How To Predict & Measure Brand Perception

Perception dramatically impacts how easy it is for customers to get the intended brand concept. [It] occurs very quickly, and ordinarily, it is automatic.
— Bobby J. Calder

Feedback and surveys after the service or product has been delivered are important for capturing the customer's experience and opinions. However, it can be frustrating to hear the exact opposite feedback you expected (or wanted) to hear from someone who you thought was your best customer. The story you want them to remember is lost on a frustrating disconnect that took you by surprise. Beyond feeling deflated and defensive, knowing how to process the feedback is important.

What if you can predict brand perception? 

The folks at Disney are masters at this. Disney Magic isn't really magic, it's incredibly detailed and smart. They know their customer and have built the cues that reinforces that the Disney experience is nothing BUT magic. No detail is too small to ensure that the Disney experience is delivered with tight precision. Whenever customers encounter your product or service, they'll attempt to categorize it as a concept along with all of the accompanying cues from their experience. This can lead to unintended consequences.

Yes, you can create the best conditions for your customer to connect with the intended perceptions of your brand.

When you implement the following steps for your brand, when you receive feedback that falls outside of what you planned, then you have the right hard data to determine your next best steps.

Step One: Know Your purpose and mission

Step two: Know Your Customer story

Trying to understand and explain why your customers do what they do is difficult and can be frustrating. However, research will help you close the gap between the two of you. Your customers are motivated by their goals, hopes and dreams. It's important that you know what their answers are and not have your decisions based on what you think they want to achieve. Ask them.

Step three: Know Your Brand story

The brand category provides a frame of reference for identifying other brands that might be used to achieve the same goals as yours. You have to find and be able to deliver a point of difference. There are many categories that your brand could fit into. You could be brave and create your own. Below are the categories for Disney:

Disney's Categories:

  • Media Segments,

  • Parks & resorts,

  • Studio entertainment, and,

  • Consumer products.

Step Three: Design and Orchestrate the Cues to Lead Customers Down Your Intended Path

Focus on how cues can be designed into your product or service to lead customers to receive your brand in your intended categories. Here are examples of cues: Naming (Porsche Cayenne, Blackberry) Anything the triggers the fives senses (Sight, Sound,  Smell, Taste and Touch)

The Disney Experience Cues:

  • Family,

  • Convenience,

  • Accommodation,

  • Fun, and,

  • Deference.

Once you have identified all of these elements, stress test there with your customers and track their perceptions and capture any surprises or hopefully, confirmations that you're able to deliver the magic for your brand.