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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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MARKETING

Martech failure? 50% say loyalty programs don’t offer much value

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Martech failure? 50% say loyalty programs don't offer much value

The goal of martech is to add value for business and customer via personalized experiences which increase brand engagement. Loyalty programs seem like the perfect channel for this. So why is there such a huge gap between customers’ expectations for those programs and what they get?

Half of all US customers say loyalty programs don’t offer much value, according to a report from digital insights firm Incisiv and Punchh, a customer loyalty services provider. This is a real problem, given the huge impact these programs have on customer retention, satisfaction and brand advocacy. Customers who sign up for them engage with that brand 70% more than those who do not. 


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The gaps. So what is it customers want and aren’t getting?

  • 70% prefer to manage loyalty programs via app.
    • 26% Top 150 retailers and restaurant chains have a dedicated loyalty app.
  • 67% expect surprise gifts.
    • 28% Retailers and restaurant chains send gifts, offers or discounts on special occasions
  • 75% prefer instant discounts/redemptions.
    • 16% Retailers and restaurant chains offer instant discount on purchases instead of reward points.
  • 72% expect personalized rewards.
    • 48% Retailers and restaurant chains offer some form of personalization.

Enough with the cards already. It’s 2022 and people have been irritated about physical loyalty cards for decades. In case your own experience isn’t proof enough: 43% of shoppers say physical cards are the biggest obstacles to claiming rewards. And, this shouldn’t be surprising, 57% of shoppers like to engage with loyalty programs on their mobile phones. This means a digital rewards card is the bare minimum if you don’t have an app. 

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Read next: Leaning on loyalty, Chipotle orchestrates engagement across channels

If you do have an app, it should clearly provide more functionality and benefits than a card. The more it does that, the more people are likely to use it. Over 70% of shoppers are more likely to participate in a loyalty program that provides access to loyalty cards and rewards via its mobile app. However, only 4% of grocery retailers offer enhanced rewards or benefits on their apps.

Make members feel special. Joining a loyalty program signals that a customer values your brand (37% of shoppers are willing to pay to join or upgrade to a higher tier of their loyalty membership). Make sure they know you feel the same about them. Nearly 60% say loyalty programs don’t make them feel they are a part of an exclusive group. How? Well, 46% want premier or exclusive access to sales and promotions.

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Why we care. I can’t tell you how many websites I registered with and forgot about that send me an email on my birthday. I get them from a few loyalty programs as well. I’ve never gotten one with an offer or a discount. 

The bare minimum martech stack provides data unification, digitization and channel integration. A good one offers real-time analysis of customer behavior (past purchases, browsing history, etc.) combined with things like product attributes and availability to create an attractive personalized offering. For the customer, loyalty programs have to be more than a way to earn points. They have to give something unique and special. If your stack can’t tell you what that thing is, there’s something wrong with it.

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About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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