The Long, Winding Road to the Top (of the Mind)

This is part six of 13 in the Experience Design 101 series. For links to all the articles in this series, click here.

In part five of this series we took a look at Purpose and stopped to define a Vision for your firm.

You know where you want to go, but the public knows the road you’re on now. Let’s take a look at Perception.

What’s the best compliment you get from your customers?

Do they love your décor? Why? Do they talk about your cushy amenities, your personal attention, your brilliant staffers, your witty website? The qualities customers love stem from a consciously or unconsciously imparted Vision.

Write down the essence of the compliment.

Elegant.” “They spoiled us.” “Homey.” “Keen insights.” “Sharp wit.” “Quick, without seeming rushed.”

Try to find the few compliments that come up frequently. Listen to the whole comment. If you hear repeatedly that your fabulous chocolates came in a surprisingly plain box, that’s only half a compliment. The full Perception is that you do great work but present it cheaply—there’s a lot to be gained from that knowledge!

Then come down from the starry skies for a moment.

Write down the comments that are nowhere near compliments.

Do you hear again and again that you have slow service, long lines, rude staff, inadequate facilities, product defects? If you can, quantify here so you’ll have numbers to refer to: What percentage of customers have these issues arise? How frequently does each problem occur? This is a chance to figure out whether the long lines or the incorrectly fulfilled orders is the real problem.

Now that you know the good and the bad, you can put together an assessment of the Perception of the public. To get to the top of the mind you will need to Position your firm as first in all the good points (which should align with your Purpose), and fix, minimize, or restate the negatives so they become positive influences, too.

Some steps for the chocolatier with the cheap boxes:

  • Repackage to showcase the upscale offerings.
  • Think of the shop as a showroom for your delicacies.
  • Insist on treating each customer as if they were your largest customer, because someday they may be—or they may refer your biggest customer.
  • Dress the part of a chocolatier.
  • Make your website mouthwatering, and easy to order from. A craving for a truffle might not last until the next morning!
  • Volunteer, advertise, and offer samples to the upscale audience you need.
  • Give pricey “night out” classes once a month with customized aprons, champagne, and more samples.

Take concrete steps to align the Perception in place today, with your ultimate Purpose, and you’ll be on the long and winding road to a Position at the top of the mind.

Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


Next up in the series: Part Seven: It’s not all about the web (but you’d better get on the bandwagon)

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