In Leo Tolstoy’s Three Questions, a troubled king searches desperately for answers to three questions.
He puts the most talented of his pupils to work on answering the questions, but remains dissatisfied with the answers.
He finally decides to dress up as a civilian and look for answers himself.
You’ll have to read the short story to find out what happens next, but the point is:
Sometimes, companies can get lost in the insularity of their own culture. You need to get out there to find the answers you’re looking for.
Like Tolstoy’s king, leaders at every company are curious about what customers think of their brand.
But thankfully, there is no need to mingle with customers in disguise anymore. With brand perception surveys, you can find the answers to your brand-related questions without having to ever leave the office.
Whether you’re an established brand or an emerging startup, it is always healthy to keep an eye on what your target audience thinks of your brand. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to conduct a brand perception survey.
What Are Brand Perception Surveys?
The phrase ‘brand perception’ refers to what people think about your brand, whether they’re customers, employees, or shareholders.
Ideally, hearing about your brand brings up certain values and characteristics in people’s thoughts. Successful brands are able to shape these thoughts to create a positive brand image.
A brand perception survey is simply a tool that measures your company’s brand perception in the eyes of your respondents. They’re often used as a metric for marketing and PR campaigns to judge whether you’ve been able to influence your brand perception.
Let’s say, for example, that your brand recently suffered from a major controversy. Your strategy was to let it quiet down and hope that people forget about it.
But how do you measure if this controversy had a lasting impact? By conducting a brand perception survey once things have gotten quieter.
Another use case for brand perception surveys is to measure the success of a brand campaign. You’ve invested bucket loads of money on your latest marketing campaign. How do you measure returns on that investment? By finding out if there’s been a change in your brand image through brand perception surveys.
Why Are Brand Perception Surveys Important?
Brand perception surveys can be useful for your organization in a variety of ways. Yet, you might have trouble knowing when you need to do a brand perception survey.
Understanding the ways in which they’re useful can help in that regard. Let’s look at a few reasons that brand perception surveys are crucial:
1. Find Out What You’re Communicating
There’s a cafe near my home, and it’s run by a man in his 50s. To attract youngsters, he’s put up posters of the TV show Friends and music icon Bob Marley. When my friends and I talk about the cafe, we agree that it’s trying to be cool, but ends up being a bit cliche. Due to our generation gap, the manager does not know what he’s communicating. As a brand, it is crucial that you avoid this pitfall.
Through a brand perception survey, you can find out what you’re actually communicating to people. The results might end up surprising you, and if they do, that would be a good thing. You always want to have a finger on the pulse when it comes to your own brand image.
2. Design Impactful Marketing Campaigns
When creatives at your company get together to design a marketing campaign, they need to be given certain values and messaging to communicate. With expensive marketing campaigns, you don’t want to just be shooting in the dark. Brand perception surveys can help you narrow down the exact messaging you want to send out.
Often, marketing campaigns fail because they don’t start from a rigorous base. If customers already know your brand is the cheapest, that’s not what you want to communicate in a new campaign. You want to emphasize other aspects of your brand. Brand perception surveys can help you find out what’s lacking in your brand image.
3. Ascertain Next Steps After A Crisis
In the lifetime of your brand, the likelihood of being part of a controversy increases almost linearly with popularity. If controversies are inevitable, how do we learn how to address them? Should you do a press release or just say nothing? Do you need to invest in initiatives to rebuild your image? To know what to do, it’s a great idea to start with brand perception surveys.
You might find out, if you conducted a brand perception survey, that customers have moved on and remembered little from the crisis. In that case, you probably don’t need to bring it up again. On the other hand, it might just be the case that your audience remembers, and that’s getting in the way of them engaging with your brand. Either way, conducting a brand perception survey is the first step to finding out.
Tips To Conduct A Brand Perception Survey
When it comes to brand perception surveys, there are a few best practices you must follow in order to be successful. At Surveysparrow, we’re committed to helping you get the most out of your survey. We’ll go over a brand perception survey example as well. But first, here are some tips for your brand perception survey:
1. Use Close-Ended Questions
Do you know the difference between open-ended and closed-ended questions? Open-ended questions give respondents a text box to answer however they like. Close-ended questions, on the other hand, present options, whether single choice or multiple choice. As a rule of thumb, quantitative surveys rely more heavily on close-ended questions.
In a brand perception survey, you are hopefully not expecting a very wide range of responses. You should be able to estimate the whole range of responses and put them down as choices. That’ll help you analyze the data better, and make sure your results are meaningful and reveal actionable insights. You can always include an optional ‘Is there something else you’d like to tell us?’ at the end of your brand perception surveys for more subjective responses.
