Friday, 3 May 2013

Peeling paintwork

I was reading an article recently that suggested it only took 30 seconds for us to form that vital ‘first impression’.  I was amazed!  I have always assumed it took only about 3 or 4 seconds. 

The article started me thinking about how many first impressions we make during the course of an average day.  I’m not going to hazard a guess but it must be a pretty high number.  Even on days that are fairly routine we’ll be forming opinions about all sorts of things.  It happens every time we look in a shop window, meet a customer, sit next to someone on the train and so on.

When we talk about ‘first impressions’ we tend to think that we’re talking about face to face situations and of course, often this is the case, but the surroundings in which people live or work are just as important.  Have you ever been to someone’s home or office and been amazed at how tidy/messy/ luxurious/grubby (delete as applicable!) it was?  We can’t help but be influenced by these things – perhaps they are more wealthy than we thought, maybe their organisational skills aren’t up to much if their desk is such a tip, or can they not afford a hoover…?!!!

A lot of marketing practice is about human behaviour and psychology.  In fact, that’s the part of marketing that interests me most.  I like to know why people do what they do – in other words, what motivates them. 

Marketing covers many areas of business but appearance and perception is right up there at the top of the list.  Everyone knows that negative impressions are often last impressions because we simply don’t get a second chance. 

So are first impressions just about how we look and act?  Today, opinions are formed long before we have a face to face meeting – if, indeed, we ever do.   Our corporate ID and branding is a strong influencer, but so too is our LinkedIn profile, our email tone of voice, or the content of our latest tweet. 

Everything counts in marketing because all these things add up to give customers an overall impression about us, our business, our values and our service.  We live in a world where our actions are public – often online – and we must be consistent if we’re to be believable.

So remember when you’re putting up that fancy name plate outside the front door – check whether the paint is peeling!

Posted by Ruth Wiseman at Savannah Marketing

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