Tips & Tools for Creating Brand Perceptual Maps

Tips & Tools for Creating Brand Perceptual Maps

Brand perceptual maps are valuable tools for visualizing consumers’ perceptions of your brand compared to how they perceive your competition. A brand perceptual map is an important tool in your branding arsenal, giving you valuable insights that can help you craft your brand positioning statement and your overall branding strategy to capitalize on your competitive advantage.

When it comes to creating brand assets, or even selecting the right brand assets to use for different marketing and advertising scenarios, a brand perceptual map is an important point of reference. These tools can help you identify the right brand assets to convey your brand’s values and positioning in a consistent way to reinforce the perceptions that you want to be top-of-mind for your audience, and they can also reveal marketing opportunities that you might otherwise overlook.

A robust digital asset management solution like MerlinOne makes it easy for your marketing and creative teams to locate the most impactful brand assets to communicate your message consistently across channels, streamlining workflows while supporting your efforts to create a consistent brand perception across every marketing channel. Download our white paper, How a DAM Can Help Marketing Leaders to Unite Their Teams, to learn more about how MerlinOne can bring your marketing and creative teams together on the same page to reinforce your brand image across marketing channels.
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Read on for useful tips and tools for creating a brand perceptual map to visualize how your brand stacks up against your competition in the minds of consumers.

Tips for Creating Brand Perceptual Maps

First, you need to determine what type of brand perceptual map you want to create. Most brand perceptual maps are diagrams with two axes, allowing participants (survey or focus group participants representative of your audience or your target audience) to rank items relative to one another on those axes. Some brand perceptual maps focus on placing brands on the axes relative to one another. In this case, each axis represents an attribute. In the example below, cola brands are compared based on the sugar taste (high or low) and whether consumers consider the brands traditional or new and modern:

Brand Perceptual Map Comparison

Screenshot via

This type of brand perceptual map works best when you want to compare multiple brands on two key attributes.

Other brand perceptual maps ask participants to place specific attributes on the axis. In this example, multiple perceptual maps focused on individual brands can be layered on top of each other to visualize how two or more brands compare relative to one another:

Brand Attributes Perceptual Map

Screenshot via Branding Strategy Insider

The first type is the most common approach to brand perceptual maps. Perceptual maps with more than two axis are known as multidimensional perceptual maps. Here’s an example:

Multidimensional Perceptual Map

By Ste.kaleta – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

You’ll also need to determine what attributes you want to compare. If your competitor is particularly well known for its strength in a certain area, such as ease of use, a perceptual map can be used to evaluate your progress over time in improving how consumers perceive your brand related to that attribute. It’s also worth creating multiple brand perception maps to visualize the market in various ways and identify opportunities or shortcomings that you can improve on compared to your competition. Brand perceptual maps can reveal emerging threats to your brand’s position (such as a competitor landing near your brand on your most important brand differentiators), giving you an opportunity to develop a defense strategy and providing a baseline for future comparison.

Finally, determine how you’ll obtain information from your target audience. Surveys and focus groups are the most common methods for data collection.

Tools for Creating Brand Perceptual Maps

If creating a brand perceptual map sounds intimidating, there’s no need for concern – there are several tools and templates that make it easy to develop brand perceptual maps. Here’s a look at a few useful tools and  templates to make the process easier:

  • GroupMap: GroupMap’s tool lets you create a variety of maps, including brand perceptual maps, with dozens of helpful templates you can build on.
  • Follow this tutorial to create a brand perceptual map in Excel. It also includes an Excel template you can download.
  • Creately: Edit Creately’s perceptual map diagram with your own attributes and data, and export it in multiple image formats to share with your team.
  • FeedDough: This is a helpful tutorial with lots of visuals to walk you through the process of creating a product positioning map or a brand positioning map.
  • The Market Segmentation Study Guide: There’s a downloadable template available here that makes quick work of making your own brand perceptual map.
  • Market Maven: This tutorial walks you through the perceptual map creation process, with helpful tips for data collection.
  • SurveyGizmo: Don’t forget about your survey tools! SurveyGizmo is one handy tool for gathering data, and this tutorial walks you through the steps for creating a perceptual map based on your survey data.

After you create a brand perceptual map, you’ll be armed with valuable insights on your brand’s strengths and weaknesses relative to your biggest competitors. Whether you want to reinforce those perceptions, defend your market position, or tap into newly discovered market opportunities, you’ll need a robust digital asset management solution to organize and manage your brand’s digital assets and make it easy for your team to access on-brand assets for every marketing and branding need. Schedule a demo today to learn how MerlinOne, the digital asset management solution trusted by the world’s most iconic brands, streamlines your marketing and creative operations with automated workflows, version control, built-in content distribution tools, and other powerful features.

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