A brand’s reputation is everything, and that’s more true now than ever before. We’re living in an age where the popularity of a brand can explode or collapse overnight, whether it’s an unexpected boom resulting from a viral video or a downturn following a boycott. It’s important for brands to understand what the public thinks about them. And if those perceptions change, they must be the first ones to find out.

So, how do they get that information? How do modern brands know what the public thinks about them? And more importantly, how can you use the same methods to discover what customers are saying about you?

Use Media Monitoring

Whether you’re tracking competitors to understand their influence or keeping tabs on customers, media monitoring is a powerful PR and marketing tool for brands of all sizes.

In essence, it works by finding, tracking, and monitoring an organisation’s reputation. It can help to answer questions such as:

  • How popular is the brand compared to its competitors and which brands have the largest share of customer interest (known as share of voice analysis)?
  • How are social media users responding to the brand and its products/services?
  • Where are sales coming from?
  • What are previous and current customers saying about the brand?
  • What are journalists writing about it?

Just as importantly, media monitoring can be used as part of a crisis management plan. It can highlight potential issues and deal with them before they snowball out of control.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Your customers can tell you what you need to know about your site, products/services, and quality of customer support. However, if you’re not phrasing the question correctly then you won’t get the answers you need.

For instance, asking a customer “did you enjoy your experience today?” and then giving them a “yes” or “no” option isn’t going to tell you anything. Happy customers will click “yes”. Indifferent customers will ignore it. Angry customers will hit “no” and then leave without telling you why.

You end up with a lot of yeses, a few no’s, and no useful information.

Instead, ask them an open-ended question and let them write an answer.

Questions such as “is there any area in which we can improve?” will provide you with more qualitative data that you can turn into positive changes.

Find Customers Who Don’t Care

Long-term customers can tell you what you’re getting right. First-time customers can tell you what made them click that first link or make that first sale.

But what about all the customers who ignored your links? What about the ones that visited your site but didn’t make a purchase? This is one of the most important groups, and ignoring it is a type of survivorship bias, as you’re ignoring the largest and—arguably—the most important group.

Find a way to contact these people and ask them why they ignored your links or left your site.

Use abandoned cart emails, social media messages, and focus groups to reach these non-customers. You may also glean some helpful information using media monitoring.

Just remember that you don’t need to cater to all of these customers. Every brand has a specific demographic. Naturally, a lot of people won’t fall into that demographic.

If someone says that your prices are too high, it doesn’t mean that you immediately need to lower them. If someone says your product is not for them, it doesn’t mean it’s useless. Of course, if 100% of people claim that you’re too expensive and people from your target demographic hate your product, it’s a different story. But the comments of the few don’t equal the opinions of the many.

Reach Out to Recently Lost Customers

What happened to all of the customers who used your brand several times and then switched to a competitor or stopped entirely?

There are usually two main reasons for this: they forgot about you or you did something that they didn’t like.

Where the latter is concerned, you can discover what that “thing” is and then fix it. And if it’s the former, it could be time to adjust your remarketing methods.

Just because a customer makes a purchase and is happy with the outcome doesn’t mean they will remember you forever and return many times. There is a lot of competition out there and customers are bombarded with ads on a daily basis. They also have busy lives to lead. All of this means that it’s very easy for them to forget about you.

How to Change Public Perceptions

Discovering what people think about your brand is just the first step. The next move is to change those opinions to something more positive and/or suitable.

That’s where PR and marketing come in.

As an example, think about Old Spice. It’s a cologne that was associated with old men for decades. It was for dads and granddads, not young men. But then they hired a former NFL star, made the adverts sexy and cool, and perceptions changed.

Fast food chains have also been effective at changing public perception. Starbucks went from a “low-cost, convenient chain” to a place that sold quality coffee; Subway was “cheap fast food” at first but then became something that could be eaten as part of a weight loss regime.

Of course, the bigger the brand and the deeper ingrained the perception, the harder it will be to initiate a change. But once you know what people think and why they think it, it’s always possible to change their minds.

Summary: Learning More About Your Brand

It’s fair to say that big multinational brands are the best when it comes to understanding how the public perceives their brand. They also have the experience and resources needed to manipulate those perceptions.

But you don’t need to have a globally recognised brand to learn what the public thinks about you.

Our media intelligence reports are accessible to brands of all sizes and can give you insights into media reports, social conversations, and more.

We use targeted methods based on your KPIs and metrics, ensuring that you get the information you’re looking for. So, if you want to know what people are saying about your brand, start your journey with us today.

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