Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Perceptual Mapping -- Deciding What Image to Project

Before you embark on an image advertising campaign, you need to know the type of image you wish to convey. A key component of your decision should be an understanding of your current image and your competitors' images. This knowledge can be gained through image research and perceptual mapping.

The process is rather simple. Using a survey of the market, you measure the image of your company and your key competitors using a series of image "attributes." These "attributes" are dimensions measuring such items as "speed." "low prices," "courtesy," "high tech," "accuracy," etc. You also measure how each company rates on a "best for people like me" scale. This enables you to calculate the relative importance of each attribute by establishing the mathematical relationship between the attributes and the "best for people like me" scale.

You can then plot the performance of each company and importance of each attribute in two-dimensional space. A typical plot would look similar to the below. Each letter represents one company. (We've plotted only five attributes for illustrative purposes. When you are measuring four competitors, you could measure and plot as many as ten or twelve attributes if you desire. To measure more attributes than that would be to extend the survey to an unreasonable length.)

After you have plotted the importance and performance ratings, you can begin to formulate a "desired image." In doing so, you need to consider several things:

• Your competitive position on each attribute,
• Whether your "strengths" are recognized in the marketplace,
• Your perceptions of how feasible it would be to move an attribute in perceptual space,
• The uniqueness of your desired position.

Suppose you are company B. Your though process might go something like this.

"My company is highly accurate, and we could move to the right of company A on accuracy with the right advertising campaign. However, accuracy is the lowest attribute in importance, so the benefit would be limited. We won't worry about promoting accuracy."

"All five companies are about tied in consumer perception of speed, and we all do rather well, so there isn't much potential benefit there. Scratch speed."

"Our rating on high tech is pretty good, but I could still move up perception on that. Let's check out the other two attributes before we make a decision."

"There seems to be a lot of opportunity to improve on low price. Nobody does well on this attribute.We are more efficient than our competitors, and could afford to lower price a little. I don't want us to be viewed as being "cheap," but we could do better on this attribute."

"Look at the opportunity on courtesy. We know we have high customer satisfaction scores -- and it's the most important attribute. There's our opportunity."

From this train of thought, you may decide to develop a campaign with a theme like the courteous service you deserve, at a price you can afford. If your campaign is successful, the next time you measure image the plot may look like the one below. Notice how company B has moved to the right (toward the high performance side of the scale) on the two most important attributes.

Group - Marketing 3

Author of the article - krishnaraj Chaturvedi