Put simply, ‘perception’ is ‘how do they see me!’
However, in the PR and marketing industry, the definition can be a mouthful. It is, ‘the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted’. The issue here is essentially to control how your brand persona is perceived by the public and to leverage that perception of power.
In the Ugandan social media landscape today, PR activities have made a tremendous contribution to how audiences regard, interpret and understand brands.
Much thought is put into this to achieve the desired effect in terms of tone of voice, networks to build, conversations to be a part of, endorsements, stakeholder relationships AND most important, the perception!
What’s however challenging from my observations is how to quantify this power into value?
How do you quantify a positive perception versus a negative perception? Which one has more power? These questions can cause one to think hard and deep on what is really important, because sometimes the concept of power can be so deceiving!
What would be the ideal equivalent of a price tag to this be? Could we say the price tag would be a direct indication of the value (that is the gravity of the power)? I ask this rhetorical question because every day, as PR and online media experts we are faced with the great challenge of proving our value to our target audience.
It takes a certain level of maturity and appreciation to either pick up this challenge as a teachable moment, or only engage with clients that appreciate the value perception building can do for their bottom line business goals. What is your brand persona perception? How much are you willing to put aside (in monetary terms that is) to harness, improve and grow it?
I shall end this piece by paraphrasing some references I picked up from a Harvard Business School article titled What Perceived Power can bring into business negotiations.
I quote: ‘Imagine people who try to position and push their way in to show how much power they have in a negotiation, which can be self-defeating. The objective alternatives is that they will have to determine their portion of the pie. If they try to fluff up their power too much and the other party actually buys it and sees themselves as less powerful, then what happens is the other party closes up, will share less information, thus less likely to create a big pie, and while they might get more of it, the odds are they will get more of a much smaller pie.’
And let me emphasize: ‘THERE’S A GREAT ADVANTAGE TO BE GOTTEN FOR BOTH SIDES IN CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH BOTH PARTIES FEEL POWERFUL.
It is of great advantage to have positive energy (perception) in a room from both parties, which will result into a symbiotic long term marriage in business.