10 perception highjacks of the biggest brands in the world you can test this year part 1

Changing how your brand and products are perceived is one of the most effective things you can do to change the trajectory of your business and boost your bottom line.

This is something that companies often overlook and don’t pay enough attention to, particularly ones where their product is seen as a bit of a commodity purchase and gets judged more so on its functionality more than anything else.

When it comes to differentiating yourself in the marketplace, the current conventional wisdom of lowering prices is both risky and capital intensive as it becomes a game of which companies can operate on the least margins. This isn’t a fun game to play unless you’re very well-capitalized and you (and your investors) are happy with periods of no-low profits.

The race to the bottom pricing competition can be seen as good for the customer but only to a certain extent but even they associate price with value. So the lower the price, the lower they value their purchase. Their commitment level to your brand isn’t particularly strong and if some other lower-priced competitor comes along, don’t hold your breath that the customer will shop with you again.

But hey, these aren’t exactly the type of customers you can predictably build a business around. So what do we do?

We need to change how we’re perceived in the mind of customers, and we don’t have to break the bank with new product innovations or on vanity marketing. Nope, we just need a few subtle nudges so we can control the conversation in the customer’s mind, make ourselves seen as a much more valuable brand than the rest of the competition, and ultimately change the way our brand makes them feel and.

Once it is seen that way by one, it’ll soon be seen that way by the many.

So let’s look at some of these subtle tweaks we can make and the feelings it gives the customer…

  1. Raise prices (e.g. luxury clothing, cars)

This is one where people will purchase purely for emotion. They want the feeling that they shop at a particular price point that the majority don’t or can’t. Many customers that buy higher-priced goods will want others to know, while others will just want the sweet self-satisfaction without being so smug. Either way, this is a great easy win to give customers and with it change the profile of customers you attract in the future. For some high-priced inspiration check out James Edition, which lists items that play brilliantly into people’s desire for luxury.

2. Limit the supply (e.g. Fine art, NFT collections, jewelry, live experiences)

The more we can’t have something the more we want it. This supply and demand relationship is something that is driving the growing value of certain NFT collections at the moment because it plays into the heuristic of demand and value. Basically the more something is desired, the more valuable it must be, therefore the more desirable it is. Done poorly, this can ruin a brand but to see a great example just study Supreme and how they’ve ran limited collections of their products to become a giant.

3. Increase the visibility (e.g. Apple products)

Sometimes just putting an emphasis on how a product is presented can make a world of difference. There are different ways to do this, for example, using colors, fonts or distinct logos. An example that come to mind are Tiffany & Co, with their trademarked ‘1837 Blue’ color. Or you can go for a more for a ‘less is more’ such as Apple, who’ve always lent on the side of minimalism to raise their aesthetic quality, from their logo to the actual products and even to the way they’re packaged.

4. Associate with authorities (e.g. athletes & energy drinks)

A popular, tried and tested strategy that is often used by fast food brands is to associate with the influencer of the day, particularly those that resonate most with the target customer. The in-built trust and respect that the influencer/authority has with their audience can be a great asset to tap into especially if your brand genuinely is able to serve the audience in a special way. There are various ways to do this, from sponsoring the influencer, partnering with them on a particular collection or even allowing them to be an investor. For an example of the latter, see how Blaze pizza managed to get an investment from LeBron James to help them to become the fastest growing food chain in US history.

5. Document your uniqueness (e.g. Foods, breweries, designers)

This is one of the most effective ways to add storytelling into your brand’s communications. You can do this by showing your special process to manufacture your product that no one else is doing or the way in which you source particular ingredients from a remote part of the world. Whatever is unique about you or even just a little different, now is your chance to show this off and give your customers that feeling that they are unique too, because they shop with you. One particular brand that does this brilliantly is Everlane, which are big on transparency of their pricing and process. They’re well worth a study.

So that’s part 1. I’ll post a continuation to this soon. Which one of these can you get started with as soon as possible?

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