceptions are important, and ways you can measure perceptions for your brand. Brand perception can dramatically shift the performance of your business, making it an important metric to measure, understand, and act on.

 


 

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What are brand perceptions

Brand perceptions are, as the name aptly implies, the ways consumers perceive your brand - almost like brand reputation. It’s a culmination of a lot of different consumer touch points - such as as customer service and customer experience, style and effectiveness of brand advertising, product/service quality, or consumers’ user experience. While separate metrics, brand equity and brand identity can also play into brand perception.

 

Brand perceptions are essentially what create your brand image; it’s what consumers think about your brand. Do they think about it as a high-quality, trustworthy brand? An inconsistent brand? A cheap or expensive brand? A brand that aligns with their own values? 

 

Think of your favorite brands. Why do you like them and keep going back to them? It’s likely because you have positive perceptions of them for any number of reasons. This makes you an ideal customer - one that brands know will keep coming back and will likely spread positive word-of-mouth about your brand to others.
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Why are brand perceptions important? 

Brand perceptions are important because they can heavily influence consumer behavior and purchase decisions. As mentioned above, consumers likely won’t buy from a brand they have poor perceptions of. Meanwhile, positive brand perceptions can encourage increased sales and brand loyalty over time.

Aside from the obvious relation between brand perception and sales, here are some other way a solid brand perception strategy can influence consumer behavior:

  1. Brand loyalty: Positive brand perceptions drive brand loyalty over time. When consumers have a favorable perception of a brand, they are more likely to develop an emotional connection with it and become repeat customers. Loyal customers often translate into long-term profitability for the business.

  2. Word-of-mouth marketing: Satisfied brand customers who have positive perceptions are more likely to recommend that brand to others through word-of-mouth marketing. Positive word-of-mouth mentions can have a significant impact on sales, as it creates social proof and builds trust among potential new customers. You van easily measure your word-of-mouth likelihood using a Net Promoter Score (NPS).

  3. Price sensitivity: Consumers with positive brand perceptions are often less price-sensitive. They are willing to pay a premium for products from brands they know and trust, and from brands they perceive as offering superior quality. Lower price sensitivity means higher profit margins for brands.


Overall, brand perception is a critical factor that businesses need to measure and manage. By building a strong, positive brand perception, businesses can create a competitive advantage, increase sales among new and repeat customers, and foster long-term customer loyalty.

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How to measure brand perception 

Brands always have the power to shift brand perceptions, but first they need to know where those perceptions currently stand. Measuring brand perception can be done through surveys, by reading online reviews, or asking for feedback in-store. Below outlines the steps a brand might take when using one of these approach to measure brand perception.

Understanding brand perceptions is crucial for businesses to evaluate consumer attitudes, identify strengths and weaknesses, and make informed decisions. Here's an expanded exploration of the methods mentioned above, along with some additional insights:

Brand perception survey metrics: 

Brand perception surveys, or surveys that include brand perception metrics, are a great way to quantitatively measure how consumers are feeling about your brand.

  • Methodology:
    Brand perception research by means of a survey is one of the most straightforward ways of capturing feedback around your brand. They can be conducted online (most commonly) or sent via email. Within these surveys, brands can ask an audience closed or open-ended questions that paint a picture of their current perception. One example of a quantitative brand perception question would be (‘How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? This brand is innovative.’) with a scale from 1 - strongly disagree to 5 strongly agree. Other survey questions could be yes/no questions, rating scale questions, or open-ended questions for detailed feedback (i.e. “What emotions or feelings come to mind when you think of this brand?).

  • Benefits:
    Brand perception surveys are quick, descriptive, and allow for numerical comparison (i.e. how your brand is trending over time or how it stacks up against competitors - if competitors are included in the survey). It’s a direct way of hearing from respondents that represent your target market (or are already your true customers!)

    Along with giving an idea of where you stack up, brand perception surveys also identify areas where you might want to focus on improvement.

  • Drawbacks:

    As with any quantitative survey, brand perception survey responses rate can be low if you’re trying to reach a niche audience (aka if your customer base is rather unique). There’s also the chance of respondent fatigue if your brand perception survey gets too long - which is something to keep in mind when designing it. 

Qualitative focus groups:

In addition (or in place of) quantitative surveys, brands can gather customer perceptions of their brand through qualitative focus groups.

  • Methodology:
    This would entail hosting an in-person or online video meeting where consumers provide their in-depth feedback about a brand based on moderator prompts. Prompts might be something like ‘What do you think about this brand’s marketing strategies?’ or ‘Tell me what comes to mind when you hear this brand name.” 

  • Benefits:
    Qualitative feedback is often much more detailed than quantitative metrics - and can be used as a standalone resource or in addition to a quantitative survey. It allows a brand to use consumer feedback as a jumping off point for further discussions and to extract even more detailed information than quantitative surveys are typically able to do. 

