A Brand is a human perception.

Perception may happen in many ways, communication is just one way to perceive something. The difference between perception and communication is: Perception is the subjective feeling that comes as a result of the objective communication.

Communication is objective, whereas perception is subjective. Perception depends upon various factors such as background of the individual, psyche, economic and social factors and a lot others. Though the brand communicates the same values to all the people in a target segment, the values are perceived differently based on various factors of an individual. For example, a school boy on his way to school is given a Frooti daily by his mother. This boy when he is grown up will have a biased loyalty to Frooti, though there are better brands in the market. It is not about the objective value of a drink, it is about the subjective emotion that the boy perceives in Frooti.

A great brand strategist understands the perception of their target consumers. He makes them perceive what he wants them to perceive, and he brings out an emotion in them. One of the best examples for this is the choclate Kit-Kat. Kit-Kat in Japan means good luck. The Japanese kids felt that Kit-kat brings good luck to them and it soon became a ritual to eat Kit-Kat before an exam. There are similar examples such as the number eight in China, people sitting in a Volvo car when they feel insecure, and many others.

You are a brand, people perceive you.

Suppose there are twins for one of your friends, and it is absolutely difficult to distinguish between them. To make matters worse, they have the same name and they are always dressed in the same attire. It needs some effort to understand who is who in such a case. Now, imagine that one of them has a lot of interest in Mathematics and he always wears a t-shirt that has equations printed on it. This time it is easy to distinguish among them. This is what is called creating a new category.When you create a new category, you become the first and you will have an opportunity to become a leader in that category. So, when people find difficult to perceive your brand, you need to do something to help them easily distinguish your brand. Your brand should stand for something different from the competitors. You need to find something that people associate your brand with.

As time progresses, people start associating that kid with mathematics the way Volvo is associated with safety. It doesn’t matter if Volvo is really safe or the kid has lost his interest in mathematics, people will always associate him with mathematics because that is what with which he helped them perceive better. What matters is what you make people feel and associate the brand with, creating a Brand Identity.


6 thoughts on “A Brand is a human perception.

  1. Krishna, very good insight! I enjoyed it. Reminds me again of the Marlboro Man, a totally fictitious character that has taken on iconic meanings! It’s the perception of “smoking Marlboro gets me to channel the cowboy traits.. of bravado, masculinity, unafraid, pioneer, leadership, etc, etc.”.

    At Mindcode we actually approach this using Dr Paul MacLean’s 3-Brain Theory; ie. 1. Cortex (Logic), 2. Limbic (Feelings), 3. Reptilian (Survival/Instinct). These 3 brain parts digest meanings differently and develop: 1. Functional Value (Cortex), 2. Emotional Value (Limbic), and 3. Symbolic Value (Reptilian).

    Reptilian is the most powerful of brains, as it doesn’t think or act, it merely reacts (survival, reproduction, sex, heritage, family, legacy,… are just some of the traits that best describe the Reptilian Brain.

    And the likes of Apple, Starbucks, Marlboro, Singapore Airlines, Samsung, GE, Jet Airways (YES, THIS IS A BRAND THAT CLEARLY UNDERSTANDS ITS IDENTITY CLEARLY… built based on Singapore Airlines’ experience)…they all understand the REPTILIAN BRAIN’s function and why their consumers relate to them so deeply! Serious fans… even reaching cult status in some cases.

    ciao, d

  2. Thanks for sharing the Mindcode approach. I will go through the things and may be we can share more ideas. Thanks a lot for being here Dian.

  3. A very nice one man…. yeah I am not sure of out of Indian market… but it pays a lot to establish an identity of a product in indian market like you said… “way Volvo is associated with safety” and volksvagon for engines… 🙂

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