Psychology | Perceptions
Looking at this photograph you might think I live in the English countryside rather than a metropolitan area. I am projecting a perception, we do this all the time with words, pictures and appearance. I was helping business students yesterday and later I thought the important words they need to learn are perceptions and perceive. In business it is important to understand how people perceive things and that we all perceive things a little differently from one another.
The way we perceive different companies and products is very important. Companies tend to have a large budget for marketing, advertising and publicity and devote a lot of resources to make our perceptions of their products be desirable. That was how Apple marketed the IPhone, I pad and other products and is typical of how a company encourages people to think their products have status and are desirable. The same applies to a lot of designer clothing; it doesn’t matter that the clothing is made in a Asian sweat factory. The important thing is the name and the label. You can of course perceive the designer label quite differently to what the company intended and avoid designer labels if you think they are too expensive. We all get caught up in the hype though. Which do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? If you choose then you have a preference; if you reject both then perhaps you are resisting their attempt to brain wash you!
Perceiving something as a luxury item can be expensive. Cars are perceived as symbols of success; status symbols. People often feel they must have a late model car or their image will be damaged. They feel the model is important and ‘need’ their Jaguar or Rolls Royce. My car’s a little old and definitely not a status symbol, but it gets me where I’m going. Even I’m aware of the way others perceive me though, so when I was thinking about going to a presentation; I first thought about my appearance and what I would wear. It’s not like popping out to the supermarket, but even for that I try to be reasonable presentable.
Can we as individuals influence the perceptions of others? We can! I hope to influence the perceptions of the other people at that presentation by dressing well. I won’t go as far as designer labels but take more care than usual. We can also influence people with words and pictures, without even meeting them. Just as I will put a little more thought into the way I dress for an occasion; I can also put some thought into how an email might be perceived. How will my profile on LinkedIn or Facebook be perceived? If I put a little more thought into them, I can influence perceptions. Successful companies constantly innovate and produce new products or services and then they publicise the result. We have to be constantly changing and evolving or people will perceive us as boring. If we resist change that can make us look staid and boring. If we enjoy ourselves too much and are never serious, people’s perceptions of us might be that we are irresponsible. We have to strike a balance in our behaviour in order to give a good impression. We all have an image, the way be believe others perceive us. It can be quite depressing if others don’t perceive us as we would like. If people occasionally seem to perceive you in a negative way, you can ignore it. If their perceptions are quite general and most people perceive you negatively then it’s time to change. You might need to lighten up or maybe take life a little more seriously? The key to changing your image is behaviour and possessions have little effect. The way you dress does make a difference, far more than driving a very expensive car that can’t always be seen. Other possessions and your home make little difference. People often try to give a good impression by having an immaculately clean and tidy home; but it is often a sign of obsessive behaviour.
Whatever you are trying to do in life, being aware of the impression that you give can be useful. A little thought and you might be able to make a better impression?
- The New Rolls Royce Ghost (netcars.com)
- Self Awareness | Leadership and Perception (martinwebster.eu)
- Perception of car as ‘extension of self’ leads to aggressive driving (news.bioscholar.com)