What you see is what you get.
In marketing, the truth of this statement is encapsulated in the concept called perception marketing, which basically tells you that in the eyes of the consumer, what they “see” is the reality. It’s what informs them, and what influences them in their purchasing decisions.
While most consumers want to be as objective as they can when it comes to choosing products to buy, the truth of the matter is that they’re really not. For the most part, there are very few objective metrics. While it’s easier to see which is bigger, heavier, or faster, how do you define which is better, more delicious, or more beautiful? You can’t really. But if you give your customer the impression that your product is better, then consumers are much more likely to go along with their assumptions.
But if you are providing a product or service, how do you improve the way your potential customers see your brand and your products?
- Raise the price. A lot of people believe the adage, you get what you pay for. If a product is much more expensive, then it stands to reason that it must be better. Marketers call this phenomenon the Chivas Regal Effect, after the whiskey brand which began selling a lot more when it raised its prices so that it costs more than its competitors. The same thing happened to Pepsi in the 1950s, when it raised its previously much lower price to match that of Coke.
- Offer an obvious additional value. Once you have established the value of your brand, you can then offer obvious value advantages to your customers. This is the equivalent of those signs you see with “$100 now only $49!” for a “limited time only”. The value of your product doesn’t change in the mind of the consumer. They still think it’s worth $100. It’s just that now they can get it for a lot less.
- Choose the right name. Names are important. Celebrities know that it can affect perception, which is why Dwayne Johnson became The Rock. Ramon Estevez overcame the prejudice against his name by changing it to Martin Sheen. And researchers found that people rated the same dish as “healthier” when it was called a salad instead of pasta.
- Get the right endorser. When people don’t really know which product is better, then they consider the reputation of the brand. If your brand doesn’t have a reputation yet, then get someone whom people trust to endorse your product. They don’t have to be famous—this is why testimonials are important.
- Change your focus. If people have a perception problem with your brand, you don’t have to change your product or service. What you should do is to change your focus. This is what Porsche did when they discovered that people thought their cars were impractical for a regular driver. Porsche then launched a massive campaign to showcase that it can be used for everyday driving.
When you are selling a product or service, it may not match what the consumer public wants but that doesn’t automatically mean you need to embark on an expensive product upgrade. Perhaps what you really need to do is to help your potential customers see your brand in a more positive light. You can do this through your pricing scheme and through your website. You can also demonstrate this by the way your company representatives handle phone conversations with your customers, including the quality of your phone on hold messages. This strategy is not only faster and less expensive to implement, but it’s often effective as well.