By Robyn Adair; istockphoto.com photo
We’ve talked about the brand promise
being part of the brand definition. But there is more to a brand than the promise. What are brand perceptions and expectations and how do they define a brand?
Brands are built by consumers. How your customers perceive your brand is what defines that brand. Once your customer has a certain perception about your brand, they will have certain exceptions from your brand. If your brand doesn’t meet those expectations during every interaction, you will confuse and alienate the very people to whom you are trying to appeal. Your now ex-customer will turn to another product or service that fulfills their perceptions and expectations.
To illustrate this idea of perceptions and expectations, let’s take a look at Dove’s recent social media mishap. Dove’s brand promise is “helping all women realize their true beauty potential.” Their Real Beauty campaign was a solid success when the company initially implemented it. The campaign celebrated all women: all ages, body types, skin color. We perceived Dove as a brand that was for all women; it was a confidence boost, a statement that we all have worth, that we are all included. We expected future campaigns would continue to promote that inclusiveness.
However, a recent social media ad showed that even big brands can screw up in a big way. The beginning of the clip asked if we were ready to get clean and goes on to show an African American woman removing her dark t-shirt and then morphs into a white woman in a lighter t-shirt. The perception is, well… you get the perception. The ad falls well short of consumers’ perceptions and expectations of the Dove brand. The ad was quickly removed amid a large outcry from consumers and Dove later apologized for their tone-deafness. And I sincerely doubt a racist ad was their intention. This is a great illustration, though, of how consumers’ perceptions and expectations can shape a brand.
Think about your brand. How is it perceived? What expectations do your customers/clients have of that brand? Does your brand meet those expectations every time?
Commercial & editorial lifestyle & travel photographer, educator, competitive cyclist, track/cross country coach