Brand Image Dysmorphia
Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the fairest brand of them all? Saturday morning: I left the house with a fresh shave, groomed hair, pressed clothes, and the general perception of having my shit together. Cut to noon and I’m running errands making a beeline to my car through a department store when…BAM! There it was: the surprise, jump out at you out of nowhere mirror. I was frightened, shocked, and saddened at what stood before me.
Hair: Askew and crazed.
Face: Ragged, tired, and stressed… the overhead fluorescent lending a particularly harsh view.
Clothes: One pant leg tucked into sock and two missed buttons resulting in a rather unflattering peekaboo at my mid-section.
My perception of my outward appearance when I headed out to run that errand was vastly different from the man in the mirror. Many brands suffer similar misconceptions regarding their self-view and the views of the customers and target audience.
They think they’re “luxurious” when in reality they’re a step above bargain basement. Or perhaps they still tout themselves as a “family-business” but now they’re a subsidiary of a conglomerate and they’ve out-sourced all their jobs to Malaysia. They think they provide an “invaluable service” when in reality they’re a dime a dozen and the competitors offer a similar product at a better price.
If we’re doing our jobs well as marketers and strategists we are more than just our job titles, we also have to be the mirror in the room. We need to show brands who they really are, not who they think they are. What’s important is not the brand’s self-view but the views of their current and prospective customers. It’s what the customer sees and what they think that matters. The POV of the customer is paramount, especially when we’re developing strategy or creating content.
It’s a hard thing, seeing oneself in a surprise mirror attack – believe me I know. But it’s also necessary if you want to better how others view and interact with you. Show your clients who they are. It might hurt at first but they’ll thank you later when their brand image and engagement has improved through accurate strategy and targeted content that takes aim at the hearts and minds of their consumers.