The art of perception management
20 July 2004
Communication is the primary tool for managing perceptions to motivate the desired behaviour.
If you feel that no matter what you do in your organisation people do not notice your effort then you ought to take up a lesson or two in perception management. What you actually do may be important but projecting the right image and managing the perceptions of the concerned parties is vital in today's sound byte-savvy world.
When David Ogilvy famously declared that the consumer is not a moron she is your wife, he might as well have added —" If she perceives you as loyal she'll buy more," implying that it is perceptions that define every buy-sell reaction. And communications is the primary tool for managing perceptions to motivate the desired behaviour in the target audience.
This is understood very well in marketing. If you want the target audience to buy something, you must create a need and manage the audience's perception so that it feels that need and belief that the product will satiate it.
There's a difference here between manipulation (creating something that people really don't need and creating an impression in their minds that they need it) and giving people both the opportunity to express a need and the best way to fulfil that need through products, services, etc. The boundary is getting fuzzy these days as even the co9mmonplace and ordinary is packaged as extraordinaire! Politicians do this by instinct, particularly when the behaviour they desired is a positive mandate or vote for themselves. They know that every outcome requires someone somewhere to do something.