What Do Users Think About Your Branding?

How to Test Brand Perception.

Paulina Krawiec
Properly Studio
Published in
9 min readJul 12


Have you ever seen a logo and had no idea what its brand offers? Sometimes, even the most beautiful branding can be ineffective if it doesn’t resonate with the company that stands behind it. So how do you get consistency between your visual identity, the values your company stands for, and the values it delivers to its target group? Is there an effective way to avoid a lack of recognition?

In this article, I will tell you a bit about how we created the branding and tested its perception together with brand communication of one of our current clients in the Scandinavian market — Optio.

Meeting Client Needs

Optio is a Norwegian startup that combines its expertise and passion to guide its customers through every step of the equity incentive journey. They are focusing on removing legal and practical obstacles and creating an environment where equity-based compensation is available for every company.

The company approached our studio in 2021 with a desire to create a new visual identity for its entire brand. They needed a change from their then-current logo to one that would give them more room to grow both from a marketing and product perspective. The entire visual identity had to be associated with the brand and its values and be flexible enough to be used in any visual element related to Optio (website, product, social media, conferences, etc.).

Defining and create a vision that aligns with Customer and User Needs

To gain a comprehensive understanding of our client’s brand vision and its reception, together with the client, we made the decision to conduct a Brand Sprint. In this project, we organized a Brand Sprint together with Head of Design Optio — Eva Steen, who conducted a workshop. We had the pleasure of learning about the needs of our customers. This strategic approach allows us to pause and carefully contemplate various aspects, including our target audience, the values we want to present, and the desired brand perception. Such workshops also allow us to look at who is the competition for the product and how they use their brand. Furthermore, the information gathered at the Brand Sprint is, for both us designers and the client, a kind of documentation that can enable us to go back to it at any stage of the design process.

Below is an outcome from our Brand Sprint, which shows a vision of how we would like Optio to be perceived.

Final ranges of the Optio brand defined during the Brand Sprint.

Building upon the information collected and in close collaboration with the client, we have crafted an identity, of which I have included a glimpse below. If you would like to explore the entire project, a link to it can be found at the conclusion of this article.

New Optio branding and examples of its usage.

From Vision to Reality: Test your branding

Before releasing new branding, you should opt for testing to find out how it is perceived by users and avoid inconsistencies.

Tailored Research: Unmoderated Tests

Brand perception can be tested using both moderated and unmoderated tests. We chose the second option for several reasons.

The main one is our client’s goal of reaching the international market with its product. With unmoderated remote testing, we are able to reach testers from different corners of the world to get the broadest possible picture and verify our assumptions. Another reason is the specificity of our clients. We work with international clients on a daily basis, and in order to facilitate this cooperation we adapt to their mode of operation, which is greatly facilitated by the system of remote work.

Countries of residence of our testers.

If you want to learn more about how to conduct unmoderated tests, I invite you to one of our articles: How to efficiently conduct unmoderated testing.

What tool did we choose?

For unmoderated remote testing, we use tool provided by our customer — the UserTesting.com. This is the tool we use for various types of tests performed for Optio. It gives a lot of options, so we can customize the methods for the type of test we choose. It is also worth noting that this tool allows us to watch a recording of the entire test session, in which both the user’s screen and the tester itself are visible. This gives us not only dry data but also the possibility to analyze what the user said or his non-verbal speech, which gives a much better view of how testers perceive certain things, how they use them, and what they say about them.

Screenshot from UserTesting.com

Reach your target audience: Prepare the right Screener

While using unmoderated remote testing, in order to reach the right target audience, we need to prepare a suitable screener. Due to the specific nature of the project, where we were looking for users familiar with equity and holding decision-making positions in their companies. Thanks to Optio and their expertise, we had access to a screener provided by them, and we were able to identify the right participants for our research.

For remote testing platforms, it is important to remember that the screener created should not be too obvious. The selection options should be structured in such a way that the tester at the screener stage cannot guess what kind of person we are looking for, otherwise, this could result in people getting into the tests who are not our target group, which would disrupt the test results.

Screener that we were using for these tests.

Set up a Real Test Environment

For the test, we prepared a prototype of the Optio website. This allowed users to see the branding in use. This is important because testing the logo itself is not a real case. Users always experience your product in some specific environment, in the case of Optio it is an information and sales website. Thanks to this procedure, we were able to test the form of communication at the same time and let’s not forget that it is also an integral part of a brand’s identity.

To truly understand what users think about your brand, it’s essential to ask the right questions. But what exactly are these ‘right’ questions?

