The brand is one of the essential assets of a company these days. Because through the brand, you ensure recognition value, create trust and maintain relationships with your customers. Thanks to digitization, the brand image is now much more flexible and interactive than it used to be. You can interact with customers in real-time, get their opinion on the brand perception, and make adjustments. It is crucial than ever to offer added value and stand by your core values.
It is especially true in the Corona crisis. Brands like Airbnb show how they do. Instead of offering international accommodations and adventures, AirBnB quickly adjusted to local travel. There you will now be encouraged to support the local economy and travel within the restrictions in force. Experiences are reserved online, so you can learn to cook Moroccan tagine or dance New York-style salsa from home.
You will learn what consumers associate with a brand. So that you can build your brand accordingly, we explain here what a brand is, how brand perception works and how we can measure. You will also learn how to get to know your customers better and how you can act based on the findings to improve your external presence.
Table of Contents
- What is a brand anyway?
- How does brand perception work?
- How can brand perception be measured?
- Social listening
- SEO and other methods
- How do I get to know my customers better?
- How does holistic brand thinking look?
What is a brand anyway?
The term “brand” is often a rather diffuse term, under which there are many summarized properties. For example, the brand description says to combine expectations, memories, stories, and relationships. All of these associations lead people to choose a particular company or product.
Ultimately, a brand is a mental creation. It helps to differentiate one company from another and to present one’s own identity in the competition. The visible part of the brand consists of the logo and corporate design, but the invisible part is at least as necessary.
If you run a start-up or a company, you should make a point of maintaining your brand. Thanks to social media, there are numerous new ways to give the brand more presence and incorporate the target group’s opinions into the brand image. The trend in digital marketing is towards actively listening to the target group to implement improvement requests.
How does brand perception work?
As a brand owner, you probably know what your brand stands for. However, this is not necessarily the same as the public opinion about your brand identity. It is, therefore, worthwhile to determine brand perception. Determine by consumers and is made up of what people think and say about your brand.
It is precisely this brand perception that determines what your brand is all about. Ideally, your intentions align with brand perception, but it’s often a long way to go.
To understand how brand perception works, you can think about some of the brands you know for yourself. Take the sporting goods manufacturer Nike as an example. Nike shows how customers tie to a brand for decades. The well-known slogan “Just do it,” the motivating and refreshing, contemporary advertising on sports, the famous “Swoosh,” and clear brand values are the key here.
On the other hand, the example of Abercrombie & Fitch shows how some brands put their reputation at risk. Because of the strict requirements on what employees of the brand are allowed to wear. Sometimes outdated ideas about the sexiness of the brand led to falling sales figures and the resignation of the managing director.
Here you can see that the brand’s basic perception of core values and reliability, but a brand also has to listen to its customers and move with the times. Therefore, a balance between durability and modernity is necessary for modern brands.
These elements of a brand are essential:
- Clear vision
- Unique identification features
- key terms
- Enduring values
How can brand perception be measured?
Thanks to big data and social media, it’s easy to measure brand perception these days. Because the existing analysis mechanisms can determine where there are relevant brand mentions and what your brand associates, you can quickly get a reasonably accurate picture of the customer perception of your brand.
The real-time information reflects the current situation, which can also change quickly online. Thanks to the insights into the statistics, you can also see which initiatives are positively or negatively changing brand perception. In this way, it is possible to change the perception of the target group.
Establishing an honest dialogue between brand and customer works in business as well as in real life. First of all, we have to listen carefully. You can do that through social listening. Here you use software to determine your customers’ statistical data, especially their perception of your brand. It shows threads of discussion and keywords that allow conclusions to draws about the current brand perception.
By analyzing conversations with negative tones, you can find out what problems or doubts customers have about your brand. These can damage brand perception and should therefore treat in a targeted manner.
You can also listen better through surveys and active commenting on social media. A brand study by Edelman shows that customers expect brands to be relevant to current political developments and customized solutions. Trust in the brand is one of the essential factors in the purchase decision – and trust always takes two.
SEO and other methods
In addition to social listening, you can use other methods to measure brand awareness. Various software such as Brandwatch and Google Analytics, and cookie tracking provide essential information on how your target group interacts with the brand.
The online relevance analysis, where you search for specific keywords and search queries on Google using SEO tools, shows you what customers are looking for and what they associate with your brand. You can also do such searches manually on social media. For larger companies, however, it is advisable to use automated procedures to keep an overview.
How do I get to know my customers better?
First of all, the insights from social listening help you get to know your customers better. Based on the data, you understand which values they value, which campaigns are well received, and perhaps there is room for improvement. Accordingly, you can act based on these results.
A simple way to increase brand awareness and change it positively is to have a brand presence on social media. By displaying your brand values here, communicating authentically with customers, and asking what they want, you can create added value and benefit from it simultaneously.
Studies show that many customers also rely on the advice of family and friends when it comes to switching to a new brand or buying a new product. Therefore, you should work to ensure that your brand recommends elsewhere. The voices of testimonials or influencers can be helpful here.
Important: Long-term customer loyalty can only achieve if you have a strong core of consistent and authentic values. Therefore, make sure that there is a consensus on the real identity and identifying the brand’s features throughout the company. If this is clear internally, it is much easier to represent the brand and its potential for enthusiasm externally in the long term, which positively affects customer perception.
Social listening and other methods of market cultivation have to be subordinate to the brand. It means that you should resist the temptation to make drastic changes to the brand essence based on the marketing insights or to acquire numerous new customers through automated campaigns. Stay authentic and use the insights to make clever changes.
How does holistic brand perception look?
The digitization of companies has revolutionized the topic of brands and brand perception. However, some elements have not changed: Trust and strong core values are still essential to the brand. With the help of tools like social listening, you can show flexibility, keep up with the times and at the same time optimize the perception of the brand essence.
This marketing strategy is also known as holistic branding. Here you look at the company as a whole from different perspectives and use suitable communication channels. It helps you decide how much openness and permeability are essential for your brand without the central brand message being watered down or lost.
As long as you show a clear stance, stand up for your brand values, communicate authentically and flexibly with customers and adapt your brand to a certain extent to the current situation, you are on the right track.
Using the example of Corona, this means, for example: Show empathy and offer solutions with your brand instead of disappointing your customers with negative messages or false promises. Have the courage to be transparent, deliver added value, listen to your customers’ wishes, and adapt if necessary. In this way, you show that you take your customers seriously, which creates a respectful relationship.
Would you want to learn more about customer brand perception, the value of the brand, holistic online marketing, and best practices for the future of digital marketing?
Then register to TMT for we cover precisely these topics. We look forward to you!