Perceptions: Our favorite marketing strategy exercise
How to define your highest-level storylines to tell a more effective, cohesive story and brand for your specific audience.
If you could see into the future and put words in your audiences’ mouths, what would they say about your company? This is not a newsletter about time travel or manifesting realities, but it is about creating perceptions.
Perceptions are a key ingredient in your brand story and marketing strategy, in fact we think defining perceptions is a more clarifying and actionable exercise than writing a positioning statement or developing brand values (apologies to the agencies of the world).
Covered in this post:
🔮 What is a perception?
💡 Examples: Hypothetical perceptions for real companies
🧘♀️ How do perceptions relate to positioning?
🏁 How perceptions help you create better goals, content & messaging.
🧪 How to test that you have the right perceptions for your company
What is a perception and why should I write them?
Marketing perceptions are what you want to be known for as a company and what you want your audience to repeat back to you. They are the tenets of your story for the next year or so. When you write perceptions properly they guide your marketing efforts, so you stay focused and tell a repeatable story that is uniquely your own. Perceptions then trickle down and shape marketers’ goals, messaging, and content roadmap. When you don’t write perceptions, your story is likely all over the place.
(Hypothetical) Examples of perceptions
We’ve created some perceptions, pretending we were marketers at these companies when they were starting out—so much time traveling in this newsletter.
Stripe (hypothetical) perceptions, ~9 years ago
Developers should focus on building what’s core to their product.
If my product accepts payments, it’s a no brainer to use Stripe.
Stripe is building for developers—they have the best documentation, community, and support of any developer product.
Salesforce (hypothetical) perceptions, ~20 years ago
Software is moving to the cloud. We are leaders in this movement aka “No software”
My sales team’s administrative burden can become more automated.
Tradeshows are boring, Salesforce events (aka Dreamforce, etc) are actually informative and fun.
Asana (hypothetical) perceptions, ~8 years ago
Please note, while Emily was at Asana for 4 years, she didn’t know how to make perceptions when she started building the marketing team in 2013, and these are not real.
Teamwork should be more effortless.
Project management tools aren’t just for PMs or project managers.
Teams are doing great things with Asana.