You Live and Die by the Perception You Create
No one can say they don’t like to be appreciated for what they do! We all have an inbuilt desire to feel valued, but that value is really determined by the perception you create through your words and actions.
What people think and feel about us will always be determined by perception. If you want someone to see you as professional and knowledgeable then you should position yourself in that way. Likewise, if you don’t want people to perceive you as being flashy and materialistic, then posting images of you posing in front of an expensive sports car with a handful of cash and a designer watch on your wrist is probably not the right image for you.
To some extent you can control perception, but not always because we all have our own pre-conceived ideas. Take the new President, Donald J Trump, I guess you could say that he’s a little bit like marmite – you either love him or hate him and this is all down to the perception he has created.
In my mind, he puts himself forward a charismatic, confident and experienced businessman who has successfully built the status he holds in the corporate world. At the same time, he’s oversensitive to criticism and has an absolute arrogance about the fact that because he is who he is he can do and say what he likes without any consequence. Many people have seen him as a cause for change, whilst others may see him as being volatile without the level of integrity or diplomacy needed to be President of the United States of America.
Whatever the case, the likelihood is that being so controversial will and has won him friends and enemies alike. Only time will tell which way his ‘personal brand perception’ will swing over the next four years!
The point is, everything in this world is built on perception! Whilst this can be ‘controlled’ to a certain extent, what people think or feel about you as a person or as a business is down to their individual thoughts, feelings and experiences. That’s not something you can control, but it is something you can influence if you do it in the right way.
We are so much more exposed now. Social media has seen to that and I wonder sometimes if we’ve almost fallen into a trap to make us sit up and take stock of ourselves.
Personal Brand Perception
Self-profiling is how we create our own individual perception value. We share our interests, our passions, our loves and our hates…sometimes in a brutally honest way with whomever is ready to listen to or read our posts. We now have the authority to pass comment on whatever and whomever we see fit. All this is fine, but you have to remember that once it’s out there, it’s out there and in turn, people are able to repay the compliment by passing comment back on you whether you like it or not!
Whether you own your own company or you are an employee, people want to see the real you! Organisations are no longer faceless, and individuals are no longer just a name. If you are using social platforms it’s quite easy for someone to build up a perception of you based on what you have put online…so make sure it’s the image you want to portray.
If you’re building a personal brand that you intend to make money from, like the ever-increasing influx of social media stars using platforms like Instagram and You Tube to build what have become very successful personal brands, it’s even more important to showcase yourself in the right way.
Not everyone will like the image you create and there may well be a variety of reasons why, but what’s important is that you always stay true to yourself and build your personal profile in the most considerate way. Stand by what you believe in and accept that not everyone will love what you do or say – that’s their right! Focus on the ones that do.
If you are in your teens/twenties, the person you are now, is likely not the person you will be in fifteen or twenty years time, but the impression you create now could last a lifetime! Making mistakes is ok, that’s how we learn, but people can tell when you are not being honest and you’re just showing off. Have fun and enjoy what you do, just do it honestly.
Business Brand Perception
Businesses communicate in a variety of ways, social platforms being just one of them, but the impact your business perception creates has to live up to what you say you do. I’ve come across many brands that give off a perception of being high value and high quality, but the actual experience doesn’t compare.
Don’t just pay lip service to what you say you can or will do – do it! It takes very little for someone to become disillusioned with your brand if they are unhappy with your service and pulling that person back into the fold is harder once you’ve lost their respect or trust.
Every industry is competitive. There is always someone else waiting to take your customers if you don’t provide the level of service they expect. A customer doesn’t care if you or a member of your team has had a bad day…and to be honest, they shouldn’t have to either. This means that it’s even more important for your team to also buy into every step of the and customer experience. Remember, to a customer they are your brand, so understanding the part they play and why they are so important in creating the perception of your brand is critical to the buying process.
As I said in the beginning, we all want to feel appreciated and valued for our contribution – whether you are a business owner/leader or an individual/employee. Careful control and positive influences will help you build your brand and overall perception value in the way you intended.