November 15th, 2011 By Jack Morton
I read this fantastic article in the New York Times yesterday, “In China, Car Brands Evoke and Unexpected Set of Stereotypes”.
Did you know that Buicks are one of the hottest luxury cars in China? Or that the Audi A6 carries with it the cache of government officials? Read the article to learn just how differently our Chinese counterparts perceive the very same brands we have here in the US.
It reminded me that as brand and marketing professionals, we actually have very little control of our brand’s perceptions. While we can pontificate about brand intent until the end of time, the lion’s share of perception is based on your audiences perspective. Their genetic disposition, life experiences, upbringing, moral construct, personal observations, community interactions and more all play a role in how a brand perception is formed.
This is why brand experience, not definition, is critical to the success of your brand. Perhaps you have a global brand, perhaps you do not. If you were to launch your brand in a new region, country or market, or if you were to start all over again, what steps would you take to manage brand intent and drive brand perception? What factors would you be most worried about? How would you become the brand you so badly want to be?