6 Tips to Ensure Branding Reality Mirrors Branding Perception

A critical rule of branding tells us that brand perception should never trump brand reality. In other words, if a consumer perceives that your brand will deliver more than it actually delivers when that consumer makes a purchase and experiences it, then that consumer will not be happy. And unhappy customers who pay for products that don’t meet their expectations based on their brand perceptions don’t keep their dissatisfaction to themselves. Instead, they tell everyone about their negative experiences with that brand which can lead to disastrous effects for a business.

In a perfect world, your brand image, which is who people think you are or perceive you to be, matches your brand identity, which is the actual, real-world performance of your brand.

Does the image people have in their minds based on your brand image match your actual brand identity?

The only people who can answer that question for you are your customers. Follow the tips below to evaluate your brand perception against your brand reality to ensure you’re meeting customer expectations in every branded experience. Only then can you position your brand for continued growth and success.

1. Reach out to new customers that your business has acquired within the past 12 months, and ask them why they chose your brand. This exercise enables you to learn what perceptions recent new customers had of your brand when they made the decision to buy from you. Be patient and persistent. It can be difficult to get detailed answers, so make an effort to ensure the people you interview feel comfortable in providing their honest opinions to you.

2. Contact your current customers and ask them what they believe differentiates your brand from your competitors’ brands. Make it simple for them by asking them to tell you the first thing they think of when they hear your brand name. Then do the same with your competitors’ names. First reactions are often the most honest, so stay quiet and let your customers think and speak freely.

3. Call your repeat customers and ask them why they return to your brand again and again. This allows you to get a true feeling of how consumers are actually experiencing your brand–your brand reality. If the reasons people are loyal to your brand don’t match your marketing messages, then you might need to rethink your brand strategy entirely.

4. If you haven’t already been asking new customers how they heard about your brand, start asking right now. If your business is growing by word-of-mouth and referrals, then you know that customers are satisfied with your brand reality. Ask customers what they think of your logo design. Their honest discussions about your brand with people they know create brand perceptions that typically carry more weight in terms of purchase decisions than advertising and promotional tactics.

5. Follow up on sales that you lost. If you know specific people who chose to buy from a competitor rather than you, contact them and ask them why they made those decisions. Did they visit your website?  Did they like your logo design? Make sure they understand you’re not trying to sell them anything. If they feel uncomfortable in anyway, you won’t get the information you need to improve your brand.

6. Ensure your brand promise and mission statement guide all of your business decisions. If your brand doesn’t play a primary role in all aspects of your business, then your success will be significantly limited.

Bottom-line, the more you can learn about your target audience and customers, the better equipped you’ll be to develop a winning brand strategy. Market research doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Pick up the phone, send an email, publish a poll on your business blog, or ask questions on Twitter and your Facebook page. And don’t forget to monitor your online brand reputation to keep tabs on the conversations people are having about your products, services, and business across the web. You’d be amazed at how much information you can gather simply by listening to and joining online conversations.

Logos are an important part of any business. If you need a professional business logo design, please visit our website at www.logogarden.com.

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Logo design tips and branding ideas for startup businesses from the experts at Logogarden.com

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