Changing Brand Perceptions

by Brad VanAuken, BrandForward, Inc.

Brand perceptions are much more often created by the product or service experience itself than from marketing communication. Marketing communication is much more effective in building brand awareness than it is in creating or changing brand perceptions. That is not to say that marketing communication cannot be used to help change perceptions, but it can’t do it alone and it can’t do it in the absence of real changes in the product or service experience. So, when a brand perception is negative and requires a change, that change is likely to include one or more of the following:

competitive strategy
business model
vertical or horizontal integration
hours
pricing strategy
distribution strategy
product functions, features and styling
product line breadth and depth
bundling/unbundling of products and services
product/service customization
amenities
customer service, including problem handling
technical support
internal culture
employee hiring criteria
employee training
performance metrics
common measures
internal systems and procedures
capital investments

These all require the support of the organization’s CEO and his or her leadership team. So the main point in this post is that brand repositioning is not just a marketing activity. It goes well beyond marketing communication and requires real changes in product/service delivery across multiple functions. This is an enterprise-wide activity that must be driven from the top to be successful.

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