Market perception is the consumer response to a company’s products and services. A company with positive perception may be considered to offer products and services with good value, and to be a sound buy for investors. Negative impressions indicate that consumers and investors do not view a firm favorably. Companies can use a variety of tools to research consumer response and develop plans for improving their position in a given market.
Consumer impressions of firms play a key role in their success. A company with products and services considered to be of superior quality and value can earn a higher market share, and may attract interest in new endeavors as it expands. This is particularly important when market mavens, people believed to have an inside track on information, have a positive perception of a company. Early adopters in the tech industry, for example, can determine whether a new product catches on or is ignored by consumers.
Companies can use tools like surveys to gauge market perception. They may ask respondents to discuss their impressions of products and services and to provide information about where they could be improving. Another consideration may be how the company is perceived in comparison with the competition. Ideally, responses should be collected not just from current and past customers, but also members of the general public. People not familiar with a company can provide interesting information about market perception, as they let companies know what is circulating via word of mouth.
Advertising is one of the key tools used to shape market perception. Companies developing ad campaigns may meet to discuss goals and the kind of image they want to project to create ads that meet their needs. A law firm, for example, may not want to run frivolous, quirky advertisements like those that could work well for an Internet service provider, because it wants to project a reliable and established image. Consultants can help companies tailor ad campaigns and run ads in test markets to see how people respond.
If results suggest that a company has a significant negative image problem, it may need to take a variety of measures. Simple means to address poor market perception can include changing advertising strategies and getting involved in communities through scholarships, grants, and other outreach. Companies could also redesign products and services to respond to consumers. More dramatically, companies might decide to re-brand themselves, which can potentially include choosing new names to start fresh without the baggage associated with an old image.