Do we leave our market to make up their own assessment of how we communicate with them, or do we manage the process so that perception and reality become the same?
All too often, the perception of you and your company will fall to the nearest default which could be based on information that is totally incorrect or ill-informed.
For example, if people only know you from press releases or coverage in publications, then that becomes their first impression of you. A company could be portrayed as a brand image in the market but there may be several versions of that image in the market and all a potential customer sees is confusion.
Unfortunately the perception will rule simply because you have left it up to the market to determine how you are perceived and failed to influence how you wish your market to view you. But perception isn’t just what happens. You have to ensure that your market understands what you are trying to do. Use the right communication channel for your customer, create a perception based on what you have provided and leave very little to chance.
Doing this allows you to control how your market views you and once established, it becomes necessary to ensure that your message is delivered consistently. It’s not good enough to just establish a presence and then rely on the delivery of your product or service to confirm the ongoing perception you wish to hold. You need to determine how you are going to communicate with your market and do it consistently.
Leaving the right perception provides you with the opportunity to self manage the process, keep your message top of mind and it will provide a base for future interaction.
It’s all too easy to resign yourself to the market perception and rationalise it by not having time to develop a plan. By doing this you fail to realise that you can, and should, directly influence how you are being perceived. By having a plan, it is your message that becomes the default.