Can I see myself as other see me?

 1st September 2015
By johnwilliamson

What use can we make of knowing the opinions about your brand? and who can you turn to to discover them?

Summary: Knowing what your audience thinks about your brand is essential… especially if the opinions are provided influential people on the internet.

There are always important differences between how people perceive you and how one perceives oneself. This is the theme for the excellent ad by Dove showing the difference between the two perceptions. In order to take control of our brand’s perception, the most critical differences are worth discovering. Not only the positive perceptions are important, like in the ad, but more significantly the negative perceptions are the more valuable.

Can one assume complete control over a brand’s perception? of course not. Brands can, to some extent, control the perception through marketing, advertising, social media and public relations. But what happens when brands are not directly involved in the conversation? that is to say, when the brand can not respond or join in. It is very difficult to know what your audience says about your brand when you’re not in the conversation. But there are ways to know these opinions and use them to improve the brand’s perception.

On the internet these conversations often occur in blogs, news, social media, etc. The most important and influential for the brand take place in websites whose contents are related to its sector. In most cases the authors of these Blogs or Social Media channels know their audience and readers very well and can exert a certain influence over them. Let’s call them “influencers”. They know their tastes, what interests them and what does not, their aspirations and their frustrations. But above all they know the opinions their audience have about products, services and experiences with specific brands. Awareness of these opinions are valuable; with them we can draw a portrait of a brand’s current perception. That is, if the brand in question is transparent or opaque, empathic or indifferent, coherent or incoherent. This information allows us to build an “As is” portrait (current perception) of any brand. This portrait gives us more detail than a conventional survey because it allows us to get into our target audience’s heads.

So, what use is this “As is” brand portrait to us? Basically, it helps us find out the following:
· Is the brand perception correct?
· It helps us create a brand that is consistent with public expectations, produce a brand “route-map” and strengthen the ties with its influencers
· To know where and how to act to solve the identified brand perception problems
· To understand the expectations people have of your brand / product / service

Beyond knowing the views of public, influencers also know what motivates your audience and why they choose one brand over another. This information is essential for developing a brand’s “To be” portrait (desired perception).

Can you see your brand as others see it? Yes, and it is increasingly important to know the opinions of your audience… because opinions create brands.

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