Gain a better understanding of your company’s reputation using our brand perception survey or build your own using these 15 sample questions and examples.
Do you think that Apple is cool, Yakult is healthy, or Dyson is clever? We all have ideas about brands and what they represent – it’s known as brand perception.
How customers perceive brands is key for knowing where to focus branding, customer support, and even marketing efforts. This means you need to do brand perception surveys.
But what exactly are they, and how can you conduct your own?
What is a brand perception survey?
A brand perception survey is a set of questions that help understand how customers, users, stakeholders, and others what comes to mind when they see or hear from your brand:
How does the brand make them feel?
What things do they associate with the brand?
As well as other important information to help you understand whether or not your marketing messaging and brand identity are matching what your customers are concluding.
There are many possible questions that you could ask to better understand what your customers’ image of your brand is. Before exploring the questions that will provide you brand insights, let’s first have a look at why it’s important to know your customer’s brand perception.
Why are brand perception surveys important?
It’s important for any brand to understand how customers and prospects perceive it.
When you measure brand perception, you’re realising things about your brand that you might not even know about.
What underlying feelings do customers get from seeing your logo?
How easily can they recall your brand?
Do they trust your brand?
What level of brand loyalty do they have?
What brand qualities do your customers associate with your brand?
How do customers feel about your brand and its competitors?
Knowing all of this information will help you improve your marketing strategy and branding efforts so that your customers are getting the messages you’re trying to communicate.
You might be wondering when it’s best to run a brand perception survey. Is it something for the early stages of market research? Or perhaps is something to do right after you launch a marketing campaign?
Let’s find out.
When should you run a brand perception study?
It makes sense to run a brand perception study once your brand has been out in the market long enough to achieve reasonable brand awareness. After all, if most people have never actually heard of your brand, they’re not going to have any opinions about it.
Once you reach a stage where you’re running national marketing campaigns and have good distribution, you can start asking people what they think. It’s a great idea to run a brand perception survey prior to planning any new marketing strategy so that you have a clear idea of existing strengths and weaknesses.
It’s also a useful project to undertake before going out for funding or approaching strategic partnerships. It allows you to prove to stakeholders outside of your business how valuable your brand is – and the type of consumers who have an affinity with it.
If you don’t have the time or capacity to run a brand perception survey, you may wish to outsource this to a brand tracking agency.
Who should you send a brand perception survey to?
One thing brand managers often believe is that they should ask existing customers what they think about their brand.
While it is very important to know what they think, a reliable brand perception survey needs to go further than this. Bear in mind that existing clients have already experienced your marketing communications, liked what they saw, and decided to buy. But what about the people who decided not to buy?
Arguably, it’s those people who have the most valuable insights because something about their experience has put them off and made them think, ‘this brand is not for me’. And if those are people within your target audience, this could be a cause for concern. Because of this, you should always speak to customers and non-customers when running a brand perception survey (and with other types of research, like customer profiling).
You can do this with ease by using a self-service market research company like Attest, a tool that can give you access to 125 millionm people in 58 countries.
Using the Attest survey platform, you can select respondents according to a number of different demographic filters, so you’re only asking people who fall into your target market.
As a first step, you can begin your survey with a qualifying question to make sure only those respondents who are actually aware of your brand carry on with the survey. A qualifying question might look like this:
Q. Which of the following brands have you heard of, if any?
A. Your brand
Hot tip: (Remember to randomize your answer options so as not to bias your respondents’ choices.)
Those who answer Your brand will be qualified into the survey and shown the next question(s). Those who are unaware of your brand will be thanked for their time and exited, meaning you don’t have to waste money on responses that aren’t useful.
Track your brand (with expert help!)
Using Attest you get fast, accurate insights but you also get designated support from our in-house experts, to help you make smarter decisions for your brand
What should you ask in your brand perception survey?
First up, it’s important to find out if survey respondents are already customers or not so you can differentiate their answers.
You should include a question which asks if they have ever purchased your brand before. But rather than posing a simple yes or no question, you should dig a little deeper to understand how much experience they’ve had with your brand. A question might look like this:
Q. How often do you typically purchase [your brand]?
Every 2-6 months
Every 7-12 months
Less frequently than once a year
I’ve only purchased once before
I’ve never purchased before
The answer scale you include will depend on the products in your sector (i.e. people will buy soft drinks more frequently than they buy clothes).
