Perceptual Mapping

Sawtooth Technologies does more than tell you how you stack up against the competition—we show you.

The market’s image of a product is based on its features and benefits, whether real or perceived. We illustrate 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, we create visual representations that depict your position relative to the competition and to customers’ ideals.

The result is a clear picture that reveals opportunities for positioning your brand more effectively. This is known as perceptual mapping.

Shedding Light

Perceptual mapping provides answers to these vital market research questions:

  • What is your market position relative to your competitors?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where are there gaps in the market?
  • How do you measure up to the “ideal?”
  • What strategies will improve your competitive position so that you are both relevant to the market and differentiated from competitors?

The perceptual mapping 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 hypothetical example of the beverage market illustrates one of the primary results of a perceptual mapping study—the map itself. For illustrative purposes, this example uses types of beverages instead of actual beverage brands.  

In the perceptual map below, both functional attributes (“sparkling”) and emotional attributes (“youthful”) are included. Each attribute is represented by an arrow. Attributes that are close to one another are related, and the types of beverages are positioned near the attributes that best describe them.

By understanding the position of the client brand and competitive brands, the following questions may be addressed:

  • What attributes does the brand own? What attributes do competitors own?
  • Are there gaps in the market that may be filled by the client brand?
  • How should the brand be positioned to be both relevant to the market and differentiated from the competition?

In addition to the map itself, analysis of the raw brand ratings, importance ratings, gaps, and ideal market position adds further insight into brand positioning opportunities.

Perceptual Mapping Training

We also offer customized on-site training seminars on perceptual mapping so that your staff members can learn how to perform these types of studies on their own.

Backroom Services

We offer backroom services for perceptual mapping studies, including designing the study, programming and hosting the survey, and developing the perceptual maps.

Beyond Perceptual Mapping

Combining perceptual mapping with conjoint analysis creates an extremely powerful analytical and modeling tool. By linking the two techniques, potential changes in brand perceptions can be tested in the conjoint model in order to predict the market impact of those changes.

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