What Factors Affect Brand Perception?

Malcolm Tatum

Brand perception is a term used to describe the way consumers view a particular brand of products. Depending on the circumstances, the perception of a given brand and the products marketed under that brand can be anywhere along a spectrum, ranging from very positive to highly negative. There are several factors that can influence brand perception, including consumer experience with a brand, the opinions of other consumers, the type of advertising used to promote the brand, and even shifts in the economy.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

One of the key elements with an impact on brand perception is the experience of the consumer who chooses to buy a product made under a certain brand. Assuming that the product works properly and meets consumer expectations, there is a good chance that the product will be purchased again in the future. At the same time, that positive experience will motivate that consumer to try other products marketed under the brand name, expecting to enjoy the same level of enjoyment and satisfaction obtained from the previous product.

Word of mouth can also play a significant role in brand perception. When consumers share positive or negative experiences regarding use of products marketed under a given brand, this will often have some impact on how others perceive not only those products but also the brands themselves. For example, if enough consumers find that the ketchup and mustard marketed under a certain brand are substandard in quality, there is a good chance that those hearing the complaints will assume that the pickle relish marketed under that same brand will also be substandard.

The advertising techniques used can also influence brand perception. Advertising that consumers find informative, interesting, and helpful will likely motivate them to try the product at least once. At the same time, advertising that is uninteresting, seems to have no real purpose, or in some way offends consumers will often help to create a negative perception of that brand and its product line, effectively motivating consumers to focus attention on the products offered by competitors.

Even the state of the economy can alter the brand perception of consumers. For example, the pricing of products marketed under a given brand may be considered satisfactory during a period of economic prosperity, but suddenly be considered too high during a recession or other type of economic downturn. Changes in economic circumstances may prompt consumers to switch to brands that are less expensive while still providing an acceptable level of satisfaction.

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There are also factors that affect brand perception that are outside of a company's control. All people form their perceptions based on previous experiences and their worldview. Sometimes, a brand may gain positive or negative perception, not because of anything the brand is doing but because of the current social and political developments.

For example, I have a friend who has stopped buying products of Israeli brands because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The brands themselves have not done anything to cause that. They didn't come out and say that they support what Israel is doing politically. But just because the owners are Israeli, my friend perceives them in a negative way.

So sometimes, perception is not in anyone's hands.


@discographer-- I think it is very effective. It's probably not as effective as customer reviews and feedback. But most people do form some idea about a brand and whether it is desirable or not based on the brand's advertisements. That's why it's so important for the advertisement to cater to the target audience-- the people who are most likely to be interested in their products.

I think that the most important factor though is customer feedback. It doesn't matter how great a consumer perceives a brand, that perception will get tarnished if people say bad things about the brand. So at the end of the day, it all goes down to quality. A high quality product and a great customer service will maintain a positive brand perception like nothing else.


Really, how effective is advertisement in brand perception? I know that most brands have people working on specifically this -- changing or establishing brand perception through ads, logos, etc. But does it really work?

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