As I have worked with professionals in their career and business owners as they brand their businesses, I have noticed one area that is often overlooked and only partially considered when branding yourself or your business. Perception.
Many times we will spend time dissecting our own perception of our brand or ourselves. Or we will decide what we want people to perceive us as but we forget to ask the hard questions around how do others perceive our brands right now.
When we can’t identify and communicate our brand to others, others will make their own conclusions based on what they perceive. It is our responsibility to communicate.
The following 3 questions are applicable to you as an individual for your personal brand, as well as a business brand. You have probably heard the comments and discussions about how we are becoming less self-aware as a society. Maybe, because our heads are down in our phones or because we are so distracted we aren’t fully aware of anything.
I believe these 3 questions help us in being more self-aware so that we see how our brands impact others. Because remember, your brand consists of every avenue in which someone can experience you.
THE 3 PERCEPTION QUESTIONS
What is your perception of your brand?
How do others perceive your brand? What is the potential or real misconception of your brand/business?
What do you want the perception to be?
"Your brand is a perception or emotion,
maintained by somebody other than you, that
describes the total experience of having a
relationship with you."
- Marketers McNally & Speak
HOW THIS APPLIES
For my professionals (personal brands) … Sometimes these questions can be hard to answer about yourself. Go ask people who know you well. Your mentors, bosses, co-workers, friends. Ask them what they perceive as your strengths, your weaknesses, and what you are known for most. Google yourself and see what is possibly your first impression for others.
For business brands … If you are the owner of the business, don’t do this exercise alone. If you have a team, include them in answering these questions. Whether you work alone or you have a team, get feedback from your clients. Ask your clients questions like,
How have we helped you? (this will help you realize any misconceptions or areas you had never thought to market)
How could we have served you better? (this will help you grow your business and reputation)
What was your first impression of our business? (this will help you realize if you need to improve your processes or branding)
My hope is that these questions and focus on perception will help you realize that your brand and reputation are incredibly important in your careers and businesses. Allow perception to be a tool. Allow it to help you, not harm you.
Perception is defined as ...
“a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”
“the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.”
Perception can also be someone else's reality but not truth. When perception is believed as the whole truth, we begin worrying about what others think. That is not the point of this exercise.
The point is to be aware so you can make the choice about what you want to do about it.
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