If you are working at a B2B job, you have definitely experienced the following cases: 2 companies compete with each other to get one client. Company #1 has extensive experience in the sector of the client. However, company #2 has almost no experience in the sector of the client. Both companies offer more or less the same price. But against all odds, company #2 wins the client. This sounds weird, doesn’t it? Actually, no it doesn’t; because clients consider further criteria beyond price and technical competencies while making decisions. At this point, “perception management” takes stage. We can conclude for the aforementioned example that company #2 achieved a better perception management.
“Brand is just a perception and perception will match reality over time.” Elon Musk
I would like to give another example for perception management, this time from B2C. This is one of the cases I use rarely out of the sector, because of its very impressive outcomes. As you all know, there has been a keen competition between Coca-Cola and Pepsi for years. Pepsi marketing team launched an awesome campaign (and it is still ongoing) in 1975: “The Pepsi Challenge”. As we are all familiar, it was a blind taste test of Coca-Cola and Pepsi on the streets. The results were amazing; 57% of the people who participated in the blind taste test liked Pepsi better. However, despite the results, the campaign could not lead to a commercial success; Pepsi could not take over even half of the cola market. Because consumers had an emotional connection with Coca-Cola. To be able to understand the connection, neuroscientists from US made some researches.
The issue comes to neuromarketing; so, I would like to define neuromarketing in the first place. Neuromarketing can be defined as a field, employing neuroscientific methods to objectively investigate and understand consumer behaviours. The reason for the researchers to adopt neuroscientific methods, instead of directly asking people about their choices is that individuals cannot or will not express their preferences in many cases. Thus, neuromarketing experts prefer using brain imaging tools which are based on collecting and monitoring signals resulting from the brain activities of subjects during a task for marketing objectives.
“People don't think how they feel, they don't say what they think and they don't do what they say.” David Ogilvy
So, American neuroscientists decided to make an experiment on the cola wars, which led to interesting outcomes. They poured Coca-Cola to one glass and Pepsi to another. There were no indicative tags, signals, etc. on the glasses. So, half of the subjects stated they liked the drink in glass filled with Coca-Cola, while the other half stated they liked the one filled with Pepsi. The same subjects were tested half an hour later. However, this time the glasses were tagged with the name of the drinks. The glass filled with Coca-Cola had Coca-Cola tag, while the glass filled with Pepsi had Pepsi tag on it. This time, 75% of the subjects liked the taste of Coca-Cola better; and 25% preferred Pepsi. As a result of the research, neuroscientists and neuromarketing experts concluded that consumers dramatic shift of preference to Coca-Cola, despite the fact that the tastes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi do not significantly differ from each other, depends on the perception of consumers created by Coca-Cola in time.
So, the case can be adapted to B2B ecosystem as follows: You may submit a technically better offer than your competition to get the client; however, that does not mean you are going to win the competition. If your competition is better in perception management, as in cola case, they can easily outclass you.
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