Every day on your drive to work, you stop and pick up a coffee. You get the same order, from the same place. You check the lid to make sure it’s on tightly, because there was one time it was not and you had to spend the day with a coffee stain on your clothes. You don’t drink it until you get to work, because one time you took a sip prior to sitting down at your desk and it burned your tongue. You do this every day because this coffee tastes great and makes you feel alert, which helps you get your work done.
From a marketing position, there are two elements in this scenario that may often be overlooked: perception and perspective. Perception is the way in which we become aware of and interpret information, while perspective is the overall view we have. These two concepts are deeply intertwined. Our perceptions are vital building blocks of our perspective, and our perspectives can alter how we perceive things.
Imagine a friend telling you about someone he knows: “Oh, Kyle has been a friend of mine for years. He works at STEALTH Media and helped me with my website and digital campaigns”. Your friend is offering you information that that you will perceive to be either useful or not, which then builds your perspective about Kyle and about what he does. In this case, the information is supported by a trusted source, which could be perceived as positive. Thus, lend to a positive perspective about Kyle and his job.
Like in the first example, information needed to build a perspective may stem from consistently having a a good experience with a brand, which in this case, enforces a positive perspective about your morning coffee bought from a specific place.
Why does this matter in marketing?
Perspective is a decision driver. Every piece of information we perceive about a person or a product is influential in the way we choose to interact with said person or product.
While you may not be able to control every single experience a person has with your brand (a loose lid on a coffee cup resulting in stained clothes or burn), there are a ton of aspects you can control when it comes to creating the perspective you want people to have about your brand.
This is where we come in.
It’s not as easy as telling your audience “I am the best and you should try my product”. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that it will even work. And it’s most likely because you haven’t reviewed the ideas and experiences that are already perceived in your market.
Once a perspective has been established, it is very hard to convince people to change their mind. Especially if they have already developed strong perspectives and experiences with a competitor. When you market your product, it is the battle of getting into the mind of your consumer.
In general, marketing is not simply a product battle, but also a battle of perceptions. However, perception is not limited to a brand. It is also affected by a variety of other factors. Some obvious, some not.
A perfect example of this is a perspective that may be held by some about the brand Honda.
If I were to ask you about the Honda you have purchased in the United States, it is very likely we are talking about cars. If I were to ask you the same question in Japan, we would likely be talking about motorcycles.
You see, perspective is going to change based on our perceptions of geography, current products, and how a message is delivered to the consumer based on all that information. When you’re creating marketing, you have to look at the whole picture to deliver the right message, that resonates with the right audience so you can stand out amongst the noise.
I’ll give you another example..
Crest, Colgate, Sensodyne, and Arm and Hammer toothpastes are hugely popular brands in the North American market. The broad perspective is that everyone knows they need to brush their teeth (in simplest terms). But these brands know they can’t just claim their product is the best to convince a consumer to use their toothpaste. That perspective is too large and general. So in order to compete in the market driven by the perspective of people brushing their teeth, each brand has created perceptions and specific niches to take more of the market share.
Crest toutes that they utilize a specific type of fluoride.
Colgate states they use an antigingivitis ingredient.
Sensodyne is known for its help with sensitive teeth.
Arm and Hammer is made with baking soda.
When we go to purchase our toothpaste these specific messages about the brand have been ingrained in us to give us, and play an influential role in our choices.
Do you have sensitive teeth? Well, you should probably go with a toothpaste brand that states it knows everything about sensitive teeth. It doesn’t matter that Crest or Colgate have similar lines of toothpaste that help with the issue, Sensodyne has already secured the perspective of being the leading brand for help with sensitive teeth, and thus gained leadership in that market share. Creating a new perspective, in this case “The best toothpaste for sensitive teeth”, is what allows brands to essentially win over and retain a certain segment of customers who have the overall perspective of brushing their teeth to maintain oral health.
You win over the perspective of your audience, you win in your niche.
Now, being a leader in your niche is absolutely how you succeed, that being said, ingraining a specific perspective about your business into the heads of your consumers can also come at a greater cost if you fail to meet the expectations within that perspective.
A great example of this is Volkswagen and their great emission standards.
Volkswagen was known for it’s good emission standards. Top of it’s market – above what is regulated. It was a common conversation when you were to about to choose a vehicle and they mentioned Volkswagen, again they “owned” that perspective.
Unfortunately, in order to meet those standards the company made some poor decisions in order to conceal the deficiencies of their vehicles.
They placed specific software inside the vehicle that could change how the vehicle operated when it was being tested for emissions standards.
In 2015, the United States EPA figured out that the German automaker was violating the Clean Air Act and sanctions began to pour in from countries around the world.
If you want to own or create a perspective, you should be truthful and confident you can deliver the product or service.
Ultimately, marketing matters. Delivering the right message is paramount. Delivering this message at the right time of the buying process, on the right pages, and selling your product every step of the way is crucial. In addition to that, you should remain in their minds after they purchase your product to keep them coming back.
Fair warning, you may be “first” in your niche, but if you do not overtake the perspective you may lose the game and lose your customers.
So where do you start?
First, what is the broadest and simplest perspective of the market you are trying to serve?
Are you providing a warm, energizing drink on the way to work? Or keeping someone’s mouth healthy with regular brushing?
Second, you identify the niche within your market that you can capture through changing the consumers’ perception of your product or service.
Third, get in touch with us to learn more about shifting perspective and how you can win more of your well deserved market share.