Your business exists in part because of the customers that choose to engage with you despite the plethora of options they can choose from. Many factors influence their purchasing decision, but the bottom line is that they choose you because they’re happy with your delivery, service, product and standards. While every customer will perceive your value differently, you need to ensure your brand perception stays positive to sustain your business.
Here’s the hard-hitting truth: You are probably offering the same products and services as hundreds of other businesses. Your customers choose you because of what they think and feel about your brand.
If every consumer were to purchase solely based on price, many luxury brands would be out of business. Attracting and keeping customers lies in how your brand is perceived overall.
But you can’t create or change brand perception — it’s your customers who decide. You can take impactful steps to influence positive brand perception, but your business will only ever be as good as what your customers perceive.
Instead of forcing an opinion on your customers with banner ads or billboards, you need to evaluate your customer experience from their perspective.
Find out what your customers are thinking and learn how to measure brand perception to equip yourself with a roadmap to improve your brand image.
In this blog, we talk about how your brand reputation affects your sales, ways to measure your customer perceived value and actionable tips to improve your brand perception. We discuss:
• What is brand perception and why does it matter
• Three customer perception case studies
• How to measure brand perception
• What is perceived value and how to measure perceived value
• How to improve your brand perception
What Is Brand Perception?
Brand perception is your customer’s opinion about your business, shaped by their direct and indirect interactions with you. These interactions include watching a video advertisement, hearing feedback from a friend, or a first-hand experience with your customer support channel.
While you might be able to control your brand messaging, it does not define how your brand is perceived. One thing that directly affects your brand perception is your online reviews. These are unbiased public feedback published on independent review sites such as Google, Facebook and Yelp.
Businesses cannot directly control online reviews, and this is particularly why consumers trust them. Online reviews come from unlimited sources, offering an unmatched level of transparency that customers appreciate. According to BrightLocal, the average consumer reads 10 online reviews before feeling able to trust a business.
Online reviews basically equal brand perception now because everyone lives online. People judge you based on your social media and Google results,” said Tim Clarke, senior reputation manager at Rize Reviews.
Why Does Brand Perception Matter?
Your customers either lean towards a positive brand perception or negative brand perception — and this is what influences their purchase decisions. If they’re happy with you, they’ll likely become loyal customers and recommend you to their peers.
If your online reviews — and other elements that form your brand reputation — disappoint your customers, it influences a negative brand perception, and you lose out on valuable business.
Having a positive brand perception has almost everything to do with aligning with your customer’s needs and values as best as possible and making it known to your target audience that you’re making this effort.
For example, many studies have confirmed that the new generation prefers spending on experiences rather than material things. If you were a cosmetics business targeting the millennial segment for a new lipstick line, you would throw a launch party instead of just announcing that your products are available in store.
This way, more of your target audience resonates with your brand and will more likely become customers. To appreciate this concept more, let’s look at some of the most prominent success cases in brand reputation management.
Three Customer Perception Case Studies
It’s no secret that offering great products is the first step to a successful business, but it’s a commitment to a positive brand perception that can genuinely skyrocket a brand. Here are some of the best examples of what customer perception can do:
1. The Hermès Birkin Bag
Birkins are the most expensive and sought-after handbags in the world. It targets wealthy people who value exclusivity and status symbols. To make its customers feel even more important, buyers need an exclusive invite to purchase a Birkin from Hermès. The message: You are special and part of an elite circle when you own a Birkin.
2. The Nike Shoe
Nike commercials are famous for featuring some of the world’s greatest athletes, like Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James — champions who regular people idolize. Nike’s customers want to emulate their idols, and wearing the same shoes gives them that feeling. The message: You have extraordinary abilities when you wear Nike.
3. The Apple Device
Apple products are named with ascending numbers (iPhone 10, 11, etc.) to label the latest and (current) best version. Apple developed its innovative brand image so well that customers don’t have to see the commercials to be excited about it. The message: You are among the brightest minds when you use Apple products.
Without brand reputation management, Hermès would be any other handbag store, Nike just another shoe store and Apple no different from other brands like it. These brands continuously invest time and resources to deepen their understanding of their target audience and improve their brand based on their customer’s needs and values.
To mirror this success, you need to measure your brand perception first.
How to Measure Brand Perception
Measuring brand perception is a vital undertaking for any business. Clarke says that business owners should care about their brand perception because it has a huge impact on sales and revenue.
It will make growth really hard if they have a poor brand perception. It also affects pricing and customer satisfaction,” he said.
Because monitoring brand perception drives your business’s success, you need a systematic way to measure your customer perceived value.
Here Are Three Strategies for How to Measure Brand Perception:
1. Brand Perception Surveys
The best way to know is to ask — but brand perception surveys are designed to extract metrics without being too explicit. One of the most popular survey questions is, “From 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?”
This question collects data for the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a key customer experience metric that predicts business loyalty and growth. Respondents who score a brand 9-10 are called promoters, while those who score 0-6 are grouped as detractors.
