Some sites look better but do worse. Some sites offer the same product for more money, but do better. Why is that? The balancing act of consumer perception.
How do we know what we know?
It’s a question so interesting, so complex and tough to answer that Immanuel Kant dedicated at least four volumes of philosophical writing to it.
It’s also a question that this 500-word blog will not answer.
What we will discuss is what kind of things customers “know” from the first glance of our product or website—an incredibly important question for online marketing in Orange County and beyond.
What exactly is consumer perception?
The best way to answer that question is with another question: where does consumer perception come from? A customer’s perception of your car TV commercial, for example, is built on a variety of things—most notably the variety of car commercials the person has seen before. This becomes obvious when you watch car commercials from another country—some aspects are the same, and some things like the subject matter and pace of the commercial are different between countries.
Creating branding or marketing material with consumer perception in mind can thus be rather complex. You can score points by thinking outside the box, but at the same time, if your ad, logo, or website strays too far from what is standard for consumer perception in your market, you may end up harming yourself in the long run. You’ve got to strike a balance between speaking the right language to your audience, and, where possible, standing out from the crowd.
No matter the audience, and no matter the industry, the audience has certain expectations. These can be artfully played with, as in an ingenious Apple advertisement that aired in Japan. Japanese advertisements are louder and faster-paced than commercials here in the US. The Apple spots were really memorable because they were completely silent, with words on the screen. People who were cooking with the TV on were so accustomed to the background noise that when they heard silence, they stopped what they were doing to check what was going on. It’s a great example of subverting expectations.
Conversely, it can be tempting to try and go above and beyond in a way that works negatively for consumer perception. An innovative, engaging website can do wonders for a hip, new app. More traditional websites, however, such as an e-commerce website that sells computer hardware, will benefit from a straight-forward, “normal” design. Anything out of the ordinary may distract, or get between the customer and a purchase.
There are still more touch points where consumer perception matters. What does the price of your product tell the customer? Does your product call for minimal packaging that shows off the product, or will eye-catching packaging be enough to sway perception in your favor? How do colors, shapes, and fonts communicate value when a customer is trying to make a decision? What time of year is it?! All these questions matter, and potentially matter a great deal, for influencing consumer perception in your online marketing efforts in Orange County.