Before I get started, I will call attention to this overused quote:
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
I have heard this said so many times and witnessed the opposite happen. We humans often (a lot really) make judgements based on what things look like. From a business perspective, the sexy term often used is brand perception.
To cut a long story short, brand perception is how people or customers view your brand. It is the opinion they may have on the quality, integrity and values of your brand. Ultimately, it is the customer who decides their own perception of your brand; all you can do is audition for their attention. If your game is stronger than Johnny Bravo’s, you are mostly likely to win.
You are probably asking why this matter and why someone should invest in ways to improve their brand perception. Let’s put it this way: If you are going on a date at Table 52 and the stakes are high, you really want to make a positive impression. You will make sure you look good and your bank account is ‘nice’ because you’ll be paying a premium for water. This is the same approach you should apply to your business.
Your business offers your customers or potential customers an experience. When a customer formulates a perception in their minds about your business, it is either a positive, a neutral or a negative one. That is what will dictate if they come back, recommend you to others or ignore you. Once these perceptions are made, it is difficult or very expensive to get them changed. So, a business must put in the time and energy to influence their customers’ beliefs in a positive way so that they can win customers and ultimately grow their brand.
To paint a picture of brand perception in Botswana, Ascend Intelligence has a quarterly Bank Brand Perception Report on local banks and they reveal several insights into how Batswana perceive our banks. They sum up these perceptions in ranking that illustrates Good Brand Perception.
FNBB ranked highest in terms of Good Brand Perception with 76.3 percent of their surveyed customers indicating that they had a good perception on the bank. This makes sense with FNBB. They are aggressive in terms of marketing and seeking partnerships, which enhances their value proposition. At the tail end was Bank of Baroda with 22.6 percent of their surveyed customers indicating that they had a good perception on the bank. From a marketing perspective, one really has to look hard to find advertisements of Bank of Baroda.
These rankings reveal that the banks that spend more on marketing are winning the Brand Perception race. Those banks telling their stories more are attracting more customers. This is not to say that the low-ranking banks are bad banks; they just aren’t ‘in your face’ like the other banks.
But managing your brand perception is not always easy. A business must have patience and a strategy about navigating the complexities of different customers. Each business therefore needs to invest in tools to better understand their customers. Also, investment in tools to monitor customers’ feelings about your brand is a must. Having these tools will help inform a business about the correct strategy to adopt for enhancing their brand perception.
If all of this is done correctly, a business will be sure to reap both the short-term and long-term benefits of having a good brand perception. To revisit the opening quote, we all need to invest in better covers. It can go a long way.