In my MARK 4600S class, we watch Ted Talks every week. This week, we watched Rory Sutherland’s “Life Lessons from an Ad Man.” This is a very popular Ted Talk, and if you haven’t seen it before, I highly recommend you watch it. The talk is centered around the power of changing perceptions in the marketplace. Sutherland discusses the rebranding of the potato in the 1700s and changing the advertising of Shreddies cereal by marketing it as diamond-shaped instead of square-shaped. Products have intangible value to consumers, which ultimately is the consumers’ perceptions of a product. Perception is subjective and malleable and can be managed by marketers.
Social media allows for marketers to tinker with consumer perceptions. It allows them to have the ability to boost a product and its perception by utilizing a variety of social platforms to reach a wider range of consumers. For example, Papa Johns recently faced a lot of negative press after their founder and the person behind their name made racial slurs. Did Papa Johns recover? Not fully. They fired John Schnatter, the founder, but they still have a long way to go to improve their image. However, they have improved their perception by altering usingsocial media to convey a message of acceptance and change.
How have Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts gotten so popular on social media? They brand themselves as an aesthetic in addition to coffee or donut chains. People are attracted to their brand because the companies have built a unique online image. Social media gives marketers the chance to have a stronger impact on consumer perceptions. Social media facilitates monitoring market interests, competitor strategies, and consumer perceptions. By utilizing different social media platforms, consumer can develop their brand image and its presence in the marketplace. Shreddies rebranded themselves without actually changing anything about their product. This is the power of perception. It can be shaped to fit consumer interests, it just takes market research and resource use. When things are harder to get, people often want them more. Some companies emphasize a limited-time or limited-quantity product. This increases desire. Social media gives marketers stronger power to control brand and product perceptions.