Years ago, I was working at XXXX when one of my managers first said to me 'perception is reality'. As he explained what he meant, I was thrown back to high school with memories of my year 12 film and television teacher explaining the concept of framing.
Both wonderful mentors, my manager and my teacher explained that with every angle, there is a story, an image or a perception. But change the angle by zooming out, stepping up, looking left or changing that frame or that angle in any way and the entire story can change.
Once I let that sink in, I was a 17 year old with my mind blown.
If I look at this person pouring some water I see a hand, a glass and a jug. Quite simple really. But through the filter of my values and my experience, I infer that this female is holding a glass at a outdoor venue with others. Someone is pouring her a cold drink and has gone to the effort of adding mint and lemon to make it taste refreshing. From here, I associate this simple story with my own outdoor beverage experiences and perceive that this woman is among friends, they are sharing a meal and some drinks, the sun is out, they are happy, the birds are chirping, someone is cooking a BBQ and it smells great. This image for me is positive, refreshing and inviting.
Change the angle or the frame and this could tell a whole other story. What if the person pouring the water was wearing a a black cape and hood with an evil look in their eye? As the audience, would we feel on edge and worried that she is about to be poisoned?
It's an interesting thought to ponder.
When working with different brands throughout the years, I have come to realise the true value of my mentors lessons. This 'perception is reality' concept is far bigger than art, photography and filmmaking. It extends to experience, brands and business. I have come to truly understand that whatever your audience experience becomes their reality. If they come into your shop, get terrible service, then your business is terrible. That is their perception and their reality. The next day, someone else walks into your shop and gets wonderful friendly service with a smile, then in their eyes your business is fabulous. That is their perception and their reality. Same business, same shop, same counter staff, different experience, different perception, different reality.
The good news is perceptions can be changed.
Are you creating positive perceptions of your business?
To answer this, you need to view your business from the angle of your customer. Get out from behind your desk, search your business online, what do you see? Drive past your shop or office. What do you see? park your car in the customer carpark, walk in and see what service you receive. At every touch point your business is creating an impression. How this customer perceives your business becomes their reality.
Now ask yourself, can this be improved in any way?