You may want to use routing to direct respondents to different questions based on how they answered, for example, to ask those who have purchased your brand before about their experiences.
1. What type of products/services does [your brand] sell?
Why? The aim here is to find out if the respondent can correctly associate your brand name to what you do. This gives you an indication of the level of brand awareness that you have i.e. have they just heard of your company name or do they actually understand the nature of your business? Can they identify your product, services and solutions?
2. How would you describe [your brand] to a friend?
Why? Asking how a respondent would describe you to friends lets you hear in their own words what they think your brand offers and represents. Is your proposition easy or difficult for them to sum up? What language do they use? Look for the most frequently repeated words or phrases. Ways to visualise this data include putting it into a word cloud.
3. Which (if any) of the following traits do you associate with [your brand]?
Why? You’ll include a list ofbrand attributes you believe your brand possesses mixed with some conflicting ones. For example, ‘modern’ and ‘old-fashioned’. Do people select the traits you hope for? Which ones come out on top? You may discover that some desired traits are less dominant than others, showing you where messaging needs strengthening.
4. What emotions do you feel when you think about [your brand]?
Why? Traits are the qualities that your brand has, but emotions are the feelings that your brand stirs in others. It’s important to try to influence both with your marketing if you want to succeed because purchase decisions are often made in the heart and not in the head.
5. Who do you think [your brand] is aimed at?
Why? If you’ve been targeting a particular demographic, with marketing designed to appeal to them, this question will let you know how well you’re doing. Do the audience you’re surveying realise the brand is aimed at them or is there a misstep here?
6. Which (if any) of the following messages do you associate with [your brand]?
Why? This is where you can test awareness of your brand tagline, slogan or messaging from a specific campaign. You can also include messaging from competitors to understand if there’s any confusion between your brand and others. How differentiated is your brand’s voice in the crowd?
7. Where do you think [your brand] sits in the market?
Why? You can provide a scale from ‘high-end’ to ‘low-end’ to see if you are projecting the right brand image. Do consumers consider your brand mid-range, even though you’re aiming for prestige? This indicates that you need to tweak things like your pricing, packaging and store placement.
8. What do you think about [your brand]’s pricing?
Why? Asking your target demographic if they perceive your brand as expensive, reasonable or cheap lets you find out if you’ve pitched your pricing right. You can also ask respondents to rate the perceived quality of your brand to see if there’s any mismatch between quality and price – i.e. people think your brand is too expensive because it’s low quality or they think it is high quality at a cheap price.
9. What do you think about [your brand]’s advertising?
Why? This question lets you understand if you’re hitting the right mark with your marketing. You can tailor the answers to find out if people like or dislike it, what traits they associate with your marketing or even how memorable they think it is. You can also expand the process bycarrying out creative testing before running your next campaign to make sure it’s on-brand.
10. What words would you use to describe [your brand]’s packaging?
Why? By embedding imagery of your packaging into your survey, you can get feedback on its design. Does your packaging reflect your desired brand traits? Is there anything about it that’s out of alignment? To explore perceptions about your packaging in more detail, consider carrying out apackaging design testing survey.
It’s worth noting that you can also ask any of these questions in respect to a competitor’s brand, not just your own. This allows you to make direct comparisons between how your brand is perceived and how your competitors are perceived and can add extra depth to your market research.
Looking for some real-life packaging testing examples? Here are some top brands who used consumer insights to test their beverage branding ideas.
11. What [your brand] product/service have you used? How did you like it?
Why? This question helps you know which of your respondents have used your products. This is an important classification step because it allows you to understand who your customers are and which products define their perception of your brand.
You could realise with this question that those who use product X have a much more positive perception than those who use product Y. This will allow you to investigate where the problem is and solve it properly.
12. What is the first brand you think of when you think of [your brand’s product/service type]?
Why? This question, although more in line for a brand awareness survey, helps you see if your customers can immediately relate your brand to your product type. After all, you don’t want people to only think of your brand when they see an advertisement. No. You want them to immediately think of your brand when they’re looking for your product or service category.
