“Perceptions are realities to stakeholders who engage with your Company and Brand. These perceptions must be understood and managed with sensitivity if corporate reputation is to be built on a strong foundation.”
 
 
Millicent Danker
Founder, Group CEO & Principal Consultant
 
     
  The Perception Management Factor  
 

Millicent Danker is our Principal Resource. She has always been sensitive to the need for perceptual research before she designs PR programmes for Clients.

Perception is Reality. Companies are accountable to their stakeholders and stakeholders hold certain perceptions of these companies, based on their actions, words and behaviours. Perceptions vary from stakeholder group to stakeholder group but nevertheless must be recognised and understood before they can be managed and leveraged.

In traditional public relations practice, insufficient attention is given to the view from the external environment. Leadership may not be sensitive enough to perceptions that exist in the marketplace. Public relations and communications campaigns often address the needs of the enterprise through inside-out one-way messaging initiatives. To be truly effective, messages must consider the needs of the stakeholder and be strategic, i.e. they must be directed towards helping to shape or change perceptions.

Managing perceptions, according to Millicent Danker, means communicating with an outside-in perspective. She believes messages must be measured by their ability to change or enhance perceptions held by the stakeholder group towards the enterprise, company or brand.

In moving from Perception to Reality, companies can manage and turn around negative perceptions of their organisations. Meanwhile, companies can also build value and enhance reputational assets by managing positive perceptions to advantage. Companies must recognise perception gaps where they exist, and address them through appropriate change programmes. Finally, companies can then begin the task of communicating messages founded on truth and fact. Over time, companies can grow their organisations into enterprises whose values represent those sought by their key stakeholder groups.

The perception management process is a continuum and it begins and ends with research. The role of communication is an essential part of the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 
   
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