Why asking why can shift perception into reality

Perception is deeply routed in experience. Plus, it's a byproduct of observation. What that really means is that what we do and what we see shape how we judge the world around us.

A few tricky things about perception, though; it's not the whole picture and unless you poke around for more details or other views, you may never discover how much you are missing. 


Take a look at the 50 Euro on the red car image above. What do you think it? Do you wonder how they shrunk that car? Norwegian design studio Skrekk√łgle is responsible for the coin on a car image.

(Spolier alert; if you don't click through to the site, you won't learn that the design studio actually made a giant nickel and placed it on an actual life size automobile -- and a few other things -- to showcase the power of perception in a rather clever way. Scroll below to see more.)


The point is; the power of perception is real. Real powerful, too. The good news is that the only thing that can undo a bad experience (or perceived bad experience) is a good one. 

Or, as Wharton "Iron Prof" Jonah Berger recently told Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel in an article on making virality part of your marketing strategy, "Stories from angry customers are more likely to spread than stories from disappointed customers, but the only way to stop the spread is to fix the problem."   

So part of virality is making sure the right content is what people are talking about, instead of ignoring the nay-sayers. Tackling the negative perceptions is part of the strategy for amplifying the positive stories. That's sage advice, Mr. Berger. Changing someone's perception via experience and storytelling is not as easy as it sounds though. It takes a fully integrated offense to manage customer expectations, drive positive story affiliations and romance & incenticize behaviors that will hopefully result in positive perceptions for a brand. And make no mistake; there is no cookie cutter recipe for success. It's more personal than that. And it's more personal than Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, too. Berger explains more in his new book, Contagious; Why Things Catch On, where he reported that while word of mouth is 10 times more powerful than traditional advertising, only 7% of word of mouth is online. 

If we know that changing reality is based in changing perception and we know that perception is based on reality, what's a brand to do? Focus on why, suggests Berger. "Focus on psychology, not technology. Think about WHY people talk and share." 

Another aha moment, indeed.


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