What Is Perceptual Mapping In Terms Of Branding?

DSM Digital School of Marketing - perceptual mapping

Companies make use of  perceptual mapping or positioning maps in order to help them to put together a market positioning strategy for their product or service. As the maps are built on the perception of the buyer, these are sometimes called perceptual maps. Positioning maps show where current products and services are positioned in the market so that the firm is able to decide where they would like to place (position) their product.

Companies have two options:

  • They are able to either position their product so that it fulfils a gap in the market, or
  • If they would like to compete versus their competitors they are able to position it where existing products have placed their product.

What Are The Attributes Of A Perceptual Mapping?

Usually, a simple perceptual map is a two-dimensional graph with a vertical axis as well as a horizontal axis. Each of the axes has a couple of opposite attributes at each of the ends of the axis.

For instance, if the perceptual map is looking at cars, the vertical axis could have a luxury car at one end with an economy car at the other. The horizontal axis could have “family-oriented” at one end with  “sporty” at the other end. Each of the cars is then plotted on the graph based on how consumers see the car relative to those attributes.

Perceptual maps may have more than two dimensions. This lets a business compare additional pairs of attributes. Utilising more than two dimensions for perceptual mapping is also termed multidimensional scaling.

Although these maps can turn out to be quite complex and difficult to understand, they can also potentially offer more useful information.

Key Points Of Perceptual Mapping

Perceptual maps assist marketers in understanding where the consumer ranks their company in terms of characteristics and in comparison to competing companies. In addition, perceptual maps are able to display consumers’ ideal points which reflect their perfect combinations of product characteristics.

When designing a new product, a business should be looking for a space that is currently unoccupied by competitors and which also has a high concentration of consumer desire (ideal points). A perceptual map is usually based more on a marketer’s knowledge of an industry than market research.

Why use Perceptual Mapping?

By making use of perceptual mapping, you are able to check the reality of consumer’s perceptions in addition to the impact of the firm’s campaigns and marketing mix changes. In addition, you are able to monitor the positioning of new products and the impact of competitive positioning as well as look for market gaps for the new product process. Perceptual mapping allows you to understand segments further and track changes in consumer preferences.

Perceptual mapping is just one of the tools which are available to you which can assist you with the process of brand management.

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