Perception shapes the long-term relationship clients have with your brand.


How open are the doors of your client's perception to your brand and the services you provide?

The term "Doors of Perception" came from the book written by Aldous Huxley on his psychedelic experiences and was the influence for Jim Morrison to name his band "The Doors". However, it is equally valid that businesses in both the B2B and B2C areas need to understand their clients' perceptions of their business and do all they can to hold open the doors for clients to build trust and brand loyalty.

The perceptions consumers hold of a brand, its values, and services can dramatically impact consumer purchase behaviour [1]. In business, particularly in marketing and building brand loyalty, perception is reality. While the perception may be reality, it is essential to understand it is subjective. Perception is how a person selects, organises, and interprets their surroundings to build a meaningful and coherent picture of the world [2]. Because it is subjective, two people can experience the same surroundings. Yet, their perception of the environment will be different because of how they select and interpret the situation [3].

This means businesses have to understand the psychology of customer behaviour in ways they did not have to 5 – 10 years ago. For example, in a recent blog, we wrote on the loyalty of 18 – 25 year-olds and the importance of building customer lifetime value (CLV) in terms of brand loyalty and sustainability for businesses. To build loyalty within any group, but particularly amongst young people, businesses need to understand the perception and behaviour of the client group.  

Hubspot predicted that by 2020, the customer experience would overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator [4]. We are now in 2021, living through the ongoing effects of a pandemic where increasing isolation and lockdowns have changed customers behaviour in ways not envisaged when Hubspot made their prediction. Now clients want to experience being connected to organisations that provide value, are ethical and have a social impact [5].   Given these challenges, businesses need to understand the importance of keeping clients' perceptions open and understand how clients' perceptions are formed.

While this can be a complex interplay of many factors, we will consider three broad areas for this blog. These are how client's sense, organise and react to businesses and products [6].

The sensing stage is where clients gather knowledge about the product, service, or brand. This gathering of knowledge is not just intellectual knowledge such as reading reviews or searching for star ratings. The knowledge is also sensory; the feel, the smell, even the brand's taste is important [7]. The importance of using the senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, & hearing) is the topic of an upcoming blog of ours.  Suffice to say; researchers claim rooms painted pink appear to calm delinquents and prison inmates. Some fast-food chains rely on colour organise to stimulate hunger among their customers [8]. Our senses do play an important role in our perception of a business and its products.

How a business influences the client's senses of their products or services is the first step to keeping their doors of perception open.  

The organising phase is where the client makes sense of what they have sensed.  At this stage, the client makes judgments based on their subjectivity, such as personal beliefs and perceptions [9]. In this stage, they mentally compare and contrast the service or product of your business with that of other businesses. This comparison is often highly subjective and will often come down to how your product feels, even how your service feels. When we are in the service industry, we often do not consider how our service impacts the client's senses. Yet, a client will intuitively sense how the service feels to them, which will influence their decision-making.

The last phase is reacting or acting. This is where the client will act based on their decisions in their sensing and organising phase and external things such as online reviews [10]. When we understand these three stages, we are better equipped to keep the doors of our client's perception open.  Why is this important?

Perception shapes the long-term relationship clients have with your brand. The business that establishes positive brand perceptions is more likely to indirectly impact clients and establish themselves as leaders in their field than other brands [11].

It is essential to keep the doors of your client's perception open.