In order for brands and businesses to succeed, they need to understand how stakeholder perception and consumer perception are so heavily linked, and why one can’t work without the other.
Brands must communicate effectively internally and gain a better understanding of all aspects of their own business before becoming successful among consumers.
And Matthew Hayes, Managing Director of Champions (UK) plc, a strategy-led brand agency explains why consumer perception is crucial when considering stakeholder perception.
Stakeholder perception: what is it?
Stakeholder perception is something many brands and businesses often forget to consider when targeting consumers.
In order to be truly successful and create the best customer experience possible, businesses must first begin their work internally.
First things first, businesses must understand which parts of their company need some work to improve efficiency and effectiveness. And not only that, but they need to know how to do so, too.
Businesses and their internal departments need to be encouraged to integrate as a stakeholder team and develop a better understanding of the business from all angles in order to work together effectively.
Stakeholders will also come across a number of challenges, but they must remember that communication is key and knowing the business inside and out will prove to be invaluable.
If brands are struggling with this, then enlisting the help of a brand agency and undergoing a detailed brand audit will help with this.
A brand agency will look at your business and consider all aspects to help you reach your full potential, from discovery right through to development and delivery.
With that in mind, businesses should also consider how their consumers are perceiving them. And if they don’t know, they need to find out.
There is a big difference between how businesses and stakeholders perceive themselves and how potential consumers perceive them, and it is vital that the two align.
Many businesses haven’t spent the time engaging with or surveying their consumers to find out their thoughts and how they perceive the brand, their products and services.
Once this has been considered, the decisions from then on must have an impact on consumers, providing them with the correct messaging. And the needs of a consumer are paramount to achieve success and should always be the focal point for any business.
Consumers are a priority, and utilising platforms such as the Five Second Test, can help brands and businesses to measure how effective, or ineffective their messaging is universally.
Consumer perception: the importance of it
Consumer sentiment is a pivotal tool within businesses. It allows brand owners and managers to pump up production, plan ahead and adjust their output depending on popular opinion and current trends.
But perhaps it has never been called into question more than during the coronavirus pandemic, when the economy came to a grinding halt and has only now begun to turn the cogs again.
Even without this, times are still changing and moving forwards, and at a rather fast pace at that. And with this, the needs of customers are continuing to change, meaning that consumer sentiment should play a key part of your marketing and communications strategy.
Although brands have digitised everything much quicker than they had anticipated, it is important that they remain personal and provide a humanistic element to ensure a connection with customers.
The values of brands should sit in line with those of the consumer. Ethics, social and political issues as well as the environment are all at the forefront of consumer’s lives, and brands should be utilising this to truly connect with them.
Brands have a powerful opportunity with their offering and effectiveness in more ways than one. And while many of us have been unable to meet and greet face to face, the spoken digital word has only increased and will continue to soar for the foreseeable future.
Awareness and adaptation are two components that allow brands to bond and engage with their consumers. And with that in mind, brands should be working hard to remain aware of their consumers’ needs and do best to adapt their products and services to meet them.
More than ever before, brands must get their marketing right in order to attract sales in a tough market, remain relevant and to stay on top of their game.
What are you missing?
It isn’t a case of which is best. Brands and businesses need to simply align the two in order to create the best possible outcome, for both themselves and the consumer.
One cannot work effectively without the other and there are numerous aspects to take into consideration in order to do so, including a communications and content strategy, digital advertising and design.
And a brand audit will equip businesses with a bespoke multichannel activation plan to help them achieve their goals.
The consumer must always remain at the forefront of a business, and brands should be taking them on a customer journey. They should consider what the consumer needs and when they are likely to interact with the business to make that all-important purchase.
From pre-enquiry marketing activity through to getting in touch, brands should ask themselves how long this process takes and if it’s effective enough for everybody involved.
Consumer perception and connection is paramount, and always will be. Once businesses have a clear understanding of both stakeholder and consumer perception, they will be a force to be reckoned with.