Chris Moerdyk

Reality is all about perception

2012-07-23 08:01

Chris Moerdyk

I was taking part in a small business workshop a few weeks ago, when it dawned on me that far too many people still concern themselves only with realities and take no notice at all of perceptions.

Frankly, one of the most important factors in any business is clearly understanding how customers perceive what you are doing and selling.

Remember that great story about the bloke who started a salmon canning plant? Somewhere near Seattle, I think it was.

The poor guy was driven to distraction because his canned salmon just didn't look right, let alone appeal to the taste buds. He ploughed millions into research and development but to no avail. His darn salmon remained grey, dull and boring.

Nobody but nobody wanted to eat grey salmon.

Then, along came an advertising whizzkid who designed a new label.

In big bold letters was the promise; "GUARANTEED NOT TO TURN PINK IN THE CAN.

His salmon sold like hotcakes after that.

Here's another example:

Sometime in the 1950s the Kenwood Food Mixer company in the UK decided to test the taste of the US consumer with a trial consignment of food mixers. California was chosen as the test market not necessarily because of the discerning nature of consumers in the Golden State but because they were known to fork out fortunes for anything new - useful or otherwise.

Kenwood pitched their pricing below that of the two big American brands, Hamilton Beach and Sunbeam.

Not a single Kenwood moved. Californians, it seemed, were far too patriotic to use anything but American products. Kenwood decided to bring the consignment back to England.

Then came an advertising whizzkid. Quite possibly the same fellow who came up with the "guaranteed not to turn pink in the can" strategy.

 "Hang on," he said. "Before you go to the expense of shipping the whole bangshoot back to Britain, why don't you just jack up the prices to way above what Hamilton Beach and Sunbeam sell for?"

 Like many American marketers, his penchant was for sales and not the niceties of grammar.

Anyway, jack up the prices they did and Kenwood never looked back. The whole Californian consignment was sold out in days as consumers rushed to buy the import which, they figured, "must be pretty darn special if it's so expensive".

So remember, if you want to succeed in business, don't just consider reality but give a lot of thought to perception. It's actually a lot easier by the way, because while you can't ever change reality you can do whatever you like with perception including create perceptions among consumers that they never perceived in the first place.

- Follow Chris on Twitter.

Send your comments to Chris

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.




X
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.