  • Drawbacks:

    Qualitative research can be more time-consuming (to gather the right participants, schedule a time for a session, and taking the time to gather the actual feedback). Not to mention, it also typically takes longer to analyze than numerical data. Additionally, qualitative research respondents come at a higher cost than quantitative panel participants, which is something to consider if you're mindful of your budget.  

 

Online Reviews:

Online reviews are a free source of information surrounding your brand’s perception:

  • Methodology:
    To leverage online reviews as a means of understanding brand perception, start with the general review sites/forums like Google reviews or Trustpilot. Then, get more specific by using review sites in your respective category (i.e. CNET in the tech space, Yelp in the restaurant/entertainment space, or TripAdvisor in the travel/tourism space). Social media is also a great resource for reviews. Consumers are quick to voice their opinions on social media when they feel they aren’t getting appropriate customer service. Others will chime in with their similar or opposing experiences - creating an authentic conversation from consumers' own voices related to your brand’s perception.

    Wherever you gather reviews, analyze them using a sentiment analysis tool or group them together based on other qualities in order to easily summarize feedback.

  • Benefits:

    Not only are online reviews free, they’re also available in real-time. You can instantly see when someone mentions your brand online, writes a review, or comments on one of your brand’s social media posts. It also creates the opportunity to directly engage with customers and respond to their positive or negative brand perception feedback.

  • Drawbacks:

    To be comprehensive in monitoring online reviews, you need to take some time to set up a proper social media monitoring campaign or social listening tool that informs you when your brand comes up on an online review site.

    There’s also some risk in directly engaging with customer feedback on public sites or social media platforms, as there’s always a chance someone won’t be happy with how you responded. It can be a very time-consuming venture if your goal is to respond to as many comments or reviews as possible.

    Lastly, it’s becoming harder and harder to tell what’s real and what’s fake online. You never know if negative brand feedback is coming from a real customer or an online bot/spam account. These fake accounts can dramatically skew reviews, making it seem like you have a bigger brand perception issue than you actually do. Review online activity with caution.

In-Store Feedback:

In-store feedback is a great way to capture real-time perceptions of your brand, as your consumers are freshly-engaged with it.

  • Methodology:

    For brands that have their own brick & mortar locations, implement feedback collection methods such as touchpad surveys at checkout, comment cards, or face-to-face conversations with customers. You can also merge this with online survey collection by including a QR code for survey feedback on a printed store receipt.

    In-store feedback is helpful to gain feedback on brand perception elements such as brand store ambiance, customer service, product quality, in-store marketing efforts, and overall brand shopping experience. Analyze the feedback to identify areas for improvement and enhance the in-store experience.

  • Benefits:

    Gathering feedback from customers as they’re making a purchase (or in the minutes that follow) provides immediate and contextual insights into customer experiences. Not only will they be thinking about the actual product or service, but also how they felt throughout the entire shopper journey - from entering the store, shopping, and checking out. It also allows for direct engagement with customers and the opportunity to address concerns or gather more information on the spot.

  • Drawbacks:

    Collecting in-store feedback can be challenging due to time constraints and customer reluctance to provide feedback. Many shoppers don’t want to be bothered, or they’re in a rush to get going. It’s much less flexible than something like an online survey which can be taken on their own time, at their leisure. In-store feedback is also less reliable, as you may have gotten feedback from someone that’s not a typical shopper representative of your target audience, or someone who’s  having a particularly bad/negative day. When they’re confronted in person, they’re more likely to carry over those negative feelings than if they had the option to take an online survey at a later time. There's also typically no incentive for in-store feedback (as there is for quant/qual feedback) which could make your data less reliable. 

    As such, in-store feedback is probably best used to support other research initiatives rather than being your sole source of information. 

 

Using or combining any number of these methods above can create a detailed understanding of your brand perception so you can make informed decisions, enhance customer experience, and drive long-term growth.
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How to automate brand perception research

quantilope automates brand perception research to make it quick and easy to capture metrics that you can act on. Throughout the entire end-to-end process, leverage automation and quantilope’s AI co-pilot, quinn, to get more done faster.

 

Brand perception survey setup

Setting up your quantilope brand perception survey is as simple as a drag & drop of pre-programmed questions. These questions include brand satisfaction, brand image, brand preference, brand loyalty, and even a direct brand perception question. Every pre-programmed question is fully customizable (even standard demographic questions), along with the option to draft your own custom questions from scratch. For those who want an even bigger head start on their survey creation process, they can choose from quantilope’s ready-made library of survey templates.

If using an advanced method, quantilope automatically applies the proper method design or instructs you to do so, so you never miss a key step to be able to accurately leverage advanced insights. This makes even some of the most complex advanced methods like Choice-Based Conjoint analysis easily accessible to researchers of any skill level.

Brand perception analysis

After you set up your survey, launch it, and close fieldwork, you're ready to begin your brand perception analysis. quantilope automatically charts your brand perception data, giving you the option to flip between chart types and customize with your own brand colors, font sizes, images, etc. You can even begin building charts long before fieldwork wraps up, with new data automatically populating existing charts as it’s available.

