Updated 6 months ago by Hayley Campbell
There are a lot of things that influence the success of a company: great products, good financial habits, inspiring leadership, top talent – the list goes on and on. But one of the most important factors is brand perception, or the way customers think and feel about your brand.
Believe it or not, your brand perception can impact nearly everything in your business – from customer acquisition and conversion rates to the amount of loyal customers you retain. It can even affect business partnerships, hiring and employee turnover. By extension, brand perception can also heavily impact your bottom line.
So naturally, it’s important to manage your brand perception properly, as it can make a sizable difference in the success or failure of your business.
Luckily, making sure your brand is perceived in the right light isn’t rocket science. In fact, the process can be boiled down to 3 simple steps. So, let's dive in.
First things first, you need to know how your customers perceive your brand. It’s virtually impossible to know what you need to change or what things to continue doing, otherwise. This includes both their thoughts and their feelings about your brand.
There are a few different things you can do to discover how your customers feel about your brand. One really great – and simple – way is to talk to people. Reach out to your customers and ask them questions like:
Connect with prospects to see what drew them to your brand, and what sets you apart from your competitors. You can even reach out to former customers – those who’ve left your business for competitor – to see why they decided to leave. The variety of conversations and responses will give you a well-rounded view of your company’s overall perception.
Another way you can identify your brand perception is by looking at your Net Promoter Score. This will let you know how customers are feeling about your brand, by allowing you to see their level of satisfaction.
You can also read reviews of your business online and follow conversations on forums and social media channels to get an authentic look at the conversations surrounding your brand. After all, as Jeff Bezos points out: “your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Data is worthless if you don’t do anything with it. The same goes here. It does you no good to know how customers perceive your brand, if you don’t do anything about it.
So, take the time to look over your customer research. Identify places where you need to make a change, and make them. If there are things you’re doing well, take note of them and find ways you can improve.
This could mean switching out the channels you use to communicate with customers, in order to speed up response time. It could involve testing new products or trying out new types of marketing campaigns. It could be improving the functionality of your website or apps. It may even be as simple as expressing your commitment to the values you share with your customers.
Whatever the case, this is your chance to make changes that will score you points with your customers and better your professional reputation.
The truth is, in some ways, this is really a two step process, because this is where you “rinse and repeat.”
As you start making changes, constantly measure your results and track your progress. See if your efforts are moving you in an upward trajectory, or if they're setting you back.
This involves doing a lot of the same work you did in step one. Keep in touch with customers to ask follow up questions and get feedback. Continue to follow conversations on social media and read customer reviews. Check in on your Net Promoter Score. Read news headlines and blog posts discussing your leadership, campaigns, products, and employees.
And as you see (and hear) feedback, make changes accordingly. If you get really bad press, find ways to do damage control and put preventative measures in place to avoid issues in the future. Keep an eye out for opportunities to boost your brand perception naturally, too.
The point is, this is an ongoing cyclical process. So, make sure you’re actively keeping a pulse on your brand perception and looking for ways to improve.
Making sure your brand perception is ‘just right’ can be challenging, especially now that we’re entering a decade defined by the customer experience. But, by following this simple, three-step process, you’ll be able keep your brand perception on the right track – boosting your customer loyalty and driving up sales.