What you see isn’t always what you get
“What you see is what you get.”
It’s a cliché we’ve all heard a thousand times. The trouble is, as almost any marketing or public relations manager can tell you, it is not always true.
This phrase is often used to convey an aura of authenticity: Whatever you see (and think) when you look at us is exactly the truth; there are no hidden agendas (or fees, or gimmicks) here. However, not all of us “see” the same things. We each process thousands of images, messages and ideas in a day and there are countless ways your customers can combine all those messages into one perception about your company. So, the way you see your company and the way your customers see it may not be the same. What you want them to see is not always the same as their actual perception–sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn’t – and that’s okay.
Whenever we begin a new project at Mottis, we start by developing a creative brief, a short document we use to identify the key goals and message of a project. We work to answer each question as succinctly and directly as possible – no fluff – because this document pinpoints what we will say, who we will say it to and why we will say it.
One of the key points we consider is identifying what the audience currently thinks. What are their current perceptions? We find clients are sometimes hesitant about this question. Do your clients see you as trustworthy but not yet the industry leader? Do you want your widgets to be the hottest, new “it” item with 18-to 24-year-olds, but you’re not quite there yet? That’s okay. You very well might be the industry-leader, and your widgets might be the most innovative widgets in the business, and it is completely OK if your clients’ perceptions aren’t yet exactly the same as what you know to be true about your business.
This is where good marketing comes in. When done correctly, marketing is a vehicle for getting the truth out to your clients and making sure their perceptions match your reality. You are good at what you do. You are innovative. You are the most unique or most efficient or most reliable in the business. And if, in the midst of the thousands of daily messages and thoughts and priorities that your clients have to consider, they have not yet figured that out, that is OK. You can convince them of all you have to offer and good marketing can get you there, but only if you are honest with yourself and with your team about where you are now. It is hard to chart a course for the end destination without knowing where you will start.
So, be proud of all you have accomplished thus far and all of your organization’s strengths, and make an honest assessment of how your clients currently perceive you. Once you know where you are and where you want to go, you can develop the plan that gets you there.