What to Ask?

To initiate the tests, we first conducted a thorough verification of each tester to ensure they closely matched the profile of our target audience. Once the verification was complete, we asked them to open our pre-prepared prototype website. This prototype contains all the visual elements and communication components intended for the final marketing website.

During such tests, we focus on four key areas: brand awareness, brand association, brand perception, and brand consistency. Our objective is to find out whether the tester understands what the company does, gain their impressions and opinions, evaluate the language they use when referring to our brand, ensure clear communication of our brand’s offerings, evaluate consistency across our products, and ultimately determine whether the tester would be inclined to become a customer based on their overall experience.

4 Key areas.

The following is a list of tasks and questions to use in the context of testing a new brand.

1. Spend 2–3 minutes reviewing this page.

Unlike functionality testing, brand perception testing is all about creating a genuine first-time encounter with your product. It’s important to let testers explore your brand without any context, just as they would in real life. [This task can be used multiple times in one test, depending on how many points of contact the tester has with different brand products during one test.]

2. What information caught your attention in the first place and why?

This question allows us to assess which elements resonate most with the user and gauge their perception, whether it is positive or negative. [This task can be used multiple times in one test (…)]

3. In your own words, explain what this page is all about?

Once the tester engages with our brand, we take a closer look at their overall perception and awareness. Our aim is to find out if they have a clear understanding of the services behind the brand. [This task can be used multiple times in one test (…)]

4. What benefits do you think Optio brings to those who will use it?/ How do you understand the vision and mission of Optio?

Since our website places a strong emphasis on showcasing the value Optio brings to its users, our goal was to determine whether testers accurately perceive and interpret these values. As you can see using various questions can help you gauge the clarity of your message.

5. How unclear (1) or clear (7) is the content on this page?

Rating the perception of all communication related to a specific site/element on a scale. [This task can be used multiple times in one test (…)]

6. Please read this sentence aloud <Sentence>. What do you think about this content in comparison to your thoughts and feelings about the Optio brand? Which words made you feel more confident about this product, which made you less confident. You can use the cursor to highlight them.

This way, you can easily double-check any text you’re unsure about and discover the key words that resonate with your potential audience.

7. Can you tell me your thoughts and feelings about the Optio brand?

This summary question serves as a valuable tool to gather insights about the tester’s perception of your brand following their interaction with your product.

8. Questions on the rating scale.

Regarding the branding workshop, we requested the testers to rate their perception of the brand using scale questions aligned with those utilized during the workshop. This allowed us to determine whether the brand we developed aligns with the client’s vision.

During such tests, you can incorporate small A/B tests within specific functionalities or sections. As an example, we took the opportunity to test testimonials. For each version, we asked users the following questions: How would you describe the visual appearance and style of this section? What does this section mean to you? On a scale of 1 to 7, how engaging is this section (1 being unengaging and 7 being highly engaging)? Lastly, we presented both versions side by side and asked users to indicate which section best aligns with their thoughts and feelings about the Optio brand.

What did we Learn? — Test results

Based on the test data we collected, we are excited to see that the Optio is perceived exactly as we and the customer envisioned during the workshop. Both visually and in terms of content, the feedback indicates that Optio hits the mark. Testers really like the whole visual side of Optio, and the communication style is clear, friendly, and well-received. What’s more, Optio’s willingness to use ratio is an impressive 8.1. You can check out some of the results in the graphic below.

Keywords used to describe Optio by testers: Fun, Young, Motivated, Approachable, Exciting, Commited, Useful, Experienced, Trust, Friendly, Cool, Awesome, Bright

Comparison of original assumptions with test results. (We didn’t test the first parameter, so it is not shown in the comparison.)

Final Words

As you can see, branding is not just a logo. Branding is everything that audiences interact with, from the logo itself to the service experience, to the form of communication. All of these things affect its perception, so it’s worth testing them to make sure your brand is recognizable and associated with your services. It’s worth it to decide on testing before releasing new branding, it will help you avoid unnecessary work and expense and be sure that you have achieved what you dreamed of.

If you’re curious about the product that inspired this article, I encourage you to see its presentation on Behance.

We want to give a big thanks to Eva Steen, the Head of Design at Optio, for her leadership in conducting workshops, ideation and leading the whole rebranding process.

When building your brand, it’s truly valuable to collaborate with specialists who can bring your vision to life and deliver proven results. If you would also like to build thoughtful branding together and would like to see more of our projects, take a look to our website.