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The power of perception (or deception?)

Steve Carter, Professor of Marketing

Faculty Blog

I recently reported on a paper about corporate social responsibility that I saw presented at a conference in the USA. Well, at the same conference another paper caught my attention.

It consisted of a series of photos of the recent Hong Kong riots, in which students demonstrated against what they saw as a lack of democracy in local elections. The photos showed the reactions of the State police to the students and the presenters went on to show how these were interpreted in mainland Chinese newspapers. You can guess the rest!

That got me thinking about the power of 'perception' (Consumer Behaviour Module 5) - or should that be 'deception'? I don't mean deliberate deception but ambiguous 'bending of the truth' Is the use of some of those words and phrases most favoured in marketing - 'quality', 'service', 'value for money' and 'hurry while stocks last'; just a shrewd way for marketers to 'hedge their bets' and cater for the many nuances of consumer perception without actually promising anything concrete or a tangible standard to compare to?