Branding – It is All About Perception
By Pamela Wigglesworth CSP from Experiential Hands-on Learning
Branding, it is all about perception. You may have heard that phrase before. If you have not heard that before, then read the first sentence again because the impact of perception on your business is huge.
Branding is based on the principles of perception and satisfying the needs of the consumer. When developing the brand for a new company, product or service the goal is to create a perception in the mind of the prospect so that when they are ready to buy, they will look for your product or service. It is about communicating your message to the consumer more effectively so they immediately associate your business with their needs.
Just how do you go about creating a brand perception? It is easy, use the five senses to create value. Perception is the process by which we receive information through our five senses and assign meaning to it. Incorporating the five senses as a means to developing our perception can be very powerful.
Colours Create a Visual Perception
Let us first take a look at colour. Using the visual sense and in this case looking at colour, you can see how colour can play a major role in establishing perception. There are certain colours that we associate with different things or events. We think of baby blue and pink as the colours associated with new-born baby boys and girls. Red is the colour of love, hence it is used significantly during Valentine’s Day and red for Chinese New Year, the colour of luck.
A person considering a day care centre should focus on primary colours red, blue & yellow. The primary colours could be used in the company name, marketing collaterals (letterhead, business cards, and media kits) and in the décor of the centre itself. The bold primary colours create the perception that this is a place for children.
If you were to ask a woman to choose from a large hat box size gift, a medium Robin’s egg teal blue box with white ribbon or a small black ring size box, seven out of ten go for the teal blue box. This colour has become synonymous with Tiffany’s Jewellers. The perception from this blue colour box is that anything inside is definitely going to be fabulous so women will choose it over the others.
Scent has a big impact on perception
Smell can also play a major role in developing product perception. Let us use two examples from the F&B industry. The brands Famous Amos cookies and BreadTalk know a thing or two about creating a perception based on smell. They are aware that by allowing the aroma of their baked goods to waft through the mall that you will perceive the goods to be tasty and illicit the desire to make a purchase. Through the senses customers have a perceived idea about your brand before they buy from you.
Scent can also build brand loyalty. As a child my siblings and I would go to stay with our favourite Aunt on our birthday. She always allowed us to play on her vanity and try on her earrings and play with her powder puffs as we pretended like we were going out for the evening. She also had bottles of Jergens lotion throughout her flat which we also played with. Unlike today, back in the 60’s and 70’s there was only one scent for the brand of body moisturizer, which was Cherry Almond. It is a scent like unlike anything else I have ever come across. As I became an adult, I found myself buying Jergens lotion. It brought back the childhood memories I had of my aunt and feeling like a princess playing at her vanity.
Then one day, the cherry-almond scent lotion was no longer available. It had been replaced with the likes of Soothing Aloe and Shea Butter. From that point onwards, I stopped buying. My loyalty to the brand ended as did my treasured childhood experiences. Fast forward two years and low and behold, the Cherry Almond scent was back on the shelves and big time.
I suspect that there were a lot of baby boomers like me who had an attachment to the scent and without it, they stopped buying too. My guess is that the sales of Jergens came to a halt as well. Now if you purchase the moisturizer it says right on the bottle, “Original Scent with the classic Cherry-Almond Scent”. It is amazing what a scent can do for a brand.
Take a look at your brand. What is the perception that you want to create in the mind of the customer? Review the five senses and identify which ones you can use today to develop your brand perception.