If you’re looking to conduct a brand research project, brand maps are a great simple, brand auditting tool exploring the competitive landscape giving an overview of your brand and the competition.  At Sapio we use a unique statistical technique and specialist software to build these accurate and valuable maps.

What is a brand map?

A visual display of data that shows customer (or potential customer) perceptions of brands relative to their competition. A number of brand descriptors, (or attributes) are used to build up these perceptions – these often differ by the type of brands and market. The maps are in effect 3D data displayed in a 2D format.

Why use a brand map?

They are an easy way of identifying:

  • The perceptions of individual brands and attributes associated with them
  • How brands differ from their competitors
  • Which brands are most similar
  • Areas of “white space” where brands can make plans to move to, to differentiate themselves from the competition

Knowing how your brand is perceived as can help you understand who your main competitors are, if your current marketing messaging is having an effect on perceptions, and what changes you need to make to your messaging in order to differentiate your brand from the others. 

The beauty of this approach is that it looks at your brand in relation to the competitive set and reflects any changes they have made, as well as work you've done.  Repeating the review regularly means you can keep a track on the impact of their activities as well as your own.

How do you read a brand map?

1.       The longer the attribute line, the more of a differentiator it is for a brand. Here we see that “Collaborative” has a relatively short line. This means brands scored similarly for this factor, so its not a differentiating factor..

2.       The closer a brand is to the end of a line the more associated it is with that factor. For example, here we can see Brand 4 is strongly associated with being “Confident” or “Trustworthy” and Brand 5 is associated with being “Agile”

3.       The closer a brand is to the centre of the map, the more likely it does not have many differentiating factors compared to the competition, or that it can be described by many factors. This could be said of Brand 3

4.       The closer brands are together, the more similar they are. For example, Brand 1 and Brand 2 are both seen as being “Collaborative” and “Caring”

5.       If the list of brands is comprehensive, blank spaces on the map can show where no brands occupy specified characteristics. For example, no brand on our map is strongly associated with being “Visionary” and “Innovative”. If a new brand entered the market with these attributes, it would likely differentiate itself from the competition.