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Riffing Out Loud: For Brands, Perception Is Reality

Riffing Out Loud: For Brands, Perception Is Reality Article Featured Image

Positive brand perception—how customers and potential customers view a brand and its values—remains a vital component of building long-term loyalty. Consumers crave brands in sync with their personal core values, and they expect brands to consistently put those values into action.

Consumers’ perception of a brand can shift quickly after a major incident—or even a minor misstep that goes viral. In the age of social media, where information spreads rapidly and is archived indefinitely, brands must live up to their values and respond to any criticism authentically and transparently.

Brands that are successful in forging deeply rooted emotional connections with their customers are better positioned to withstand criticism in the event of a crisis. They’re also poised to benefit from lasting customer loyalty and engagement.

Focusing on relationships rather than transactions nurtures positive consumer experiences that build loyalty. When customers feel emotionally connected to a brand, they’re less likely to defect to competitors.

Today’s consumers have unprecedented access to brand founders, CEOs, and other spokespeople, which helps humanize a brand and deepen engagement. It also presents challenges if a brand leader’s online presence departs from brand values and objectives. Careful consideration and responsible communication are essential to ensuring online activity doesn’t overshadow the brand’s core mission and objectives.

A customer’s perception of a brand is influenced by individual experiences, cultural references, regional customs, and personal preferences. A nuanced messaging strategy that reflects these differences can bolster authentic connections and fuel a positive brand reputation.

Positive brand perception doesn’t happen by accident. Careful planning and consideration are crucial. Learn from your competitors’ successes and failures—and be ready for a crisis. While most brands avoid high-profile crises, nearly all will experience a disruption at some point. Create a crisis-response plan that aligns with your brand values. Clearly defined protocols will help you effectively safeguard the positive connections perception your brand built so intentionally.

Every strategic decision and piece of brand communication may impact consumers’ impression of your brand. Cultivating—and then safeguarding—positive brand perception is essential for customer satisfaction, devotion, and lasting loyalty.

Key takeaways:

  • Prioritize relationships
  • Handle access to brand leaders with care
  • Take a nuanced approach
  • Plan ahead with purpose

Amy Farsht is senior director, Partnership Marketing, and Jasmin King is manager, Strategic Services. For more than 30 years, The Lacek Group has been innovating the art and algorithms of brand devotion. We help world-class brands identify their highest-potential customers, engage them across channels throughout their lifecycles, personalize each relationship for optimal long-term results, and measure the true effectiveness of those efforts.