Five Tools to Use for Perception Research

Effectively measure how customers perceive your brand by leveraging the power of these five essential perception research methods.

Like beauty, brand perception is most decidedly in the eye of the beholder. As Forbes Magazine succinctly puts it, “Brands are not just what they say they are. Brands are what consumers say they are. A brand’s true identity lies in its perception.”

No matter how carefully you have crafted your brand image, you cannot be sure how your target audience in actually perceiving that brand image. In reality, a great gulf may exist between your best intentions and the interpretations of those intentions by your existing and prospective customers.

Although the inner thoughts and emotional/logical responses of others will always remain something of a mystery, you can employ a variety of techniques to peer into the hearts and minds of your marketing audience. Of course, few business leaders have the time and expertise to engage in ongoing, high-quality, in-depth customer perception research, but any professional marketing agency worth its salt will certainly offer these indispensible services with a focus on the unique wants and needs of the companies that it serves.

Here are five tools that experienced and innovative marketers use to identify and measure brand perception. By leveraging the power of these tools, you can make sure that your company narratives and advertising messages successfully reinforce the brand image of your company that exists in the collective mind of your customer base.

1. Leverage the Data from Google Alerts

Imagine if you could hire someone to monitor worldwide Internet use 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, scanning for each and every mention of your company and its specific products/services. You could gain incredible insight into public thoughts and feelings regarding your brand by weighing positive mentions against negative mentions and examining the specific contexts that merit each of these mentions. Well, imagine no longer, because Google Alerts allows you to do just this for all activity on the search engine that is used by well over 90 percent of the global population. Simply enter your company name and other essentials in the Google Alert system, and you will receive an email alert whenever any of those keywords appear online.

2. Conduct Brand Perception Surveys

A great way to find out what your customers think about your brand is to simply ask them. And there is no better way to collect the thoughts of a broad swath of your customer base than to conduct a survey. From mass emails to your official website, there are many ways to distribute surveys to existing and prospective customers online. In light of the busy lives that your customers probably live, keep surveys short and consider offering some sort of incentive for completing them.

3. Organize Brand Focus Groups / Online Forums

Compared with surveys, both of these options offer opportunities to get more in-depth information from a far smaller sample of your customer/audience base. Good questions to ask in brand focus groups or online forums will be similar to those asked in effective surveys, but you can probably ask far more and follow up with secondary questions for further clarification. Consider questions such as “Why do you choose this brand over others?” and “What comes to mind when you hear this brand name?”

4. Monitor Social Media

It goes without saying that the best way to interact with customers today is through social media. According to the independent social media public relations news source Regan, 33 percent of consumers prefer to connect with a business through social media. Regan goes on to identify social media as a great place to get unbiased and unfiltered feedback on perceived brand image, citing research that has counted an average of 2.1 million negative mentions of brands among US social media users on a daily basis.

5. Monitor Online Reviews

Customer review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are also great sources of unbiased and unfiltered brand perception feedback. By tracking reviews of your company and its products/services on an ongoing basis, you can get a more complete picture of the ways your target audience interprets your transmitted brand image.

Getting professional help

If you have questions about the supreme importance of consumer brand perception or are looking to secure expert perception research services, don’t hesitate to contact a marketing professional at Bigeye. We have the experience and forward-thinking vision necessary to make perception research work for you and your company.

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