Perceptual mapping offers a unique ability to communicate the complex relationships between marketplace competitors and the criteria used by buyers in making purchase decisions and recommendations.
Its powerful graphic simplicity appeals to senior management and can stimulate discussion and strategic thinking at all levels of all types oforganizations.
Perceptual mapping can be used to plot the interrelationships of consumer products, industrial goods, institutions, as well as populations. Virtually any subjects that can be rated on a range of attributes can be mapped to show their relative positions inrelation both to other subjects as well as to the evaluative attributes.
The market’s image of a product is based on its features and benefits, whether real or perceived. This illustrates these perceptions to give you a powerful “at-a-glance” look at where your brand lives on the competitive landscape. Based on how customers rate the functional and/or emotional attributes of your brand and competitive brands, it creates visual representations that depict your position relative to the competition and to customers’ ideals.
Perceptual mapping provides answers to these vital questions:
Ø What is your market position relative to your competitors?
Ø What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Ø Where are there gaps in the market?
Ø How do you measure up to the “ideal?”
Ø What strategies will improve your competitive position so that you are both relevant to the market and differentiated from competitors?
The process includes developing the attributes—either functional, emotional, or both. Survey respondents rate the client brand and competitive brands on each of the attributes, and attribute importance and ideal attribute ratings are obtained. These perceptions are used to create the maps, and analysis of gaps and ideal points is performed.
An Example of Perceptual Mapping:
This shows a perceptual map that was computed from the attribute rating data for 20 representative armchairs, collected from ratings by 30 participants, using 10 bipolar adjective scales (Cheng, 2003). On the resulting perceptual map, the locations of the armchairs correspond to the similarities perceived by the participants. For example, in the lower right-hand corner, several armchairs that were described by participants as “contemporary,” “hard,” and “simple” in design are located closely together. Several attribute vectors are also shown on the map.
For example, close to the horizontal axis is the attribute vector “Traditional–Contemporary,” the placement of which allows us to suggest the general perception of a product in relation to these two opposites: the farther an armchair is located to the right of the map, the ore contemporary is its perceived identity or meaning; the farther it is located to the left, the moretraditional its perceived meaning. Thus, for designers, the product perceptual map is particularly valuable in that it clearly connects each alternative product with its perceived meaning. By determining the common features (for example, with regard to form, material, and color) of those products that express a certain perceptual meaning, as shown on the perceptual map, designers can gain insights into how to design a product that will deliver a specific meaning to the consumer.
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Siva Tejaswi Vepuri (13173)
Operations Group 1