PERCEPTION MARKETING: Generate an image people are receptive to

Do you have days when you feel far less than satisfactory at the work place? I do. We all have some less-than-desirable personality traits to work on, but we all do our best to challenge ourselves to be better every day – although some days are better than others. Last week I had one of those challenging days.

After receiving the most respectfully honest feedback I’ve received in a while from co-workers, I thought to myself, “It’s time to hunker down and really work on my worst trait. Now is certainly not the time, personally OR professionally to neglect correcting my flaw.” (For flaw details contact my husband or work “family” – all of whom have known me for years and can easily answer your question.)

It wasn’t until this weekend, after updating our firm’s Facebook Fan Page, that it occurred to me to write this blog. There was an ad on the screen that said “Cartoon yourself” with a mugshot of Angelina Jolie and her cartoon “twin” mugshot, which, by the way, looked nothing like her. This got me thinking about businesses today and their perception marketing efforts. Does your perception meet the reality you are trying to create?

As cliché as it may sound, perception IS reality – or at least reality for everyone else but you. This is why, in today’s marketplace, businesses need to evaluate what their perception is among their own audience. What I mean is: How is your company perceived by others? How do you rank in quality, service, flexibility and more?

In today’s marketplace, companies must choose the perception they desire and make it reality to remain competitive in business. Make yourself – and your company – attractive to do business with. Your organization may have everyone’s best interests at heart. You may think you are doing all the right things to service customers. However, all of it doesn’t mean a lick unless your customers, or even your own co-workers (who deal with customers), feel the way you do.
People buy what and where they want from people they want to do business with, so be attractive and useful.
All this doesn’t mean you need a perception marketing overhaul. It’s simply a gentle nudge suggesting you evaluate the outside perception of your company. Perhaps it’s time to talk to your best “co-workers” (i.e. clients) and ask them what they think about your business. The feedback may be jarring at first, and let’s face it, no one wants to hear about their own flaws, but progress and improvement cannot be made unless we address our weaknesses and improve upon them. And in today’s economy, we could all use a little honest feedback to kick start improvement. (You may be surprised to find your client relationships improve after asking them for their qualitative feedback too.)

Our entire team is comprised of highly-talented, motivated, passionate marketing people. Still, despite all our successes, there’s always room for improvement – collectively and individually. I know I’ll be taking a deeper look into how I, personally, am perceived and try to work harder at being better – just as any professional or business should.

Amber Stidham is the Director of Strategic Planning for Imagine Marketing.

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