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Do you know with certainty what your target audience truly thinks, feels, or believes regarding your brand, products, and/or services? Would the truth about these things change the way your products are promoted, or would you even modify the products you make and sell? Surveying your customers and prospects will yield specific data and critical insights that can be used to build and grow brand awareness, perception, and customer loyalty, thus positively impacting the bottom line.

First, let’s unpack what exactly a brand perception survey is. These surveys include polling your customers and prospects with open-ended questions regarding what they think about your products, how they explain your products to their friends or colleagues, or what emotions they feel when they use your products. Understanding these behaviors and actions can reveal a lot of information that may not be intuitive in product design and testing. Learning about your target audience’s actions and emotions toward your brand can help you respond with better, more tailored products.

Product quality and reputation are certainly important, but a large component of brand perception is how your message resonates with the target audience. A company should always strive to align the company values with the product experience. Surveying customers on how they feel about your brand and products will reveal whether your company is perceived positively, negatively, or neutrally. A neutral perception is almost as bad as a negative impression because a neutral impression generally means you haven’t done a good enough job educating your audience on who you are, what you stand for, or the purpose of your products.

Reliable subscription services like SurveyMonkey and SurveyAnyplace simplify and automate the survey process and quickly help you determine customer loyalty. These services allow subscription holders to benchmark their results against other companies in their respective industry. This will help your company identify and act on best practices to better serve your customers and set goals that align better with customer behavior and habits. Most capable survey management services offer CRM integration to further enable data collection for trend analysis and other stratification goals.

Don’t let your company’s brand perception be a mystery. Be proactive: poll your current and potential customers during all stages of the sales cycle. The knowledge and feedback you receive may change your company’s perception dramatically and ultimately yield more sales. Gotham’s industrial marketing strategists can help you plan, design, and execute surveys in a variety of channels to best understand what your customers think of your company. We’ve been helping B2B companies since 1989 do just this. Are you ready to enhance your brand’s perception and awareness across the board? Get started at  www.industrialmarketingexperts.com.

There are two things you can do to vastly improve your marketing program. First, define what your company is great at. That will be your core competency. Then, delineate the factors that differentiate your product or service from the competition. By defining core competency and communicating the differences between your company and competitors, you are creating a “brand platform.” A brand is your promise to the prospect, so you need to live it and breath it internally, and you must back it by action.

Defining and claiming your brand is more vital today than ever, because virtually all prospects now soft-shop your services via your website prior to initiating contact. If your “brand promise” is homogeneous or unclear, you’ll lose the prospect early in the purchasing curve. The Internet age has removed all boundaries and barriers to purchase. In addition, the entry costs for beginning a business are as low as the cost of a good website.

The most successful businesses in this Internet age narrow their market and are highly specialized. Prospects seek these companies through searches in major search engines. Once a prospect finds a site, the home page must clearly communicate the brand promise, which integrates core competency and differentiation. Once engaged, the prospect may interact with your website by providing their contact information or by calling you.

Narrowing corporate focus will help prospects understand what you have to offer and foster trust that you specialize in an area of interest to them. As a bonus, this marketing approach also is less expensive to promote.

It is important to consistently promote your brand promise on your website and through any other methods of advertising your business.

By Woody Stoudemire

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