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What Is Brand Perception? How to Measure It and 4 Examples

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What Is Brand Perception? How to Measure It and 4 Examples

If you take a second to think about your shopping habits, you’ll probably realize that a majority of the products you buy are influenced by brand perception. You’re not the only one — 77% of B2C consumers make purchasing decisions based solely on the brand name.

Brand perception, or the thoughts and feelings associated with a company, impacts why people wear a certain brand of clothing or pick one pasta sauce over another at the grocery store. Once consumers adopt an attitude about a brand, it’s tough to change. That’s why brands work hard to create positive associations in people’s minds, rather than negative or neutral perceptions.

When you know how people perceive your brand, it’s easier to shape its reputation, help consumers understand what sets it apart, and develop brand equity. You do this by measuring brand perception and tracking customer sentiment over time.

But before diving into the metrics, it’s important to understand what creates brand perception and how it informs company and consumer decision-making.

What is brand perception?

Brand perception is the sum of a consumer’s feelings, experiences, and thoughts about a product or service. It’s what people believe a brand represents, rather than what a brand says it represents.

Although brand perception is a mental association, it plays an essential role in creating emotional connections with consumers. People consider their attitude toward brands when choosing between competing products. They read reviews, chat with customer support, compare options with friends, or sign up for a free trial. All of these touchpoints affect brand perception and impact a company’s success.

If consumers think highly of a brand, they become more loyal to it. Consider how this dynamic plays out in everyday life. People get in meme wars over Apple versus Android products. A person who wears Nike shoes usually won’t be caught in Adidas kicks. And you probably won’t find Coca-Cola and Pepsi in the same fridge.

Companies that understand brand perception use this information to develop brand equity. While brand perception can be narrowed down to what one customer thinks about your brand, brand equity is the combination of people’s perceptions, experiences, and opinions that creates your reputation. A company with high brand equity attracts loyal customers who pick your product or service when given the choice between competitors.

When a customer is loyal to a brand, 86% will recommend it to friends or family and 66% are likely to write a positive review. Those actions drive company growth and improve brand perception, which only helps your business.

Although it may seem that brand perception is out of your hands, you can take steps to measure it and improve people’s attitudes.

How to Measure Brand Perception

Data can help you understand how consumers, employees, stakeholders, and competitors perceive your brand. Since brand perception is a combination of reviews, reputation, experience, functionality, advertising, social engagement, and customer use, you should gather metrics from multiple sources.

Here’s how to measure brand perception:

  • Conduct brand perception surveys to learn what people think of your business and how it stacks up against competitors. Ask questions that touch on emotional, cognitive, and action-oriented factors, such as these examples from Qualtrics:
    • When you think of [the brand], what comes to mind first?
    • Which of the following words describe [the brand]?
    • What kind of feelings do you experience when you think of [the brand]?
    • How would you describe your level of emotional attachment to [the brand]?
    • How would you describe [the brand] to a friend?
    • How would you describe your last experience with [the brand]?
    • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend [the brand] to a friend or colleague?
  • Track online mentions using social listening tools or Google alerts. You want to monitor social media comments, online reviews, relevant hashtags, forums (i.e. Reddit and Quora), and news mentions. As the brand grows, so will this dataset. I recommend creating a system to handle negative mentions as soon as possible and stay on top of talk about your brand, products, and marketing campaigns.
  • Do a brand audit to evaluate how your brand perception compares to competitors’. This should include research on primary and secondary target audiences, a competitive analysis of your products or services, a thorough evaluation of your communications strategy, and a deep dive into your brand positioning. (I recommend referencing this brand audit guide from Visme).
  • Collect data from customers at each point of the buyer’s journey. This can include how buyers research information, evaluate products, compare between competitors, interact with customer support, make a purchase decision, onboard, and interact with the brand post-purchase.

Once you have enough data to measure brand perception, you can evaluate if consumer sentiment aligns with your brand identity. If so, stay the course. If not, you can learn how to improve consumer brand perception.

Brand Perception Examples

From PR campaigns to packaging, brand perception is influenced by every touchpoint people have with a company. The following brand perception examples show how businesses can shape consumer sentiments so the inner identity matches the outer image.

1. Snickers

Candy lovers can choose between dozens of chocolate-covered bars, so what makes someone grab a Snickers instead of a Kit Kat? Yes, it may be taste or preference, but the brand has designed clever campaigns to make people believe that eating Snickers will transform you from hangry and unfocused to sharp and satisfied.

2. Orangetheory

You may have driven past one of these orange-hued workout studios on your daily commute or taken an online class during the pandemic. And while fitness crazes come and go, Orangetheory has carved out a brand perception that’s kept the company going strong since 2010. The community-oriented classes make it the right fit for people looking to connect and compete with neighbors while working up a sweat. It’s more casual than Crossfit but kicks up the intensity compared to group classes at national gyms, like Planet Fitness and LA Fitness.Orange Theory Fitness Brand Perception

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3. Zoom

An innovative and beloved video platform at the start of the pandemic, Zoom quickly became the cause of remote workers’ burnout. People loved how it kept them connected to teams, families, and friends.

But the constant connection led to “Zoom fatigue,” an informal diagnosis that’s been covered by Healthline, Stanford, the New York Times, and more. While companies still rely on Zoom for virtual meetings, the brand has had to adjust from its original “Video conferencing that doesn’t suck” vibe to “How the world connects” as consumers shifted their perceptions.

Zoom Fatigue - an example of brand perception

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4. Patagonia

The outdoor gear brand became famous for its innovative clothing and focus on responsible manufacturing, but a change in consumer perception caused the company to double down on its sustainability-driven identity.

In the early 2010s, people began referring to the company as Patagucci — a satirical name that poked fun at the brand’s high prices and its adoption among high-income workers. To sway consumers from placing Patagonia in the fast-fashion category, the company has launched a number of sustainability-focused initiatives, like its Worn Wear line of recycled clothing.

 

Knowing what people think of your brand is an important part of developing a successful business. It gives you the information you need to shape your brand identity, create impactful marketing campaigns, and make changes when consumer perception shifts.

Now that you know how to measure brand perception, you can use it as a tool to make strategic brand decisions and drive your company forward.

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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