13. How did you hear about [brand] in the first place?
Why? This question allows you to understand how your customers came to your brand. This, in turn, will tell you whether they had a positive impression from the first moment because they were recommended by a friend, or whether they found you thanks to your successful content strategy. It can even tell you if they first heard about you because they were looking for a solution at a certain price point.
All the information you can gather with this question will help you understand how customers perceive you and how your marketing efforts and sales cycle are working.
14. What negative experiences have you had with [your brand]?
Why? By asking this question you’ll be able to understand what circumstances can be harming your brand’s perception. It helps you to understand how resilient your brand is when you consider the severity of the negative experience and the impact on your brand’s perception.
15. What’s your experience with [your brand]’s customer service?
Why? Customer experience is a big part of brand perception. By understanding how they have directly interacted with the brand and its customer service, you’ll be able to gather valuable insight into your customers’ perception of your brand.
Brand perception survey question types
To get the most useful results from your brand perception survey, you should design it with a variety of question types. The question-and-answer format you choose will dictate whether the data you collect is‘quantitative’ or ‘qualitative’.
Quantitative responses are those that can be reported as a number, i.e. 62.8% of respondents selected answer A.
Qualitative responses are those given to open-text questions. People answer in their own words, and no predefined answers are provided.
Having a mixture of both types will give you the best understanding of your brand perception. Quantitative questions let you set perimeters so you can measure perceptions around specific traits or receive responses in a standardised way that’s easy to analyse. Meanwhile, qualitative questions allow you to collect unbiased feedback and provide colour and context around the numeric data.
You can use the following question types for your surveys with Attest:
Ranking – i.e. ask consumers to rank traits in order of how strongly they associate them with your brand
Scales – i.e. ask people to select how much they agree or disagree with a statement about your brand
Net Promoter Score – i.e. ask respondents how likely they are to recommend your brand to friends on a scale of 1-10 in order to get your NPS
Top brand perception survey tips, to help you get the best quality insights
Incorporating a variety of question types into your brand perception survey will not only give you richer data, but it will also make it more engaging for your respondents.
You can also maximize engagement by keeping your survey to between 10-12 questions – so it takes no more than five minutes to complete.
Let people know at the beginning how long the survey is likely to take. This will help to manage their expectations and maintain their attention. You want respondents to give your questions proper consideration rather than starting to rush through them. Attest lets you add message cards throughout your survey to break it into sections and keep respondents tuned-in.
Include answer options like ‘don’t know’, ‘N/A’ or ‘none’ to cater for people who are less familiar with your brand and will therefore be unable to truthfully answer some questions. This will help to maintain your data quality.
Finally, before you hit ‘go’ on your brand perception survey, check that it’s well-designed and makes sense to the average person by having someone outside of your team (or even your organisation) demo it.
If you’re struggling to find the right questions to ask and customers to answer, you might need the help of a dedicated customer insights platform. We’ve compiled a list of the top Qualtrics alternatives for sending brand perception surveys.
Examples of brand perception surveys
Want to see what a brand perception survey actually looks like? Check out these interactive examples below. You can play around with the demographic filters to see how it changes the results.
Vitamins, minerals and supplements perception survey
This survey example shows how awareness and perception from UK consumers towards various vitamin brands.
Almond Breeze almond milk
Here you can see people’s purchase intent from this example survey to UK consumers about plant-based milk brands.
Brand perception survey template
If you’re looking to get started quickly, we’ve created abrand perception survey template, pre-populated with the key questions to uncover what people think about your brand. The template can be easily edited so you can adapt it to your needs.
Ready to get started with your brand perception survey?
With Attest, you can be up and running in no time at all.Sign up now and check out our easy-to-use survey builder orbook an intro to the platform to have one of our research experts talk you through it.
We’re already working with companies like Unilever, Ocado and Wise, helping them manage their brands more effectively. Start taking control of your brand by launching a brand perception survey today.
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Elliot joined Attest in 2019 and has dedicated his career to working with brands carrying out market research. At Attest Elliot takes a leading role in the Customer Research Team, to support customers as they uncover insights and new areas for growth.