How to Close the Projection/Perception Gap

November 25, 2022

Even with the best intentions, there may be a big gap between your projection of what you offer people and how they perceive the value of what they receive.

Key Takeaways:

  • The projection/perception issue happens when there’s a gap between how you project what you believe you provide the customer and what they perceive that you offer them.
  • Four ways to eliminate the projection/perception gap:
  1. Listen to the customer.
  2. Collect insights at every touchpoint.
  3. Design the customer journey based on their needs.
  4. Incorporate your 3 Keys.

Many brands outline the idyllic customer journey and do all they can to mold themselves to fit what the customer wants. A purpose-driven culture instead prioritizes your brand’s culture above all else. To do so ensures you never compromise your values just to make a sale. 

However, to lead with purpose doesn’t mean you can or should forget about customer sentiment. You still need to work to uncover their emotions and incorporate them into your strategies. Gather insights on how people feel about your company so you can attract qualified leads, establish stronger relationships, and grow your business long into the future. 

But if you project one thing about your customers’ needs and they perceive something completely different about you, there’s a big gap you need to fill. That gap leads them to miss the value in your services, so they won’t return, and you won’t have the positive word-of-mouth that is so vital to your company. 

Let’s talk about how to fill that projection/perception gap.

Dig into the projection/perception issue

A successful customer journey means the customer and the brand are on the same page. They’re aligned on what they value, and the business provides a solution to the most significant client pain points. The customer experience is stellar, so they feel supported, seen, and heard along the way.


Sometimes there’s a gap, however, between what you think you offer the customer – your projection – and what they perceive you provide them – their perception. And when there’s a gap, there’s a big disconnect between what they need in a product or service and the value you provide them. How the experience made them feel doesn’t align with your intentions. 

You want to do all you can to eliminate the gap between how you project yourself and how your customers perceive you. But you must know about that gap, acknowledge it, and understand how big it is before you can close it. 

To uncover and understand this gap, take a step back, collect insights, and hear the customer’s voice. Focus on how the customer feels, not what you say to them. You must listen – really listen – and then discover through conversations and engagements along their customer journey. You can easily outline a list of customer pain points when you identify your target customer, but you have to resolve this projection/perception issue to get to them faster and more effectively.

How to eliminate the gap between projection and perception

The good news is that you can alter your perspective and process and ensure that you and your customers are more closely aligned. These four steps are critical to close the projection/perception gap:

1. Incorporate your 3 Keys

The collection and integration of customer insights is a crucial step to attract the right people and grow your business. But you won’t get very far if you don’t also incorporate your 3 Keys into your strategy: purpose, values, and story:

  • Purpose: Your purpose is the reason you do what you do. It’s why your business exists. It needs to align with your customer’s desires to make meaningful connections. 
  • Values: Your core values should drive you and infiltrate every interaction you have, both internally and externally. Your goal should be to attract customers who share these values.
  • Story: Your communication needs to be genuine and authentically tell people who you are and what you stand for. Your customers must understand what makes you unique.

The 3 Keys are the foundation of your brand. Identify them, communicate them, and unlock them, or that projection/perception gap will persist. Stay authentic to who you are as a company but ensure you accurately perceive what the customer wants.

2. Listen to the customer

You can never have enough insights from your customers, and you don’t need a long customer list to get them. Ask simple questions. How happy are they with the outcome? Did your solution solve their problem? What are their most urgent issues? What do they really want? What could your brand do better?

Send out brief surveys, or ask these questions directly when you interact with people. Show customers you want to hear their voice.

3. Collect insights at every touchpoint

There’s no need to plan focus groups and spend tons of time and money to get feedback – this endeavor shouldn’t be expensive or labor-intensive. Gather takeaways from every engagement with people along their customer journey, even if they ask a question or return a product. These insights help you determine the width of the gap.

Sometimes all you need to do is pick up the phone with three pointed questions to get a little feedback. For example, a question could be: “Were you satisfied with our conversation?” Or, “Was there anything you wish I had done differently?” Ask these questions during every sales interaction, whether you’re in initial outreach or are already landing the sale, so you can understand what people want and how they feel.

4. Design the customer journey based on their needs

Remember that you have that inherent projection of what you want to give the customer, that idea about what you want their experience to be like and how your product or service will solve their problems. You imagine the perfect, happy customer who raves about you. We all do it. 

But don’t focus on that projection. Instead, shift to their perception of what you have to offer them and build the customer journey from that perspective. Incorporate all the insights you gathered and view your brand the way they view you. Address their concerns and pain points for each touchpoint. When you focus on how the customer perceives you, you create a more compelling customer journey that will resonate with people.

The unique Advantages approach

At Advantages, we help our clients identify and prioritize their 3 Keys to create a stronger brand foundation. Without these cornerstones behind everything you do, it’s impossible to make authentic connections that drive business growth.

Learn more about how we connect profit to purpose through marketing performance – reach out to our team today.

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