Stuck on the chart takeaway? Leverage quantilope’s AI co-pilot, quinn, by clicking ‘Hey quinn, suggest a chart title and description’. This makes it easy to pull out the most actionable, key findings from even the most complex or detailed charts.

Brand perception reporting

When it comes to reporting, quantilope’s dashboards automatically update existing charts as new data is available, and automatically applies significance testing based on your desired significance level.

Based on your data, quinn creates a comprehensive dashboard summary of key findings that a stakeholder can easily glance at for a quick understanding of brand perception. quinn even considers your dashboard’s style and tone of voice to apply those same elements in your takeaway for minimal editing (though it’s fully customizable if you wish to do so).

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How to use insights to improve or change brand perceptions   

Brand perception feedback can improve everything from individual marketing campaigns to overall brand strategy. Using brand feedback to drive strategic decisions ensures your brand appeals to consumer perceptions and what they want/expect from you. This could mean continuing with your current approach if brand perceptions are strong/favorable, or shifting in a new direction if perceptions come back negative.

For example, if your brand perception survey (or other form of feedback) shows that consumers consider your brand cheap and poor quality, you might want to invest in product innovation to develop better products consumers will be excited about. Or, say consumers perceive your brand as serious and corporate-like, when really you want to be fun and engaging; you might build modernized, casual language into future messaging to shift those perceptions.

Whether good or bad, brand perceptions should be integral in everything you do. They should drive the direction of advertising/messaging, be used to inspire new, innovative products, and shape a customer service approach. These are real voices that reflect how consumers feel about your brand - one of the most valuable resources you can have as a business.

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Examples of brands that have changed or improved brand perception    

Brand perceptions can change over time - and in fact they often do! Consider the below brand perception examples of companies that have drastically (or gradually) changed over the years.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Consider the apparel brand, Abercrombie & Fitch. This started as a fashion brand that appealed to young, affluent consumers. However, in recent years, the brand has shifted to appeal to young adults - essentially ‘growing up’ with its shoppers. The brand traded in its dim lighting, loud music, and heavily fragranced stores for a brighter, cleaner, modernized aesthetic offering neutrals, basics, and even workwear. 

 

Actual apparel aside, the company also went through a major shift before pivoting to new branding. In 2022, the Netflix documentary, White Hot: The Rise & Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch highlighted how the fad fashion brand of the 90s and early 2000s thrived on exclusion before receiving heavy criticism and backlash. The apparel brand now offers inclusive sizing for all body types (including a ‘Curve Love’ line), catering to a wider range of customers than it did originally. 

 

McDonald’s

You no longer can ‘Super Size’ a McDonald’s meal - and for good reason. Similar to the Abercrombie & Fitch documentary aftermath, after the 2004 documentary Super Size Me aired, perceptions of McDonald's quickly turned negative. The documentary’s director and main actor, Morgan Spurlock, gained 25 pounds over the course of a month eating nothing but McDonald’s and opting to ‘Super Size’ his meal anytime he was asked. 

The response to the documentary was widespread criticism - both in the way McDonald’s prepares its food to how it markets its food to kids. The brand responded to this criticism by phasing out Super Sized portions and adding healthier options such as salads, sliced apples, and milk. They even launched an ‘Every Step Counts’ campaign to promote healthy exercise among its customers - including a free pedometer.

While the brand is still very far from being considered ‘healthy’, McDonald’s does deserve some credit for acting on negative brand perception and making changes, rather than ignoring it.

Polaroid

Polaroids are still very much ‘in’ - mainly because this is a brand that has evolved over the years to maintain positive brand perception among all generations.

What started as a no-frills instant camera brand with a variety of models over the course of many decades, has remained a fad among modern-day consumers (even despite highly-advanced smartphone camera technology). This is a great example of a brand who changed its perception from an old-school product to a modern-day camera that offers a nostalgic, vintage look. Newer models even offer Bluetooth connectivity and mobile-app usage.

As described with Polaroid, not all brand perception changes have to be dramatic overhauls. Even small, minor tweaks to your brand over the years can have a lasting impact.

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Measure and change your brand perception with quantilope 

quantilope streamlines your brand perception measurement so that you can make impactful changes quickly. With real-time data monitoring, begin looking at brand perception metrics as soon as fieldwork begins, with new data automatically updating existing charts you’ve built as it’s available.

Run your brand perception study once for a point-in-time understanding, or set up a tracker to measure how brand perceptions are changing over time. Tracking studies are a matter of a few clicks of your mouse to set up and launch new waves, with automatic trending and significance testing applied to existing charts and dashboards. quantilope's brand tracking guide covers how to do so. 

If you’re left staring at your dashboard unsure of next steps, leverage quantilope’s AI co-pilot, quinn, to generate a takeaway that you can use as a guide to manage, maintain, or shift brand perceptions.

Ready to start measuring your brand perception and build a strong brand? Get in touch below!

Get in touch to learn more about brand perceptions!

 

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