2. One Question At A Time
This tip is less specific to brand perception surveys, and more a best practice for all kinds of surveys. You must only ask one question at a time. This sounds like the simplest idea, but you won’t believe how many people get it wrong. Having two questions in one will skew your survey data and might render the whole exercise meaningless.
You don’t want to be asking questions like, ‘When you think of our brand, do you think of values like sustainability and body positivity?’ What if they think of one, but not the other? Your questions need to be precise. Break them up if you have to, but don’t confuse your respondents. And while we’re at it, that’s also a slightly leading question. You’re better off asking ‘What values do you think our brand stands for?’
3. Include A Survey Incentive
Your respondents, who are most likely your customers, get nothing in return for taking your brand perception survey. If your survey is very short with close-ended questions only, that’s not much of a problem. But if you’re demanding a significant amount of time from your customers, you should pay them back in incentives.
Offering incentives boosts your number of responses and hence gives you better data on the basis of which you can move forward. These incentives also don’t have to come at a major cost to you. Just a small discount offer on a product would work. It’ll bring customers to your business, and get you the much-valued data from your brand perception surveys.
4. Focus only on Brand Perception
Do you know the secret to keeping your brand perception surveys short? It’s not too hard: focus on just that. Don’t go into other things like customer experience or product design. Surveys get longer than they need to when they try to do more than they need to. In this survey, your aim is simply to find out your brand perception. Stick to that aim.
This might mean that you’re conducting more surveys, but only when you need to. If you’re not really focused on revamping your product, you don’t need questions related to your product quality at this stage. Keeping your surveys goal-oriented will help you prioritize what matters, and what’s more, get you more responses.
Sample Questions For Your Brand Perception Survey
Before you go about distributing your survey, it’s a great idea to prepare a brand perception survey questionnaire. Once you’ve had the questions listed down, you can choose which ones to keep and which to discard. A well-thought-out questionnaire is the first step to conducting a brand perception survey. Here are some questions you can consider including:
Are you familiar with [your brand]?
As a first step, it is important to find out whether the respondent even knows about your brand. A huge part of a brand perception survey is, after all, about brand awareness. If you find that a large chunk of your respondents simply isn’t familiar with your brand, that could mean a few things. Either they haven’t discovered your product or service, or they use it and still don’t associate it with your brand. Either way, it’s good to keep an eye on this number.
When you think of [your brand], what comes to mind?
This question is at the heart of every brand perception survey. What thoughts or feelings are associated with your brand? It is important here to give a range of options based on your best guesses. You can also consider having an ‘Other’ option where customers can give open-ended responses. Here is where you find out whether the messaging you’ve been trying to put across has been communicated.
Which three words would you use to describe [your brand]?
If your company has got its marketing on point, the central values of the company can be communicated within three keywords. In fact, your marketing campaigns should be aimed at associating those words with your brand. With this question, you’ll find out if you’ve been able to create that brand perception. This is an incredibly useful question to have in your brand perception surveys.
Which of these best describes your last experience with [your brand]?
Here, we’re venturing slightly into measuring customer experience territory. That’s not a bad thing, but you need to make a decision about whether to include this question. It is relevant to brand perception surveys because brand perception is often rooted in customer experience. It might make your survey longer, though.
If you do keep this question, make sure to be generous with the options you present. Having just positive responses will inevitably skew your results. It is a good idea to have an open-ended option with this question as well.
How likely are you to recommend [your brand] to a friend or colleague?
This question helps you find out your Net Promoter Score (NPS), which of course depends heavily on brand perception. In your brand perception surveys, you want to include this question with options from 1-10, so that you get a concrete score you can work on and compare with past results.
In the social media age, network effects tend to be the central drivers of expansion and customer acquisition. That’s why it’s important to measure your NPS. When you conduct a brand perception survey, it is relatively low-cost to simply add an extra question that doesn’t ask much effort from the respondents. The better your brand perception, the higher your NPS will be.
Whether as a first step to designing a new marketing campaign, or just a routine practice, you can never go wrong with conducting brand perception surveys. We started out aiming to tell you everything you know about how to conduct a brand perception survey, and we hope we’ve been able to do that. At Surveysparrow, we’re committed to making your survey experience, from marketing your survey to analyzing the data, as easy as possible.
With Surveysparrow’s easy-to-use brand perception survey templates, you’ll be all set to conduct a successful survey. With beautifully designed online surveys that appeal to respondents, we’re also able to fetch 40% more responses than other online survey tools. Start your journey towards better brand perception with a survey and discover counterintuitive insights that’ll help you thrive!