Brand strength survey: asking the right questions


In a brand strength survey, you want to know what your existing audience thinks about your product, service, or organization. So, you’ll have two types of questions in your survey: ones about the audience themselves, and ones about their perceptions.

Audience questions

These questions help you understand the characteristics of your audience. Audience questions might inquire about topics such as

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Level of education
  • Place of residence or work (ZIP codes work well for this)
  • Job title
  • Years of experience
  • Media consumption for personal or professional use

There are myriad questions you can ask about someone in your audience. The ones listed here are fairly generic. You might also want to know more specific information related to your product, service, or organization. For instance, a public health organization might include questions related to a survey recipient’s health history or current health status.

Perception questions

These questions ask about your audiences opinion, knowledge, and beliefs. There are five common types of perception questions:

  • Unaided recall: these questions ask recipients to list the products, services, or organizations they recall in the category to which your product, service, or organization belongs. In the example of public health, this question might read something like,”What public healthy providers do you recall serving the county where you live?” Unaided recall can indicate that respondents closely associate you with your category. It can also tell you what competitors of yours the respondent relates to.
  • Aided recall: these questions ask recipients if they recognize the names of products, services, or organization in the category to which your product, service, or organization belongs. This question might read, “Which of the following public health agencies do you recognize?”
  • Reputation: these questions ask recipients their opinion, impression, or rating of your product, service, or organization. This question might ask respondents to describe their impression of your public health agency on a scale from very unfavorable to very favorable.
  • Level of knowledge: these questions ask recipients to rate their knowledge of your product, service, or organization, perhaps on a scale from Don’t Know to Expert. You could also ask whether they know specific pieces of knowledge, if that’s relevant to your survey.
  • Usage: these questions ask recipients how frequently and/or for what duration do they interaction with your product, service, or organization.

Bonus questions

In my experience with surveys, you can get away with adding a couple bonus questions at the end of your survey. If a respondent makes it to the end of the survey, they may be more disposed to answer these questions favorable.

Bonus questions are promotional in nature, such as

  • Would you like to receive our monthly newsletter?
  • Would you like someone to contact you regarding our product or service?
  • Are you interested in volunteering or donating?

In one recent example, I had 30 percent of survey respondents also subscribe to our monthly email newsletter. That added more than 1,700 subscribers to our list, just for adding a bonus question to a survey.

Some survey writing tips

Here are some simple tips as you start writing you survey:

  • Write your questions first as just a plain document in Word or Google Docs. This will make it easier to revise.
  • Write as few questions as possible, and keep them simple. People’s time is valuable, and they’re doing you a favor by completing your survey. Value their time.
  • Test your survey among your colleagues. Testing early and frequently will help you get quality results when you finally conduct your survey.

In upcoming posts, I’ll show you how to create and distribute your survey, and then collect and analyze the results.

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