June 28th 2022

Your Brand Name's Impact on Customer Perception

Your Brand Name's Impact on Customer Perception

The way people perceive your brand has a significant effect on how well you grow. If your brand name doesn’t match what you do or is too difficult to remember, you might lose customers before they ever find you.

Fortunately, you can rebrand or use other methods to increase awareness and take your business’s recognition to the next level.

Why Is a Brand Name Important to Customers?

The Small Business Administration estimates there are over 32 million small businesses in the United States. Figuring out which companies align with your values takes a lot of research. Once consumers find a business that stands for what they believe in and offers a quality product, they tend to be fairly loyal.

Your brand name can make you seem serious or fun. It can be linked to a great reputation or a poor one. It might even confuse people if it is too similar to another company’s name.

Here are some tips to help improve your brand name’s impact and the perception you have on your target audience.

1. Choose a Memorable Name

Whether you create an entirely new word or combine existing ones, think about the natural language people use when talking about your type of product.

For example, the name Swiffer helped make the product a household name. It is familiar-sounding, because of the word “sweep” but then plays on that word showing how the process with the product is quicker than without. The product outperformed its competitor by 500%, much of the success due to the name.

2. Conduct a Brand Perception Survey

One of the best ways to see how your brand name resonates with your audience is to survey them. Ask them what the name makes them think of. Does the name sound similar to any others they do business with?

You can also use some word association exercises to see what other words they think of when they hear your company’s nomer.

3. Study Popular Brands

Thinking about the branding of some of the more iconic brands of today can help give you ideas for your own name. Do you want to reach the younger generation? Studies show they’re highly educated, with around 57% of them enrolling in college compared to only 43% of Gen-Xers.

Companies such as Starbucks, Snapchat and Coca-Cola all serve as easily recognizable names for various reasons. Think about which works best for your industry and how you might come up with something as memorable.

How do these brands protect their name and image over time? Has anything changed from when they opened their doors?

4. Identify Your Audience

Knowing who your audience is and how they relate to words can make the difference in brand perception. For example, those grieving may not react well to words related to death or sadness. Take the time to write out user personas. Seek control groups and see how the audience you want to target response to different names and branding efforts.

You can base your buyer persona on internal information about your current customers. You should also seek out information that is more general in nature by looking at who follows your competitors or thinking through what types of people might be interested in your product.

For example, if you sell memorial stones, you might currently market to Gen-Xers whose parents have passed. However, there may be other categories of potential customers, such as those wishing to memorialize a young person who passed or parents and spouses of soldiers killed in battle.

Do your research on each potential segment and see how they might react to your branding and reputation. What do you need to adjust to reach them and make a positive impression?

5. Resonate With Your Customers

Link Once you have a buyer persona or two, think about the best ways to resonate with them. In the past, your brand reputation could carry you a long way. In today’s marketing environment, though, it’s more important to reach your audience on a personal level.

Think about the colours, emotions, language and imagery you must invoke to make a positive impression. Using psychology helps you make a connection with your buyers no matter what your brand name is.

6. Take Constructive Criticism

Does your name make people think of poop? If your customers keep making comments about your brand name or image, pay attention to what they’re saying. One person complaining might not seem like a lot, but keep in mind all the others who feel similar and never say anything.

Companies with a poor reputation might also consider rebranding and coming up with a new name. Although you can do damage control, sometimes it is easier to refresh and start new. Getting rid of a name with negative associations might encourage people to give your brand another try.

Work on Recognition

The most creative and interesting brand name won’t go far if people have never heard of you. Get out in your local community. Sponsor a little league team. Attend a local art fair and pass out freebies. Look for ways to connect with your town.

At the same time, take out ads on social media and have a strong presence. Answer questions in your industry without any expectation of people buying from you. Support causes you to believe in and that your customers care about.

You should also work on getting positive feedback going. Most people search online for reviews from their peers before they make a decision to buy. Ask your loyal customers to write a review on Google or another review platform. The more exposure you receive, the more likely someone will give your business a try. Your name is everything, but you can enhance it even more with a little effort.

Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. 

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