Decoding Reality, Encoding PerceptionDeepak Butola
Most of us know that it is perception, but reality, we deal with and perception is almost, sometimes or always close to reality. We sure know what drives reality, though perception is the face of reality, it is imperative to understand the determining force of perception or the perceived reality. The most amazing aspect of this argument is that reality is an unparalleled fact, a constant fact and certain but the perception driven out of that reality could be ever changing belief, norm, awareness or acceptance, something that changes with time. Every human mind has a unique method of decoding reality to build perception and there are unlimited factors that contribute to this process of perception. Every physiological and Psychological state of each individual defines the basic rules of the decoding process of reality to perception. Every perceived reality is unique in nature and has little tolerance towards the perception of others. The theory of perception drives the reality of almost everything around us; be it businesses, brands, projects, economy, consumer markets, policy making process, etc. it is not just limited to this but also drives our personal values, personal choices, relationships, faith & beliefs, social norms and what not.
The known fact is that we are intolerant towards the perception of others, but the irony is that the survival of everything depends on not one’s own perception but how others perceive. Business has to survive when it is perceived well by all the stake holders and not just by the business owner alone, brands do not survive what the brand manager / brand owner perceives, but how consumer perceives the brand. In a nutshell it doesn’t matter what I feel of myself but what is important is that what others feel of me. My perception must matter to others and vice-versa.
My suggestion is not to ignore your perceptions or subservient your perceptions but be observant and aware of and understand the perceptions of others.The reality of perception could well be understood through the story shared by Swami Vivekananda with his disciples.
“Tell a child a lot of ghost stories and let him go out into the street in the evening. There is a little stump of a tree. What does the child see / perceive? A ghost with his hands stretched out, ready to grab him. Suppose a man comes from the corner of the street, wanting to meet his sweetheart; he sees that stump of tree as a girl. A police man coming from the corner of the same street perceives the stump as a thief, a thief perceives that as a policeman. It is the same stump that was perceived in various ways. The stump is the reality and the perceptions of the stump are the projections of various minds”
The theory of perception is vast and applicable to any and everything around us. Business leaders or brand owners must realize that if they are in business, they are always in the business of managing perception. It is the perception that others have of your product, your company, services. Since brand or business perception resides with consumers, not business owners, the goal must be to deliberately cultivate consumer perception. Your perception about your own brand and business is immaterial and would have zero value input in the building process. You must be very effective in understanding consumer background, thought, belief, choice and almost everything so as to develop the best brand perception. Look at your brand or business from multiple lenses and then device a great strategy that is perceived well by your consumers.
Stains were never good till surf excel said so and there are many such examples. The perception of stains changed overnight and surf excel built a parallel perception that “stains might be good but they ought to be removed “gently” with surf excel.
You know the story of your brand and you know the story of your consumer, somewhere you will find a clue to develop a relationship between the stories and that becomes the perception of your brand or business. “Mountain dew” was just another cold drink till it found relationship with the inherent fear of every adventurous youngster, and now the perception of the brand is being fearless.
Just decode the reality and you will have the right code to build a great perception.