Are you influenced by a brand?
By Louise Dennington | October 18, 2022
You know the scene… you’re standing in a supermarket buying ketchup for your fussy 5 year old. Heinz ketchup stands out immediately –its Heinz after all, so its got to be good right? But then the supermarket own brand is half the price… surely that will do?
Brands influence consumer behaviour by finding ways to fit in with consumers’ ‘self-image’. Adverts show levels of happiness and types of lifestyles that consumers want to have — and those act as symbols of what the brand represents. Essentially, a brand’s impact on consumer behaviour depends a great deal on how consumers perceive and relate to the brand.
What is brand perception?
Brand perception is a combination of things – the experience the consumer will get, the attitude of the consumer and the feelings people have with a product or service. In the end, it’s the role of a brand to understand its target audience and do what it takes to improve its perception.
Consumers are actually the owners of brand perception, not you. No matter the type of message or image you want your brand to project, it all comes down to how consumers think and feel about it. When consumers hear, see, or interact with a brand, they develop feelings and thoughts towards it. It’s the sum of all these feelings and thoughts — by all consumers — that truly make up brand perception.
How can you measure brand perception and why should you?
Gathering information can help in validating decisions and demonstrates to your existing and loyal customer base that you are interested in serving their needs. There are various ways to capture this data:
- Consumer surveys and focus groups – By using online surveys to collect feedback, you can find out what makes your customers happy and what they are dissatisfied with. You can build loyalty and trust by generating branded surveys that will incorporate the look and feel of your organisation into your surveys. In gathering specific information about positive and negative perceptions, you can establish where to focus your marketing or sales efforts.
- Brand tracking – Brands can compare brand perception across different markets and competitors, allowing for a more holistic view of the subject. For example, it can mean knowing exactly how many times your ad was shown and to how many individuals. Some platforms will also reveal impressions for various aspects such as impressions by age, city, interest, or job title.
- Social listening – This is where you track conversations and mentions related to a chosen topic on social media platforms, and then analyse them for insights into what actions you can take that will improve the experience.
How can you influence consumer behaviour?
- Consumer perception – When you plant a clear brand message in the minds of consumers, they very well may connect with that message and consider using your brand. If the message relayed to your target audience is consistent and memorable enough to get and hold their attention, it’s almost like a seed planted in their minds — one which will begin to develop over time into their brand perception.
- Purchasing decisions – Here, well-established brands have a clear advantage when dealing with consumers. For example, if you lose your phone and need to buy a new one, and you are a person with little to no knowledge about phones, you will likely opt for an iPhone or Samsung over a phone with an unknown brand — not because of its features, but because the brand has gone to great lengths to ensure everyone knows who they are.
- Peer influence – According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from family and friends. This means that a majority of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that is liked and trusted by their friends and family members. A marketing strategy that highlights a brand’s personality and values rather than just its pricing or features will connect more successfully with consumers.
- Status – Lets go back to the iPhone example and extend that out to the brand itself – Apple. Many consumers purchase Apple products because of the prestige attached to them. And it’s worth noting that status and prestige convey more than just high price — they also signify credibility, quality, and satisfaction.
Examples of strong brands
We can easily say that Apple is one of the most successful brands of our generation. No matter where you go, everyone has heard of their brand and they associate it with high-end products, unique design, bright stores, and great employees.
There is no way that we can speak of branding without mentioning Coca-Cola. They are veterans of this business and they have shown us how consistent quality and outstanding marketing strategies can keep one and the same product on the throne for decades.
Who would’ve said that we would be open to staying in a stranger’s home and even so, trustingly paying for the accommodation to strangers all around the world? Well, Airbnb’s praised global branding has managed to convince us that this is something we should do.
One of the key elements of McDonald’s global success is their uniformity. No matter which country you visit, McDonald’s will grant the same quality, experience, and food. Consumers rely on consistency and equal value regardless of the location and that is exactly what McDonald’s provides them.
This brand lets its service and its customers speak on their behalf, so they put their trust in numerous reviews, free deliveries, and recommendation modules to help boost sales. Considering that they are only an online store, they have relied on the strategic use of SEO and affiliate marketing combined with a powerful supply chain and excellent customer service to establish their brand name globally.
In many ways, you can appeal to people’s emotions through branding and make them feel more connected to your company. Branding allows you to build relationships with your audience, which can eventually turn them into loyal customers. You can create a brand that people actually care about and put yourself ahead of businesses that aren’t using this to their advantage.
In summary, everything comes back to some simple considerations:
- What makes you different, what is your USP – why should people use your service or buy your products?
- Be consistent with your messaging and creative across all platforms
- Make sure you know who your audiences are and where they hang out – listen to what they have got to say
- Adapt to change – always be agile
- Build trust with your customers – a loyal customer is far better than a one off transaction
So anyway, which ketchup did you decide on?!
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