Going from “ho-hum…” to “oh sh*t!”


Ultimately, perception is everything

And that concludes today’s blog post—perception is everything—now go forth and prosper.

(Note from the writer: I’ve just been informed that we indeed will be providing more detail about brand perception than the above statements. Although, please keep the above firmly in mind.)


The “everything”

When we boldly state, “perception is everything” we’re initially speaking to the everything that resides in the minds of your customers, potential customers, employees and other stakeholders. But before we get to that “everything,” there is the “everything” that builds your perception day after day, interaction after interaction. Perception is created by the way you shake a hand, how you answer your phone, the manner in which you write your emails, the sign-off on those emails, the look and feel of your physical space, whether corporate HQ or retail stores, and every touchpoint that exists between your business and the world. Sounds big, eh? It is big, but developing and disseminating a well thought-out branding platform can comprehensively blanket and positively affect all those everything moments.


The everything else

How do you shape and control your perception? Start by approaching it with the honest goal of arriving somewhere authentic for you and your operation. And to the point, consider mainly the landing point that’s authentic for your operation, as opposed to you (dear leader). As we’ve discussed before, don’t fall into the trap of personal preference over business purpose.

You’ve concluded that we are not perceived the way we want to be perceived. You can see that your perception vs competitors, the industry and possibly your former self is falling short. That is a big step. Now you can create the “everything else.”


Exercise your perception muscle

There are a number of ways we help companies develop and manage their brand perception. One is to gather leaders and/or a representative mix of employees and take a few minutes to consider the perception you’d like your company to exude.

Write down on sticky notes the adjectives that epitomize how you want to be thought of. Group them by likeness. Consider thinking bigger and more aspirational, rather than safe, trite and predictable, i.e., “trustworthy, reliable, accountable.”

Elements of your current perception may still be very valid—carry forward the successful ones, and not the others. Think aspirational, don’t get stuck on sticky notes, they’re cheap and we can get more—think freely. It’s less about the perfect word and more about a clear, unambiguous understanding of what that word means to you.

Sometime it helps to equate brand attributes to an object. We often suggest a vehicle. If your brand was a vehicle (land, air, sea or otherwise) what would it be? Try to arrive on 3-5 attributes.


Stand & deliver

Once you’ve established your brand attributes, all your marketing messaging and company actions and interactions must stand up to those attributes. Or, stand up to a majority ratio of those attributes, such as 3 of 5, 2 of 3… you get the complex math. Remember that these attributes that are forming this perception are 100% applicable internally to your organization. If the inside vibe, actions and reality don’t accurately resemble the outside vibe, actions and reality, any success will be short lived.

And that actually does conclude today’s blog post—and perception remains everything—now go forth and prosper.


Yours perceptively,

Team Sussner


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