Perception is reality when it comes to Obama’s Reddit AM

September 1, 2012

Public relations, Social media

Obama’s AMA on Reddit proved he understands social media…and more importantly, perception (Image credit:


This is not a political post. But I’m sure some of you will take it that way. I don’t want to talk about Obama vs Romney. But I’m sure many of you do. I am not writing this to discuss the national debt or Obama Care. But I’m sure someone will take it there.

This post is about one thing only: Perception. Not politics. Your brand is what your customers say it is. If you don’t understand how your customers, or constituents, perceive you, you will lose. Simple as that. And yet it obviously isn’t simple because so few people seem to get it.

Obama ‘s AMA on Reddit today was a smart move by he and his staff. Why? Not because he gave good answers. And not because he took the time out of his day. And not because he’s a Democrat and I tend to vote left (full transparency). It was smart because it showed his staff understands the value of perception. Remember Clinton playing the sax on Arsenio back in the day? That got him votes. And this will get Obama votes. Because using social media to “talk to the people” is cool. And people vote on cool, whether we think they should or not.

Here was my Twitter rant today on the subject (read bottom to top):











By the same token, perception of something very insignificant can turn into a negative that costs a company dollars or a presidential candidate votes. Remember Dan Quayle misspelling potato-e? This year’s version may be the Romney family misspelling their own name on stage.

Image credit:











Should that cost Romney votes? Hell no. The thought of it is ridiculous to me. Except it isn’t to some people and it likely will cost him votes. You don’t have to like it…that perception is reality. But to be successful in politics or business, you do have to understand it. Very few Americans actually vote on the issues. And very few American customers actually know — or give a damn — what your company’s original intent was with a product or promotion.

They care how it impacts them. And any candidate or company that doesn’t see that has their head buried in the sand…or somewhere else two to three feet below their head depending on height.

Related posts:

, , , , , , ,
Sort: Newest | Oldest