Managing Perceptions: The Business of the Right “Look”

As business owners, sometimes we fail to take a step back and review our businesses from a third-party perspective. Image is everything, and this is especially true to someone that’s seeing something for the first time, or experiencing your business for the first time, whether they consciously realize it or not.

Decisions, Perception, and People

People make decisions based on their perceptions often, which would force one to conclude that a business owner should respond by investing some effort into guiding the perception of their business in the eyes of others.

From time to time we have to ask ourselves a few simple questions;

  • “Is the visual representation of my business average, good, or great?”
  • “How is my business perceived?”
  • “Does my business visually communicate the substance we provide?”
  • “What is the experience and the comfort level of a person who is having their first experience with my business?”

The Business of Beautifying the Business

Oftentimes, during the normal day-to-day operations of a business, in conjunction with the demands placed on its executives, the concept of aesthetics and appearances can be lost.

  • If your company has trucks on the road, how do they look? Are they clean or do they look like fixer-uppers from a junkyard?
  • If your business operation is based in an office setting, are you proud of your reception area?
  • How would you rate yourself, your business, and the first impression given to customers/clients?
  • Does your business feel like it’s held together by duct tape, or does it have a solidifying presence based on strength?
  • Would you rate your business as outstanding, average, or hardly able to challenge the competition? Are you even relevant?

If you haven’t asked yourself questions like those, it should be of major import that you reconsider the value of investing the time needed to reflect on the business in this way. Compare your operation to that of your most respected competitor(s) and have some reflection time afterwards. You may be able to pull some constructive energy from a competitive inspiration.

If your business is stagnating then let’s face it, you’re just a few lost customers/clients away from certain decline. A facelift may inject new life into the business that would probably end your experience with the stagnation anathema. It may also solidify some existing business relationships as well, and boost morale; which could be everything.

Best Buy®, For Example

Let’s look at Best Buy® for a perfect example of perception management.

The big-box retailer is under attack on all fronts by online retailers like Amazon,,, and others on the ground like Wal-Mart, but has remained on top of it’s game and has continued to grow.

The Best Buy® Experience

The Best Buy® experience is a different one; you’re greeted by a big beautiful sign, a friendly face at the door that ensures that you’re pointed in the right direction, spacious aisles that complement your comfort level while browsing and shopping, lots of quality products, numerous points of sale with friendly faces who are ready to complete transactions, and a fluid customer service section with a number of professionals who are ready to help right wrongs. Compare that to a Radio Shack (nearly defunct) experience.bestbuy1-550x360

The store is always cleaned to a spotless perfection, along with the parking lots and lands, and all visible glass.

This is a company that understands the importance of image. Even the geek squad looks the part, and makes good on staying true to it’s marketing caricature. And when you leave Best Buy, there’s a friendly person at the door ready to see you off.

What we see here, in Best Buy®, is a flexible & fluid company that has clearly taken their aesthetic appeal into account and has likely survived (see Radio Shack & Circuit City) because of it.

Making Your Brand a Best Buy

For starters, we’ll need to take a hard and objectively skeptical look at the business. Any forms of mediocrity should be top priorities for reinvention, perfection, and smart investments in preeminence. If being average is getting you by and making due, a relentless pursuit of excellence can only help to accelerate the bounties of your success, and an expansion of your influence.

If you think your image is working for you, you should make sure that you can assure that as a fact. If your image isn’t working for you, it’s hurting you.

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