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Zones of Perception

It is possible you can learn a lot about communicating by checking out some of the big brand success stories.  We receive somewhere in the region of 3000 commercial messages every day.  Which ones resonate with you?  Which ones resonate with your client base?  What can you learn from this?

Warren Buffet once said that if someone offered him 100 billion dollars to knock Coke Cola off the top soft drink spot – he’d refuse the challenge.  Only 25% of the value of this company is tangible, the remainder is the power of the brand.

The brand is all about delivering a promise.  To build a brand you not only need to set out what it stands for, but set out how that message is delivered through every single interaction you have with your target client base.

images-2There are some key words that illustrate brand values, they are: integrity, trust, difference, loyalty, fame, belief, cohesion, principle, profit, and passion.  These are significantly important in the word of mouth marketing sphere but it is important to recognise that advertising still has its place.  Even, Cadbury, an established brand, had a 20% uplift with this brilliantly conceived gorilla advertising campaign

To emulate the high street brands you need to build your own brand on four pillars.  They are:

  • The ideology of your business,
  • The capability to deliver what you promise,
  • The environment in which you are trading,
  • The consumer connecting completely with the above.

If any of your pillars fall short of the others then the imbalance throws your brand off kilter.  The following brands are good examples of balance of strength in their four pillars just right, when they launched.  First Direct, Sanctuary, Innocence.  How balanced are your four pillars?

The six guiding principles are:

  1. Get the order right.
  2. Understand, inspire and encourage employees.
  3. Make a big symbolic gesture.
  4. Be consistent and cohesive.
  5. Link measurements to action.
  6. Remember that everything communicates.

When we talk about everything communicates; it is worth considering the three zones of perception.  They are the zone of mediation, discovery and intimacy.


I like this image as it explains the three stages nicely:

The zone of Mediation is the topline advertising campaigns that you might use: for example TV, radio, press, digital ads; outdoor posters, traditional PR, logos, image and slogans; events, your websites, celebrity endorsements.  The more generic these messages, the less effective they are.  Consider who Cadbury was communicating with in the gorilla campaign?

The zone of discovery is where your client finds out about you by ‘chance’.  How does that happen? Word of mouth, weblogs, company vehicles, viral marketing campaigns, sampling, corporate social responsibility, editorials, annual reports, employees, celebrity usage.  This is where others are passing the message on.  But you do have to have the message consistently out there for this to happen.  What messages are you sending?

The final zone is that of intimacy.  When you are in this zone you are connecting with your target clients six senses.  How do you connect with these in terms of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell and feeling?  This is as close as you are going to get to your target client – what is his/her experience?

With thanks to Andy Parker of Sandbourne Marketing  for his ideas and inspiration.  Originally published Nov 2010.

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