You should always have this voice in your head when crafting a new marketing strategy, and it shouldn’t (just) be your inner critic: it should be your customer.
What would your brand and products look like if your customers were the CEO? It might sound like a ridiculous fantasy, but having their needs and wishes at the forefront of your strategy will be what make you their go-to brand. Every. Single. Time.
Brand preference is a complex concept, because you can often not predict whether trends or friends are more important when choosing who to shop with. But how do you learn about your customers’ preferences?
Time to launch a brand preference survey and find out what makes them tick and what would make them stick. In this article, we’ll specifically focus on brand preference questions that revolve around customer loyalty. Ready to launch a kick-ass brand perception survey for your market research?
Why are brand preference surveys important?
If you know why customers choose your brand—or any brand—you can use that knowledge, get one step ahead and become their first choice.
It’s crucial that you know their motives for choosing a brand: it’s rarely random. A brand preference survey reveals what could bind consumers to your brand.
Brand preference and customer loyalty are obviously closely knit: knowing what people prefer, will help you create a brand they want to be loyal to.
But can you even measure customer loyalty through a brand perception survey?
Of course you can, with the right questions—and by combining the answers with the right metrics.
With a brand preference survey, you can measure the non-quantifiable part of customer loyalty—their motives, their thoughts, their wishes. If you combine this with the metrics below, you get a full picture of customer loyalty around your brand.
The Experts’ Guide to Brand Tracking
How to look at the impact of things like audience reach, panel diversity, and survey design to help you decide whether your current brand tracker is up to scratch.
One of the most widely known customer loyalty metrics is the CVL. It’s the sum of how much value a customer will bring to your brand in the entire time they shop with you. In other words: how much money they’ll spend on you.
Consider how important this is for car brands, for instance. If someone can be converted into a hyper-loyal Mercedes-Benz driver, it will guarantee the business a big CVL, with a very high ROI.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
How likely are you to recommend us to friends, family, colleagues? It’s one of the most-asked questions by businesses, and it’s an important one.
Your NPS goes beyond loyalty and lets you find out whether people are willing to be brand ambassadors, recommending you to others. Who wouldn’t want some free salespeople?
On the other side of the scale, however, you find out if there are people who could harm your brand by badmouthing you to their nearest and dearest. It’s essential to find out the motives of both.
Repeat Purchase Rate
How many people buy from you more than once? This is an important one, especially for goods that people are meant to buy more often.
If you get a lot of new business, but rarely anyone sticks around for a second purchase, it could mean that your product or service, or your marketing messaging or overall customer experience aren’t a match and people are disappointed.
Let’s close the list with an important metric in advanced customer loyalty, the upsell ratio.
Picture Apple users for a second. If you have an iPhone, it’s likely that you have AirPods, and not some other brands of headphones. You might work from a MacBook, because well, it simply works better with your phone, right? That Apple TV is just the next logical step.
And so, the list goes on. The upsell ratio is all about selling customers not more of the same product, but additional products or services.
When combining these metrics with data on reasons people buy from you, you get a goldmine of information that will help you improve marketing, products, customer service and so on.
How do you get that other data? With a survey. Let’s move on to the survey questions that you could be asking to identify what loyal customers are really thinking about your brand image and product features.
Brand perception survey questions
The brand perception survey questions below will give you valuable insights into how consumers perceive your brand and how well consumers connect to it, but it’s not a matter of copying and pasting this list in a survey.
It’s important that you choose and add questions that are specific to your market research goals, that match the place in the customer journey your target audience is in, and that you use your own words to stay on brand—because a survey is just another opportunity to show off your brand qualities.
Now that we’ve got that out the way, here are some brand perception survey questions for your next brand preference or brand perception survey.
1. For how long have you been aware of X Brand?
Let’s start at the beginning. If your brand has been around for a long time, and someone has only recently learned about you—what has changed in your branding? Or was it simply that they didn’t fit in your target group before?
Give your respondents options here, and make clear it’s an approximate. You could even remind them of specific campaigns or product launches from the past.
Asking this question can be interesting if your brand has a longer track record, and you want to investigate how any changes in either your marketing or products have influenced your customers’ loyalty. But for that, you need to know if they knew about the changes, about the ‘old’ you.
2. When was the first time you bought from X Brand?
This question is connected to the first one and a useful follow up. If someone knew about your brand for a long time but it took them a while to buy from you, it can be interesting to dive into that period between first locking eyes and sealing the deal. Were they simply not convinced by your brand? Did their needs change? Did your brand change?
3. Why did you decide to buy from X Brand?
If you’ve finally convinced someone to buy from your brand, it’s good to know what gave them the last push.
Note that their first reason might not be the same as the reason they are still buying from you, so you could follow up with a question about that.
4. Thinking about X Brand, name all the types of products it sells.
With an open-text question like this you’ll find out what people think your brand actually sells when they aren’t prompted with cues. You’ll learn about certain products or product categories that are valuable to your brand, and you’ll also find out whether that big specific product campaign you’ve published has had any effect.
5. What would make you switch to a competitor?
Is someone’s loyalty simply based on price? You can give respondents multiple options here, such as proximity, or certain features, to gauge what makes them loyal to a brand, and find out what you should be competing on.
6. Which of the following statements do you associate with X Brand?
How does your brand make people feel? By offering a list of emotive responses here you’ll get an understanding of the vibe customers get from your brand. And with that you’ll know whether your marketing and branding strategies are working or whether you need to give them a rethink.
Here are some possible answer options you could use for a question on brand perception like this:
It offers quality products
It’s good value
7. On a scale of 1-10 how do you rate X Brand’s customer service?
For this question, you want to pick a few competitors who sell similar products, and have a little competition. That’s right: have them rate competitors as well, using the same question format. You can include a scale that measures different aspects, from customer service to price-quality.
