Any salesperson can tell you that closing a sale, especially in the digital media space, involves an endless number of steps. While these steps, which include research, preparing, prospecting, presenting, etc, are all aimed at closing a sale, there is a significant difference between converting a consumer from a position of unawareness to a sale versus converting a consumer who is brand conscious into a sale.
“Did you know that how consumers feel about your brand or product could potentially make or break the entire sales process?” In a nutshell, this is what brand perception is all about says Aqsa Qureshi, the Premium channel manager at HIVE.
Qureshi says that it’s beneficial that remember that it’s not just brand messaging that steers the ship. Consumer interactions, first-hand experiences, and opinions from others (both digitally and physically) are important determining factors brand perception.
Qureshi states that the most important thing to understand, especially in the modern advertising age is that the consumer, not the business determines brand perception.
Brand perception is the way that a target audience perceives a brand based on what a brand says and how the brand says it (i.e., brand messaging).
Key influencing factors of brand perception
- Brand perception is not about what you portray as a business. It’s about what consumers believe about your brand and the products & services you supply. Consumers choose you; you don’t get to choose them.
- There is not only a direct correlation between sales and the quality of a product or service, but also a direct correlation between sales and the perception a consumer has with the brand. Simply put, positive brand perception means consumers are more likely to choose your business over a competitor.
Elements that can make or break consumer perception:
- Advertising: What’s the content and tone of your messaging, which platforms are you using to relay these messages? Do these messages align with your brand persona?
- Price: Does your pricing model match the quality of your products and services?
- Personal experience: Personal experience not only speaks about Customer Relationship Management (CRM), but also refers to first-hand interaction (physically or digitally) that consumers have experienced with you brand. Given high market saturation in the new digital age, brands need to cleverly compete for positive mindshare to gain brand equity. Every brand wants prospective customers to always consider their products when they are in-market, but not every brand is investing in brand equity campaigns.
Brand perception impacts a company’s bottom line – a lot, which is why companies need to invest in long-term brand equity campaigns to ensure continued sales and consumer loyalty.
Qureshi states that “The holistic and strategic goal of companies’ brand campaigns should be to ensure better brand perception in order to gain increased brand equity in the market.”
What is brand equity?
Brand equity generally speaks to the premium value earned from brand recognition and positive brand perception. Higher brand equity is usually enjoyed by positively perceived and accepted brand compared to lesser-known and negative sentiment brands.
Advantages of strong brand equity:
Strong Brand Recognition: When you invest in brand equity campaigns you will have people constantly seeing your logo in an advertising journey. Having positive brand equity can help make it easier for you to grow your business in your main market, as well as in new markets.
Brand Preference: By helping consumers remember your brand through means of positive engagements, you increase chances of your brand being the brand that consumers prefer over other brands. Consumers tend to prefer brands that they perceive more favourably.
In market purchase consideration: Brands who have strong brand equity along with high positive perception will enjoy high consumers top-of-mind product awareness. This means that consumers will most-likely have your brand instantly come to mind when they are in-market purchasing in your category.
Competitive Advantage: In all honesty, the only people who won’t be happy about your company’s positive brand equity will be your competitors. Positive brand equity will mean that customers are willing to pay a premium price for your products or services. Positive brand equity in the long term will translate into customers willing to try your new product without question, just because it has your logo on it.
Creating positive perception and strong brand equity with Wi-Fi sponsorships
One example of a clever brand equity campaign that can boost your business bottom line – in tangible and intangible ways is Wi-Fi sponsorships.
Hive brings you Think Wi-Fi
Hive has partnered with Think Wi-Fi to offer our clients the ability to build positive brand awareness and strong brand equity in never before reached markets (with a combined spending power of R26Bn).
Think Wi-Fi provides internet access to communities and market segments which are economically, socially and historically disadvantaged.
New-age digital marketing and trends in South Africa have brought an opportunity to rethink how location-based marketing budgets are allocated and to invest in sponsored Wi-Fi services.
It goes without saying that subsidised internet access enables brands to increase awareness, create positive equity through positive mindshare, and attract business.
Many brands depend on their online advocates, who are over-represented in lower income brackets.
“Wi-Fi has become a new age basic service that many South Africans cannot afford, or have access to. More businesses need to be conscious of this and make a difference by recognising this innovative and impactful branding opportunity. Wi-Fi sponsorships are not only a great way to strengthen brand equity and positive brand perception, but it is also a great opportunity towards building a better and more connected South Africa especially for low-income communities, emphasises Aqsa Qureshi. ”
Brands, therefore need to make strategic investments in internet access to engage with this demographic. The benefits accrued in investing in sponsored Wi-Fi campaigns with Think Wi-Fi include broadened awareness, in-market purchase consideration, positive brand perception and massive loyal long-term sales.
Think Wi-Fi gives brands access to lower-income market segments where internet can be subsidised. Brands are reaching an audience who values connectivity (and the brand who provides it to them). In addition, Think Wi-Fi has a wealth of knowledge and expertise and can encourage action with this knowledge on when, where, and why consumers are accessing the Internet.
With Think Wi-Fi campaigns, brands enjoy the privilege of choosing to place sponsored Wi-Fi zones in geo-targeted locations close to, or even within their stores. With Think Wi-Fi brands can successfully deliver targeted, relevant messaging about the brand and related things like products and stores.
Brands are able to push tailored messages which take users, especially price and discount conscious ones, to touchpoints (Think Zones) such as stores, kiosks, taverns and within communities.
It is clear that internet connectivity is a big deal to many South Africans. Brands can tap into this incredible opportunity to make access possible while reaping the rewards of increased brand & product exposure and most importantly a long-term increase in their bottom line.
This partnership between Hive Digital Media and Think Wi-Fi is definitely the best way for brands to do their brand equity marketing. For more on Think Wi-Fi product, you can contact the Hive team at [email protected].