Every company needs to position themselves on the spectrum of high/low cost and high/low quality.

For example, in the realm of car manufacturers, Skoda is perceived by many to be at the low-cost mid-to-low quality end of the spectrum, whereas the likes of Ferrari and the exact opposite, with high costs but high quality cars to show as their products.

Although normal thinking suggests that quality/price should increase in relation to each other, this may not necessarily be true and it shouldn’t be. We live in a world where expensive brands are produced by the same people and factories that produce the same product only with different labelling and sold at much lower prices – you’re paying a premium to buy those brands.

Take clothing for example, you can buy a pair of jeans for £10 and then go into a shop like Next and pay £50 for a pair of jeans that are so similar that they may as well be the same (except for the label of course).

When plotting your brand on the spectrum, it is important to consider that in some way, your prices reflect your “value proposition” – where clients see you on the spectrum.

Communicate Your Position

How you communicate your chosen position will vary by company and many factors will alter how the general public and your potential customers will perceive your efforts.

Exceedingly low prices may give a subtle clue that your service is of lower value whilst higher prices suggest that your service should be higher quality than it really is. Having low prices and high quality service will certainly earn you more loyal customers, but the reverse will only get you a bad reputation.

The look of your website and marketing materials will also affect the perception, with low cost, low quality materials will lower your position whilst overly elaborate materials will appear to be posh and showy, increasing your brand perception, although they will also expect more from you in terms of service and/or product quality.

The speed and conciseness of your communicate will also factor into your perception, as will your responses to customer enquiries and complaints. Although less apparent than the look and feel of your website/marketing materials, it will eventually filter out and it will spread to your potential customers through other means, for example through social channels, word of mouth and the like.

Perception Management

Some public perceptions will mark you for a long time, for example, public reviews of your company that are less than favourable will be around for a long time, as will positively glowing recommendations – and changing those views can take a lot of time and marketing to overcome any negative setbacks that may happen (and it happens to all business at some point – for whatever reason, you can’t deliver in time or the product is lightly mismatched to the customer’s needs).

Managing the perception can involve expensive marketing campaigns, or be as simple as altering the behaviour of your company’s staff to offer higher levels of service and putting in place monitoring that they are keeping the levels consistently high – and over time, the perceptions should raise to meet the newer levels of service your now offering.