The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters to give you an idea of your brand perception based on how many people would advocate for your brand.
Another survey question you can use is, “How would you rate your overall satisfaction with the product or service you received?” This provides a straightforward Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) metric by asking customers to choose their answer from a 5-point scale: very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, neutral, satisfied and very satisfied.
Including NPS and CSAT survey questions will reveal much of your brand perception, but you can pattern other questions similarly to gain a deeper understanding and eventually change brand perception.
2. Online Review Audits
Online reviews are customer feedback that is already out there for everyone to see — some might overlook your brand perception surveys, but your online reviews are available anytime. Online reviews are critical to monitoring brand perception because of how frequent and detailed they can be.
A review typically includes a 0- to 5-star rating, a written testimonial and sometimes photo and video attachments. The review platform would provide your brand with an average star rating, a valuable CSAT metric to monitor. You can read your written testimonials to find common highlights and pain points among your customers.
3. Social Media Monitoring
It’s estimated that half of the world’s population are on social media, and many use it daily. Monitoring brand perception on social media would be similar to how you would monitor online reviews, just on a much larger scale. It’s a big task, but it’s incredibly advantageous.
Social media holds the most authentic customer feedback: While some online review sites might censor foul language or restrict certain content, social media users have free rein. Thirty-five percent of American customers post negative comments about companies on social media, while 53 percent post positive comments (American Express).
Your social media mentions generally appear quicker than your surveys or reviews would, so it could be where you’d find your most current brand perception. A customized brand perception survey would provide the most in-depth metrics, while online reviews uniquely offer a combination of metrics and detailed information about specific customer experiences.
Each of these strategies provides a unique angle to evaluating your brand reputation and are all equally valuable. To complete your understanding of measuring brand perception, let’s delve into what is perceived value.
What Is Perceived Value?
We’ve discussed the value of brand perception and one thing was extremely clear — how people perceive your brand is not limited to individual factors such as price. To be more specific, customers perceive your value by weighing the costs and expected benefits of their purchase.
Perceived value is commonly described as the total customer benefit minus the total customer cost. This total includes monetary and non-monetary factors, as well as direct and indirect factors — meaning it isn’t something that can be calculated simply, as it is unique to every customer’s experiences and realities.
How to Measure Perceived Value
While some experts have shared ways to calculate customer perceived value, how to measure perceived value is certainly not a straightforward exercise. It involves taking your knowledge about measuring brand perception and segregating your data according to factors that fall under “expected benefits” and “costs.”
Here’s what you need to know: To increase your perceived value (and win more loyal customers), you need to significantly and actively raise the benefits of your products and services to exceed and justify all possible costs.
How to Improve Your Brand Perception
We’ve covered what is brand perception and how to measure brand perception. We learned that you can’t directly change brand perception, but you can influence a positive brand image.
Take note — if your star rating is less than 4 stars, only 53 percent of consumers would consider your business (BrightLocal). Taking active steps to improve your brand perception opens you up to more opportunities.
Focusing on your online reviews is the best place to start. Clarke shares that increasing the quality and quantity of your online review scores on many review platforms can “help you cut down on negative reviews and give your business a positive face.”
Here Are Five Actionable Tips for Improving Your Brand Perception:
1. Acquire New Reviews Consistently
Studies show that 70 percent of consumers will leave reviews if you ask. Having a robust review generation strategy means you consistently collect new reviews and receive up-to-date information to improve your business.
2. Showcase Your Positive Reviews
A review widget is an online brand reputation management tool that features your 5-star reviews and positive customer testimonials on your website’s home page. This helps put your brand’s best foot forward and communicate your value through the eyes of your happy customers.
3. Respond to Your Reviews
Ninety-seven percent of people (your prospects) read businesses’ review responses (BrightLocal), so it’s an excellent chance to impress your online audience. Make your customers feel valued by thanking them for their positive review. Politely acknowledge your negative feedback and use it as an opportunity to turn negative brand perception around.
4. Involve Your Entire Team
Your commitment to improving your brand perception should trickle down to every member of your team. Maximize your online brand reputation management strategy and create a cycle of improvement from the customer feedback you collect.
5. Hire a Professional Brand Reputation Management Agency
When you work with an experienced online reputation management agency, measuring and improving your brand perception happens much faster. Review requests are automated, your review monitoring is closely watched, and your review responses are humanized.
Rize Reviews is an online brand reputation management company dedicated to improving brand perception for businesses of all sizes. Our fully-managed reputation management software lets you send email and SMS review requests, receive alerts for your online brand mentions and conveniently respond to your reviews, all on one platform.
We help with survey campaign management and online reputation repair to give your brand more control over your brand perception. Our 100 percent done-for-you services helped this garage door repair company improve its average star rating from 3.0 to 4.6!
Contact Rize Reviews today for a free online reputation audit and learn how we improve your brand perception through a customized brand reputation management strategy.