Impression does counts!!

by Chris Leong

A couple of weeks back, Microsoft announced an USD300 million advertising campaign to change its brand perception. This got me thinking, can you ever change people’s perception? Does it matter that a company would be willing to spend USD 300 million to change perceptions?

Being a person who likes to poke into things, I went search about it do see whether:

1.       Does having a good perception give some leeway when companies fumble?

2.       Can you ever change the perception others have on you? Even with Microsoft’s cash coffer?

I found some interesting facts. Apple with its excellent reputation of delivering products that consumer wants also fumbles with some recent launches. Its MobileMe, IPhone 3G and its AppleTv was not exactly a smooth launch. But consumer’s perception towards it was still positive and they received nowhere near the hostility of Windows Vista. In true perspective, Windows Vista has a bigger consumer footprint and its performance will have a bigger impact towards consumer. Therefore, it is no surprise that consumer perception towards it is negative.

I for one, have a Windows Vista installed in my laptop. After SP1, I must admit that it works really well for me apart for some minor hiccups. But imagine, an aunt of mine who does not even own a computer share her piece of mind to me about the negativity of Windows Vista. Perception really counts! It can create a delusional reality where people can form an opinion about something without even looking at the facts.

So Microsoft really needs to spend the money to change its image. But would they succeed? One good example of a brand perception turnaround was Volkswagen’s Skoda brand. Skoda is a car brand with Easter Europe heritage that have a very bad reputation in producing poor quality cars with bad design. Apart from improving its quality, Volkswagen also embark on a marketing campaign to reposition its brand. Skoda came out with ads that make fun of itself and highlight the positive aspect of its product. Now, Skoda is one of the fastest growing brands in Europe.

I guess Microsoft is in the right direction with its ads. I must admit that I don’t really understand the message that it’s trying to delivered in the first 2 ads staring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. But I enjoyed the latest “I’m a PC” campaign which I find it refreshing and highlight the contribution and positive aspect of Windows. Which in my opinion, credit should be given when credit is due. Windows does contribute in connecting the people around the world.

Anyhow changing perception is a long and hard process and this will be just the beginning of Microsoft marketing campaign. Meanwhile I learn 2 lessons from my research. First, I should not be blinded by hearsay and unfound perceptions but should research into the features. Second, I better invest RM300 in some wardrobe makeover. This perception thing is really dangerous, and I don’t have the money to change the perception of others.