Imagine that you are taking a flight home after a long week working in another city. You get on the plane and realize that you have been assigned a middle seat wedged between two other hot, tired people. You are mad at your assistant, the airline, your client…anyone whom you perceive was responsible for this situation.
Now imagine the same flight, the same middle seat but this time you have gone standby and are going home early. You’ve gotten the last seat on the plane. It’s the same seat, but this time you are skipping down the aisle. You perceive this seat as extremely valuable. What a difference.
You have chosen your perception. There is no reality. There is only your perception, which becomes your reality.
Good marketers (like Marsden & Associates… wink, wink) are able to discern and then take advantage of market perceptions. To make you forget the reality of the middle seat and understand the benefit of flying home to your family. Reveal the value.
It’s important to make sure that your brand is creating the right perception within your target market, that you are taking full advantage of all the value. It’s up to you to capture their attention, stimulate their interest and strategically help shape those perceptions. You need to be continuously working to understand your customers’ truth, because that truth - their perception - drives their actions. They may back these decisions with facts, so you should have them. But don’t lead with them.
Image isn’t everything. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Today, more than ever, it’s the substance of your brand that is important. You need to understand your audience’s reality and design your products and services to appeal to that truth. Perception may not be reality but it does drive your customers’ behavior.
I challenge you to do a "perception is reality" check. As John Lennon once said – “Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”