Saying Sorry Still Works In This Crazy World

On my previous post, I’ve mentioned about perception and what power it beholds. Truth be told, perception is everything in the marketing world as far as I know. You can have the best product in the world, but if perception dictates otherwise, you do not have the best product in the world. When you launched a so so product early in its life cycle and develop it to be perfect later on, people will perceive the product to be so so, especially if said people didn’t purchase/use that product again later in its life cycle.

However, perception can be created or altered even though it takes time to do it. XBOX 360 for example, this latest gaming system from Microsoft is considered to be the next generation system with the widest range of game available to date. Nintendo Wii might be the most popular and Sony PS3 might have the popularity “heritage” from its PS2 days, but XBOX 360 with Microsoft first mover advantage has gained considerable market time and game availability that surpass both Sony and Nintendo next generation console. However, Microsoft’s XBOX 360 isn’t exactly reliable as every console there is in the world, because of the tragic red ring of death. But, thanks to Microsoft swift response, the warranty has been extended for the XBOX 360 and people can replace/repair their damaged system for free. At least in the USA, or every country which they have an official representative… Sadly my country is not in the list, and I have to repair my XBOX 360 to a local technician, but it gets the job done as the problem has been isolated to weak cooling mechanism.

With people perceiving that Microsoft has failed delivering a reliable gaming system, it’s only a matter of time before people jump ships to other next generation gaming system right? Well not really… Microsoft reputation was blemished for sure with the XBOX 360 fiasco but their constant marketing effort to “apologize” to their customers is highly regarded. Microsoft blew the cooling mechanism, and they offer an extended warranty, XBOX live downtime, and they offer free download of games. It seems that saying sorry is still applicable in this crazy world after all, if not, people would just flock to PS3 and Wii (if only their games library is as extensive as XBOX 360).

Now this is one example I share to all of you how perception can be altered. Next up, we will talk about how perception creates brand image through the means of knowledge and experience, and how it brings down Acura marquee.

More Dangerous Than Nuclear Bomb & Compound Interest… Perception!

Nuclear bombs decimate two of Japan’s city with casualties exceeding thousands of lifes, and compound interest… Well, let’s just say that because of it, lots of people lost their everything. The Romans once even ban compound interest in their law (although we know compound interest is very lively nowadays). But there is something more than those two combined, well, what else is there except for perception.

Now first, let’s talk about what is perception means literally. Because I don’t have my trusty library next to me, I will define perception with the help from the almighty internet itself. The meaning of perception varies a lot from sources to sources, I was even kind of shocked by how many meanings it contain. However… I noticed some similarity between them, therefore this is what I interpret about perception from the various sources (link at the end of the article). Perception is our disposition towards something related through our past experience… Now that’s a new definition of perception.

Now from the definition which I have filtered from various sources means that our judgment or perception will differs wildly because a person’s personal experience is up to God’s will and cannot be constructed as we hoped. This fact is actually quite new to me. I thought that perception is a response from a person directly when that situation arise. Then, about a week ago, I talk to my father about perception, he also added something new for me. In his book, he wrote about perception is a cumulative experience of a person PLUS our instinct… Instinct? What the hell… Then he describes that almost everybody are afraid of the dark although the intensity varies. Well, this is actually true because it is human nature to be afraid of the unknown, I think it goes back to our ancestors days.

So if I might summarize it all, perception is a person attitude towards a subject prior to their experience, knowledge and mood at the time they make a judgment. I put personal mood because sometimes, people makes decision based on feelings, just a bit personal experience there.

Now let’s get into the interesting part… The examples!

Now we have Suzuki and their SX4, Honda and their CR-V, Nissan and their Livina. In Indonesia, those respective cars delivery waiting period exceeds 3 months, and the question is what people perceives about the long delivery waiting period? To the majority of people, it means that all three cars are a hot item, but to the more wary people, it means that all three company fails to estimate the market absorption rate of their products. Me? I’m one of the wary people so I perceive Honda, Nissan and Suzuki has failed to estimate the market absorption rate of CR-V, Livina and SX-4. One would argue that the company could not do anything about it because their main headquarter established a fixed quota… Well, global warming is a natural cause anyway (sarcasm warning).

Then how about J.Co and Krispy Kreme strategy here in Indonesia? They play perception game quite well if I bold enough to speak. Well, this is my blog, I can write anything anyway… One peculiar thing I noticed about those spritely donut shops are how their cashier counter and queue line is set up. Most often than not, it revolves around one single line with two cashier waiting at the end of the line. This set up will always make a long queue line even when the customer load (people coming) is just medium to high. I consider this as a stupid management, but there are two advantage of doing this. One is there are more seating space because the queueing line is just a single file, and two, people will perceive that J.Co and Krispy Kreme products are so good even people willing to wait in long line just to purchase it. There you go… Perception…. Me? Again, as my personal experience are a bit bitter, I consider it as a hassle. I demand swift service, I want to go in and out as fast as possible, so I just consider J.Co and Krispy Kreme queue strategy as lacking management wise. However, us we are Asians who are typically does not want to be left out of the “loop” will consider this queueing line as something that is “hip” and we as people must follow that trend. Because we perceive that if people stand that long for just an over the top sugary treat or whatever it is must be extremely good… Me? I don’t like queue lines, when I buy donuts I bought Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme, just because they have shorter queue line than J.Co.

So there you go, perception. I can go on and on about the examples of perception, but it is a little bit of a moot point because there are just too many examples out there already.

Until then, XOXO… (I’ve been watching too much Gossip Girl)

The Sources:

American Marketing Association definition of perception
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions definition of perception
Canadian Food Inspection Agency definition of perception