It’s Important to Map Perceptions, Not Reality
No doubt you have heard of the saying, “perception is reality”. (Find out more here.)
And when it comes to perceptual maps, it is important that we map perceptions – not reality. In this article, we will discuss the difference and why it’s important in understanding the marketplace and consumers.
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Why Not Map Reality, or How Brands Really Are?
Let’s take an example of a bank that conducted an image survey to understand how their bank is perceived in the market.
One of the attributes they asked was how friendly or aloof they are their competitors were and they also asked respondents to rate each bank on a scale of very safe to less safe.
Based on the results, they produced a perceptual map that showed their key competitor as relatively safe and friendly, while their bank was perceived as slightly aloof and far less safe.
When the management saw the results, they were surprised and claimed that the data was wrong. They argued that their bank was safer than their key competitor, and they were the friendly bank.
They claimed that their financials, reserves, and liquidity management were much better than their key competitor, and they should be placed higher on the perceptual map.
This situation highlights a common problem with mapping reality. Often, management’s perception of their brand is different from how the market perceives it.
While the financial analysis may indicate that the bank is safer, the consumer perception may be that the competitor is safer. But reality is not what matters when mapping perceptions; what matters is how the consumers see the brand.
The Importance of Mapping Perceptions
Perception is reality and this is where the importance of mapping perceptions comes in.
Perception is how the market, the target audience, or the customers view the brand. Perceptions are based on various factors, including past experiences, media, reviews, and other factors, and they may not always align with reality.
Mapping perceptions helps companies understand how their brand is perceived in the market.
For example, perceptual can provide the following benefits:
- It helps companies to identify how the target audience perceives their brand, which is crucial in developing a marketing communication strategy that resonates with the target audience.
- When companies map their perceptions, they gain insights into the market and understand what they need to do to improve their brand image.
- Perceptual maps help companies identify how they compare against their competitors.
- They help companies to identify the gaps and improve their offerings to match their competitor’s offerings.
- Perceptual maps are an excellent tool for developing marketing strategies, communication plans, and product development plans.
Fixing Communication Problems
Mapping perceptions help companies identify communication problems with their target audience.
For example, if a company perceives itself as the friendly bank, but the market perceives it as aloof, it highlights a communication problem. The company needs to identify why the communication is not resonating with the target audience and how they can fix the problem.
The company may need to focus on the communication channels they are using, the tone of their communication, or the messaging they are using.
They may need to identify their competitors’ communication strategy and see how they can differentiate themselves from their competitors.
By mapping perceptions, companies can identify communication problems and develop effective communication strategies to resonate with their target audience.
Mapping perceptions is an essential tool for companies to understand how their brand is perceived in the market.
While the reality may indicate that the company is better than their competitors, the market perception may be different. And consumer perception is what we are trying to identify using perceptual maps.
While you are here at Perceptual Maps 4 Marketing, don’t forget to grab the free Excel template for producing perceptual maps – a very valuable tool for all marketers.
- What is a Perceptual Map?
- Difference between a perceptual map and a positioning map
- Example Perceptual Maps
- How to Effectively Use Perceptual Maps
- Perceptual Maps: Best Practice
- Top 12 Tips for Using Perceptual Maps