One of the most common mistakes made in business is forgetting who’s buying your products. Customers aren’t robots who are triggered to buy with a combination of value and quality. They’re living, thinking, emoting human beings who make their buying decisions based on so much more than dollars and cents. In fact, their perception of your brand may weigh into their buying decisions more than they, or you, realize.
That’s why it’s so critical to understand what customers think of your brand and the image your brand carries amongst the public. Let’s take a deeper dive into the concept of brand image, why it matters, and how you can find out what yours is.
What Is Brand Image?
Your brand image is the way your brand is perceived by people as a whole. You could think of it as your brand’s reputation or your public image. Your brand image is a collection of attributes people associate with your brand.
Brand image is usually formed by a combination of many factors. People could perceive you a certain way based on your marketing, any publicity around your brand, their personal experiences with your brand or your products, the experiences with your brand or product others have shared with them, and more.
Won’t Brand Image Vary from Person to Person?
We all know that every person has their own opinions, so wouldn’t that mean that your brand image will vary widely from person to person? Yes, but not as much as you think.
It’s important to understand that brand image is the profile of attributes that people associate with your brand, and this will be fairly consistent. What varies is whether people perceive those attributes to be positive or negative.
For example, your brand may have an image of luxury. Some people will see that in a positive way, making your brand something to aspire to. Other people will see that in a negative way, perceiving your brand as expensive and out of reach. Likewise, your brand might be perceived as either more liberal or more conservative, more modern or more traditional, and so on, and every person will have a different opinion of whether that is positive or negative.
What Does Brand Image Mean for Your Business?
There are many factors that go into each customer’s decision about whether or not to buy from your brand, and your brand image is one of the top factors. Brand image will affect key aspects of customers’ decision-making, including:
- Perception of quality and durability
- Social perception of the customer who buys the brand
- Perception of value
- Expectation of risk
- Ethics of supporting or not supporting the brand
This is why it’s important to understand how your brand is perceived. No matter how outstanding your product is, your brand image will always play a role in customers’ buying choices, and you need to be able to cultivate a brand image that works in your favor.
How Can You Measure Brand Image?
The first step to improving your brand image is finding out where you currently stand. The only way to get an accurate and thorough understanding of how consumers perceive your brand is to ask consumers directly with a brand image analysis survey.
Some businesses and analysts do use other strategies to try to gauge their brand image. They might gather data on what demographics are buying their products and use this to make inferences about how their brand is perceived. This is merely an educated guess, though, because factors like availability, affordability, and more will impact buying choices. Surveys remain the only reliable way to measure your brand image.
Tips for a Brand Image Analysis Survey
When you invest in a brand image study through a consumer survey, you want your results to be as accurate and useful as possible so you’ll get your money’s worth. Use these tips to build a better brand image survey.
Use an Open-Ended Survey Platform
Most survey platforms are only capable of gathering and analyzing data that comes from multiple-choice questions, ranking questions, and other questions where there is a limit to the potential answers that can be included. This also limits consumers to choosing from the options they’re given so you don’t know if their answer is really accurate or just the closest approximation.
For truly authentic, accurate, and thorough information about your brand image, you need to use an open-ended survey platform. For example, GroupSolver’s AI-driven survey can analyze short-answer questions, identify patterns and synonyms, and synthesize answers into productive conclusions.
Expand Beyond Target Customers
Your products might be geared toward a specific group of people or a specific industry, but it isn’t only their perception of your brand that will affect buying choices. When people buy a product, they often consider what others will think of them buying it, so you need to know how your brand image is perceived throughout society as a whole, not only your target customers.
Ask About Buying Habits Too
As part of your brand image survey, it helps to find out not only how your brand is perceived but also how that perception is affecting consumers’ buying choices. Someone may have a great image of your brand but be unable to afford or justify the price, or they may perceive your brand negatively but buy it anyway because they perceive your competitors even worse. Exploring all the factors in your customers’ buying decisions will help you direct not only your brand development but other aspects of your business too.
Your brand image can change rapidly, especially in our modern world where brands’ ethics and political actions are constantly being examined. It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of your brand image so you can direct or adjust your marketing and other strategies as needed. To do that, conduct brand analysis studies on a regular basis.
Understanding Your Brand Image
It’s never too early to start learning how society views your brand, and it all comes down to creating an effective and well-orchestrated survey. Schedule a GroupSolver demo today to learn how our survey tool can change the game for your brand image analysis.