Perception in business is the reality and not the other way round.
I wrote in diversification vs diworsification about many examples of companies trying to get into each other’s market. Many times the owners of business think of changing reality and thus changing the perception. However the truth is not always the winner(sad but true). It is not the reality but the mind’s perception of reality that defines if your product or service will work in the market place.
Let me talk about perception and reality in business context. When you think of Google , what is the first few things that come to your mind? Search Engine Giant, contextual advertisment, adsense, adwords. Does social media comes to your mind? No.
When you think about social media, facebook and twitter lead the race to the top. Can you ever imagine Facebook being called as search engine giant. “Never”. Imagine that tomorrow, Facebook comes out with a serach engine more powerful than Google , would you call it a Search Engine company? No!
IBM has never been called anything other than a mainframe and computer company. Though they have moved into service business successfully, the perception about business , IBM is into, never changes.
Apple has successfully sold many iPads and iPhones but in mind of the consumer, it is first a computer company and then anything else.
Microsoft though has sold many XBOX’s, people still hate(or love) it for its operating system.
The point is that , perceptions are so much ingrained in human minds that they are often impossible to remove. They shape the reality. If the perception of your business is that you are in certain segment, then with the same brand no matter how much you try, you will not be successful in changing the consumer’s perception. Even though they like your new product they would fondly recall your company with old products only.
Why is this important to an entrepreneur or any business ? It is very important to know what perception you are trying to create in mind of consumer. Your company will forever be associated with that brand image or product. It has both positive and negative aspects.Success in your business depends largely on your business branding and public’s perception.