We judge books by their covers, and we always will. Is it right? Perhaps not. Can we change it? Definitely not. We’re human and we’re shallow; whether we admit to it or not. No one is free from judging, likewise no one is free from judgement. And thanks to the unrealistic expectations being served up by social media it’s only going to get worse. And yet, underneath it all, a critical brand marketing lesson can be found.
Rather than fighting the inevitability of scrutiny, brands must instead focus on simply making a better book cover. Judgement is driven by perception and perception is malleable. What people think or say about your brand is completely up to you. How you portray your brand will be directly reflected back to you, so you better make it good.
The night club with the long line out front is perceived to be more popular and “cooler” than the club across the street sans a line. That was planned. The sneaker that sells out in minutes, to the dismay of thousands of customers, who didn’t get there in time, is perceived to be “cooler” than the shoe readily available online and in stores. That was planned.
Perception would tell you that the club and shoe in these scenarios are more popular than the alternatives. Having been behind the scenes and having pulled these same strings myself, I can tell you that often the reality is very different from perception. The reality is that the club itself is empty inside; waiting to let people in until the line outside gives the perception that it’s packed is nothing more than a tactic to change your perception. The reality is the shoe that people missed out on was already in short supply…purposely. Your angry tweet complaining that the company sucks because you didn’t get their product is exactly what the target of your disdain wanted. Strings pulled. Perception built.
Consumers are not pulling the strings. They’re simply judging your book cover. A book cover that you, the marketer, designed.