5 Ways Perception Can Trip You Up
As much as we like to promote authenticity, consideration to how objectively you are presenting your ideas to your audience is very important. Strong branding relies on cultural relevance, so understanding the culture surrounding your brand is a good start to gauging how you might moderate your own thoughts, feelings and opinions to stay well-connected to your audience.
1) Proximity – Objects may be Smaller/Larger than they appear
Emotionally-charged posts are exciting and engaging, but be informed about where your achievement-announcement might sit in the grand scheme of things. If you overplay the status of your involvement in an upcoming event, award or ceremonious acknowledgement, it comes off as a bit self-important. Similarly, the #humblebrag is kinda condescending to others involved in the pursuit of such milestones. Be informed about how big a deal it deserves.
2) Permanence – Shifting landscapes
Trends and cultural ‘codes’ are always changing, especially as technology advances and our global connectivity is more instantaneous. Nothing comes off more naff than a dated reference or culturally irrelevant in-joke. Stay current by observing similar products or services and the watch the cultural behaviour which surrounds them. This is particularly important with hashtag movements and use of popular culture themes and celebrity. #nekminnit
3) Personalisation – Reflections of you
It shouldn’t be about only you. Social media is an opportunity to connect to others and share in a cultural exchange. Self-promotion is not only tedious but also lacks the offer of any engagement. Avoid this situation by considering how many of your posts contain “I” or “We”. Find a way to structure your text so that it creates the emotion/sets the scene where the reader can place themselves in the narrative. “Guys, it’s Friday!” rather than “I’m so happy it’s Friday!” creates a totally different experience for the reader in that they are involved in your excitement about Friday. It’s a good idea to do a bit of reading around narration in literature to help you understand why this language-shift is an important tool in relatability.
4) Projection – negative/positive state of mind
This is similar advice to “Don’t text drunk.” Your skewed emotional state can see you pull content from irrelevant hemispheres of the emotional spectrum. When researching for content try to stay “in the middle” to maintain brand-relevance and avoid the risk of painfully saccharine or depressingly bleak content. (Inspirational memes are particularly trite…don’t do it, no matter how full of #inspo you are).
5) Popular opinion – observe & research DON’T react and regurgitate
This is so important in any public space, but critical when managing a brand. Disinformation in the media, propaganda, political agenda, fear campaigns, even satirical publications are designed to elicit a reaction. Just because it’s in a Meme doesn’t make it true. Propaganda is often created out of misquotes or half-truths, so try to find the original source where possible. It’s advisable to locate reports from a couple of sources; try to make sure these sources aren’t heavily biased. There are several hoax sites you can check to validate anything you suspect as being a little ‘off’.