Is Your Brand a “No Brainer”?
Is Your Brand a “No Brainer”?
Understanding the Brand Customer Perception Pyramid
The meaning of brands resides largely in the emotional mindset of the consumer or buyer. What you stand for in terms of value, quality, relevance, performance and meaning, is largely up to them to define based on all that you put forth as a brand.
There exists within people whether they are buyers of business or consumer goods and services a hierarchy of perception – a pyramid of sorts – that helps them categorize and define you.
It is important to remember that all that you do, or don’t do, as a brand will impact where you reside and how high you might climb. It’s also important to remember that every interaction with audiences – whether in person, on line, on the phone, or through marketing communications – is an opportunity to take your brand one step higher on the pyramid.
The more you understand the seven levels of the pyramid of brand perception, the better you can define where you reside; and most important, what you must do as an organization or brand to climb higher.
The seven levels and their explanation as seen through the eyes of the target audience are:
- Invisible: The target audience does not recognize the brand, its existence, value or relevance. The brand could be working harder to create more awareness so that it can, at the very least, be included in the buyer’s awareness set.
- Presence: The target audience acknowledges that the brand exists, but has yet to “connect the dots” as to how the brand might be relevant, beneficial, or represent an advantage. The brand could be working harder to demonstrate direct relevance or applicability to the audience, so it’s less a concern of “Nobody KNOWS us” and more a case of “What do people THINK about us”?
- Relevance: The target audience basically “gets it” with respect to what the brand is, and how it meets their needs. The brand is an accepted part of the buyer’s consideration set, but is not yet seen as unique, better, or different than other providers. The brand could be working harder to differentiate itself as an uncommon solution in the field of competition, and avoid commoditization.
- Performance: The target audience identifies the brand as a proven, quality offering or solution that gets the job done. The track record has been established, and buyers basically have an established expectation of quality. The brand could be working harder to demonstrate superiority, as not only an uncommon solution, but one that is simply better than the rest.
- Advantage: The target audience has been around the block and has tried or experienced several brands in the category. This group, usually more savvy and seasoned buyers, has realized – largely through experience – that the brand is “best in class.” The brand could be working harder to immerse itself in the buyer’s lifestyle or business.
- Bonding: The target audience has adopted – whether consciously or unconsciously – the brand as the preferred solution to its need. The brand has proven itself and established itself as “the one.” It has become the “go to” or “turn to” brand of choice. The field of competition is seen largely as distant and less suitable, and the buyer has become not only a loyal user, but a happy advocate. At this point, the brand could be working harder to continuously reaffirm its status, stay relevant, and further intertwine itself into the buyer’s world. This could be accomplished through line extensions, complementary products or services, or increased integration of solutions.
- Leadership: The target audience considers the brand as a “no brainer,” meaning he or she no longer even thinks about other options. The brand has become an integrated part of the buyer’s business or lifestyle. In the battle to win the buyer’s total mindshare, the brand has won. Even so, the brand must continue to maintain that trust, because humans are funny creatures; they can and do forget from time to time.
To experience this type of analysis and more, check out our Brand Leadership Solution, our proprietary process for developing, redeveloping or revitalizing b2c and b2b organizational, service or product brands, or view case studies of some of the many brands built or rebuilt by Delia Associates.