When was the last time you really thought about your perception of a product or service brand? If you’re like most people, I’m guessing you’re not consciously thinking about how you feel about a brand unless it’s super awesome or super negative.
This is an important question because how you perceive a brand, regardless of the truth, shapes your behavior, attitude, thoughts, and feelings, and yes, your engagement with it.
The same is true for the way your customers view your brand. Every time they interact with you or your product or service is like a little snapshot that they lock in their brain. And all those snapshots determine if and how they’ll engage with you.
I’m guessing you see where I’m going already: the customer decides the perception.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is brand perception and why does it matter?
At its most basic, it’s how a client feels about you. It’s all the thoughts, feelings, and general impressions they have about your product or service, and it’s shaped by what they see, hear, and feel when they connect with you.
And I do mean YOU, because for most solopreneurs, you are the face of your business. You’re the one that is delivering the product or service experience. You’re customer support. You’re the one responsible for helping them get whatever they wanted in the first place (within reason). You are the your brand.
That’s good news, assuming your clients have a positive perception of your brand, because 77% of customers would, and often do, recommend brands to their friends. I mean, you probably do this without even thinking about it when you find a new lipstick you love, a new tool that simplifies your business, or in my case, the joys of grocery delivery. Seriously, this is revolutionizing my life, and it’s a must!
So, how can you be intentional about your brand?
1. Know your values, and stick to them.
There’s nothing worse than the bait and switch. Think about it… how often do you engage with a brand for a while, you think you’ve got a good feel for the company or the owner, and then BAM! The real truth comes out.
Your business values are your own. You get to decide what they are and how you live those out. Be authentic, and the right people – YOUR people – will find you. Remember, you’re not for everyone and everyone is not for you.
And even more important, know what you won’t budge on, those non-negotiables. This is everything from must-haves in clients, partners, and potential employees.
2. Show up and be consistent.
I can’t say this enough. Customers are looking to build relationships. Humans are wired for connection, and it really stinks when the company or product/service or the business person you’ve connected with disappears. This means in person and online.
If you’re going to be present on social media, via email, or online in general, pick a posting schedule and stick with it. Can you deviate? Of course, but don’t make it a habit. The know/like/trust factor is everything, and if a client can’t trust you to stay consistent in one space it creates doubt about whether or not you’ll still be there when they actually invest in your product or service.
I’ll also add here that this also means showing up honoring your values.
3. Be in service to others.
This has been a game-changer for 2 Smart Girls. We believe strongly as individuals and as a business that there is more than enough – enough clients, enough differentiation, enough opportunity – for everyone. And when you truly operate from an abundance and service mindset, it frees you up to show up without expectation, to not be tied to the outcome, and to avoid riding the highs and lows of disappointment when someone doesn’t choose you.
It’s insanely powerful to serve others, and as an entrepreneur and a human, I can sense this right away. There’s a vibe, an aura, a perception, that surrounds businesses and people that operate this way. Know what you’re putting out there and how/if you show up in service to others.
4. Make offers to help.
This concept has two components. Yes, it means offering whatever it is you have available, IF you genuinely believe you can help them. But it also means helping a person connect the dots or find whatever it is they’re looking for. I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had that had nothing to do with my business but where I was able to connect someone in need to someone who could help. That is being in service to others and making offers to help, and combined, they are POWERFUL ways to shape how others perceive you.
The Curb Appeal of your business is rooted in what others think and feel about you. And while you can’t control what happens in another person’s mind, you can take powerful steps to show people who you really are. And that right there, is how brand perception is born and businesses soar.