I’ve long thought that perception is reality. That is to say, that what the public/audience/viewer/consumer perseveres is the only reality that matters. Most people (and organizations) act and react based on what they think of themselves and not basing it on what other people and organizations think about them.
We can discuss messaging and branding as much as we want, but if it doesn’t take into account the perception (reality) of the target audience the best message will fail miserably. What we may feel is a no brainer or no big deal is a very big deal to the people we work with or serve. If we don’t take their thoughts and opinions into the planning of any campaign we are starting out on the wrong foot.
The Gap logo debacle is one example. Gap realized too late that they needed to find out what the consumer thought about the logo before deciding to make a change. I, for one, was shocked that a company so focused on their brand would change their logo and then be shocked at the backlash. It was as if there were no focus groups or surveys done — and if there were they didn’t talk to the right people.
What do you think? Is perception reality? Should we force messaging through based on what we want people to believe or based on what they already do?