Persisting Perceptions

In this age of rapid change, even the most widely assumed perceptions are quickly rendered invalid. To thrive, brands need to maintain a clear view of the truth.

Solar is not expensive, although many believe it to be. Similarly, China’s labor population is actually shrinking, not growing, and U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are on the decline, not the rise. These facts — and seven other stealth economic trends — highlight a lesson for brands: perceptions can exhibit a slow resistance to change, even when they are no longer correct. The NFL is trying to reach women. Yet, they kicked off an ad campaign last year featuring Condoleeza Rice in a Cleveland Browns jersey. The NFL based its campaign on the outdated perception of women as shoppers — instead of true fans who value game-time experiences. In a different way, Coca-Cola is working to move away from outdated perceptions of its brand. As its global brand value lags behind tech giants Apple and Google, the soft-drink maker is investing in clean drinking water. It is also rolling out water and internet kiosks, globally, that are dubbed “downtown in a box” in developing countries. With change being one of the true constants in life, which brands will always know what’s really going on?

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