8. Which of the following, if any, have you purchased in the past 12 months?
Present respondents with a list of options here, of products that are relevant: it doesn’t have to be the exact same products, but also substitutes or complementary products.
9. How likely would you be to recommend X Brand’s products to others?
Ah, there’s the NPS!
We had to include it in this list, because it’s a must-have in any brand preference or brand perception survey. The NPS divides your respondents into three levels of loyalty:
Detractors, the ones who would recommend others not to buy from you
Passives, who don’t say anything about your brand at all
Promoters, who want to recommend your brand to others.
It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to be a promoter for your brand (although that shouldn’t mean you don’t strive for promoters), so it’s important to find out why some people wouldn’t recommend your brand to others. Don’t just focus on the positives!
10. How likely are you to continue using the services from X Brand?
Maybe someone was loyal up to the point they last bought from you, but now something has changed. Or they happily continue being your customer. Both scenarios are important to investigate, and this question kicks it off perfectly.
11. How interested would you be in checking out other products or services from X Brand?
Is someone loyal to your brand because of one specific product, or do they trust that your brand could fulfil other needs as well? Think back to those Apple fans for this question, and you see how essential it is to build brand trust.
12. Complete the following sentence: I think X Brand is…
If you ask people how they feel about a brand, they’re probably lost for words. So for this question, present them with a list of adjectives, both positive, neutral and negative, to find out what people think about your brand.
13. What are the top three features that are most valuable to you in [specific product]?
This is not just for flattery—asking your respondents this will show you what you have to double down on and, more importantly, what not to change. Give them a list of features to choose from that your product team can also work with and understands what it is: you want to avoid people naming features that you don’t recognize or aren’t sure about what they mean.
14. If you could change just one thing about [specific product], what would it be?
Don’t assume customer loyalty lasts forever—also ask questions that investigate what they don’t like about your product. This style of survey question keeps the negative connotation out but can give you a clear picture of what they don’t like or what you’re lacking.
15. How often do you use X Brand’s products or services?
Are they seemingly loyal to you, but also mix it up with other brands? Do they religiously only use your product? Or was this just a one-time thing? This type of question should give you some answers. Give them several options to choose from to categorize your users.
16. How would you feel if you could no longer use X Brand’s product or service?
We know for a fact that some people would have a minor meltdown if Apple’s next radical move would be to simply stop selling any products.
This question will help you gauge the intensity of customer loyalty to your brand. If you’re leaving the market and that would leave them feeling indifferent, it’s time to step up your game.
17. What makes you feel valued as a customer?
We’re finishing the list off with this banger: how could you make your customers feel more valued, thus making them more loyal?
In some cases, people want to receive rewards, or can be incentivized into being loyal. Other times, they just want customer service to be attentive, or to have a say in how your products or services are shaped.
How is your brand performing over time?
Understand how consumer preference and opinion changes over time with a continuous brand tracker
Before you start crafting your very own brand preference survey, take a step back and look at these tips to make your market research a success.
Mix things up
The questions we showed above are a mix of open, closed and scale questions, and it’s important that you mix things up in your survey as well. It might be tempting to only ask open-ended questions, thinking you’ll get a lot of valuable insight, but people might get bored or tired after a long list of open-ended questions.
Keep people interested with a genuinely interesting survey experience.
Add something to reward loyalty and assistance
For branded surveys, it could be fun to reward respondents for participating. This is another way of thanking them for their loyalty, which is completely in line with the survey.
Learn about what your customers don’t like
Don’t just focus your questions on what your customers prefer, also find out what they don’t like. After all, it’s easier to break loyalty than to build it, so be wary of what might ruin your relationships.
Combine brand perception with other data
Your survey should match the metrics you already have or want clarified about customer loyalty.
For instance, if you compare your CLV data and upsell ratio and see that a certain audience group spends more than others, a brand preference survey can give you some interesting information on that.
Who to send your brand preference survey to?
How do you select the right audience for your brand perception survey? With the focus on loyalty here, it’s important that you survey people who’ve bought from you at least twice.
Your target customers have experience with your brand and their customer satisfaction isn’t based on a one-time experience.
Depending on your market research, for instance, if you’re thinking of launching a new product or brand, you could also be interested in people’s loyalty to competitor brands in the current market. This means you can find current customers in a specific product category and find out if they’re too loyal, or if you could steal them from the competition.
For these kinds of brand perception surveys, it’s less valuable to target non customers who have no experience within your own product category or a particular product. Luckily, Attest lets you hyper-specialize when it comes to selecting the right audience for your survey.
Before you go: here’s what will make your brand preference survey even better
Finding out what your target market wants is easier said than done—but it all starts by simply asking, and using online consumer surveys is the easiest way to do that.
Attest comes with all the tools you need to start the conversation, and analyze the results of your brand perception survey. Start with tweaking our brand tracking templates and see how easy it is to measure brand preference and customer loyalty!
And to give you the perfect intro, here’s our quick summary of brand tracking and how you can use it to properly understand what consumers think about your brand over time.
FAQs about brand perception survey
1. What questions should I ask in a brand preference survey?
In a brand preference survey, you gauge to what extent consumers prefer a certain brand over others. You will have to ask questions about competitor brands, preferences in products and shopping and their intentions when it comes to repeat purchases. Ask the right questions (and get the best insights) with our brand tracker template.
2. How do you measure brand preference in a survey?
Mix metrics with questions that give context to the data to get a clear view of your brand perception. Dive into the reasons people buy from you more often with open-ended questions and comparisons to your competitors. For detailed insights, try our brand tracker template.
3. How can brand awareness be improved?
Improving the channels and being consistent in marketing messaging and branding can help you stay top of mind in your target audience, aiding both in brand awareness and brand preference.
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.