The idea for many in business is simply to be the best: to run the best restaurant, to have the best customer service, to offer the biggest range.
Yet while a business owner may believe they are ticking all the boxes, the real perception of the brand in the marketplace could be a world apart.
According to branding and communications agency Uberbrand, branding ultimately comes down to perception.
“The first principle of branding is that ‘brand is in the eye of the beholder’. Just like relationships, sometimes an organisation thinks they are perceived very positively but in reality they are on the edge of divorce,” Dan Ratner, managing director at Uberbrand commented.
Importantly, every person within an organisation can impact the market perception of a brand. For this reason it is paramount that feedback is shared widely amongst everyone within a business. This is integral to maintaining a strong, consistent brand identity.
For companies looking to quantify their brand perception, one way to effectively do so is via a ‘brand audit’.
“Organisations need to actually ask people what they think about a brand. That might sound obvious but when you work within an organisation it can be easy to lose sight of how it is actually perceived by the outside world,” Ratner said.
Key points behind a successful audit:
Understanding when to redefine your brand: A strong brand is evident when the company’s most important stakeholders and customers all hold similar perceptions. If a company asks a group of people to define its brand and all come back with different answers, it is time to work on strengthening the perception or re-defining the brand.
Canvass a range of people, not just the most vocal: When considering brand perceptions, it is important to ensure the views considered represent those of the entire audience rather than a select few. Feedback on social media or other channels tends to represent polarised views. Gain a more accurate picture by asking people who have had both extensive and limited exposure to the brand.
Consider internal and external feedback: Many organisations fail to succeed because they lack internal consistency. If people within the organisation have differing perceptions, it is impossible to communicate consistent messages that will help build brand equity. Any successful brand audit should offer a holistic view of the brand from both internal and external audiences such as:
- sales force or channel partners
- current and prospective customers
- business and community leaders
- influencers and government regulators.
Cover all customer touch points
An individual’s brand perception is the sum of all their experiences with the organisation. Every interaction leaves an impression. It’s important to audit a brand across all areas of a business.