There are always three sides to every story. There is your side. Their side. And the truth which is usually somewhere in the middle . If you have ever had to officifiate an argument between your kids, you understand.
When it comes to brands, it is the same thing. We believe our brands stand for something heroic, important, innovative, ground-breaking, (insert your own exaggerated and myopic adjective here).
However, if you ask someone who does not have a vested interest in your brand what they think about your brand, you might get a totally different story. Their viewpoint is usually based on either personal experience with your brand or their perception of your brand. This second-hand perception of your brand is usually a result of other’s perception of your brand – through press releases, advertising or word-of-mouth chatter or image in relation to other competitors.
The truth, as in the argument about which kid really broke the lamp, usually contains a little bit of both sides.
While you can control the brand message through advertising, service delivery and image building, your brand is actually defined by what consumers think of your brand. Even by people who have never been a customer of yours.
So, what is a great way to bridge the gap between what you think and what they think? Try seeing your brand through their eyes.
The Trader Joes grocery chain doesn’t advertise. It is not how they build their brand. They don’t need to. But one Trader Joe’s customer decided to create a TV spot which you can see here.
As a customer of Trader Joes, I can tell you that the spot is right on and successfully captures my perception of the grocery brand.
If you are responsible for your brand, how do you think your brand would look if one of your customers was responsible for creating it? What about a non-customer’s view of your brand?
One tactic would be to promote a flash video contest so you could find out. This approach might be more truthful than a stuffy and expensive consumer focus group. Plus, since people like to publish their own content and comment on others, your promotion would have a viral / social element to it. Just see how the Trader Joe’s video has over 750,000 views.
The most important question about your brand is to ask “are your customers so emotionally connected to your brand that they would take the time to create a commercial for it”?
Trader Joes thinks so.