The marketing power of perception

This post is all about the marketing impact of perception, and how the way people feel has a massive influence, on whether or not they buy from or recommend certain brands.

The marketplace’s perception of a brand or industry is extremely important, which is why big brands work so hard to ensure that the general perception surrounding them and their industry is as positive as possible.

As a result, companies like Gillette, will pay David Beckham to ‘model’ their products. By aligning the way people feel about Beckham, with the Gillette  brand, Gillette can improve the perception of their brand or reinforce what’s already positive about it.

As well as the perception of our businesses, we ALSO need to be mindful regarding the marketplace’s perception of our industry!

What’s the typical perception of your industry?

When people talk about your industry in general, what is the typical perception?

For example, many accountants or CPA’s find themselves selling their services based on their fees – because the common (incorrect) perception is that all qualified accountants provide a service of equal value.

To market effectively, accountants need to break this inaccurate perception and THEN set themselves apart as being of greater value than their competitors.

Negative perceptions of social media experts

As you have probably noticed, there has been a huge negative perception shift, regarding the social media industry and especially those who work in it.

One particularly negative article appeared in BusinessWeek, called Beware: Social Media Snake Oil. The article names both Chris Brogan and Gary Veynerchuk, before saying:

“The problem, according to a growing chorus of critics, is that many would-be guides are leading clients astray. Consultants often use buzz as their dominant currency, and success is defined more often by numbers of Twitter followers, blog mentions, or YouTube hits than by traditional measures, such as return on investment.”

I believe much (not all) of the article was inaccurate.  However, if stories like that either reflect the current perception of social media experts or negatively damage it, it’s going to create a real marketing challenge for them.

Positive perceptions of Apple Inc

Thanks to the Apps Store, an entire industry has sprung-up around the Apple brand.  Moreover, it seems that right now, everything Apple Inc does is automatically heralded as great – often before it’s even announced.  The perception of Apple in their marketplace is something that as a marketing coach, I am constantly amazed by.  It’s incredible!

For example, there have been millions of dollars of free publicity gifted to Apple in recent weeks, for a product that as I write this, still does not officially exist and has not even been announced – the Apple tablet.

In closing

Feelings play an essential role in both the sales and the marketing process.  The more positive those feelings are, the easier you will find it to make sales.

This is why it’s so very important for you to understand the marketplace’s perception of your industry.  If it’s a good / positive perception, then you need to build on it.

If it’s a poor or negative perception, then you need to break it! Your marketing messages, your quality control, customer service and everything else, should be designed to absolutely shatter any negative perceptions about your industry.

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