Matrix is one of my favorite movies. I watched it for the first time in New York while on business with my father. The movie completely blew me away, not only due to the visual effects, but the story line.

This idea that people can break through reality through a paradigm shift from dependence to independence introduces the first three habits of Stephen R. Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. This shift is based on the character ethic of human beings. We can think of it as the base structure of a building, it has to be strong to be able to withstand the weight of the building, and the author labeled this shift as private victory since the shift is done between you and yourself.

The next three habits shift us to total interdependent. They are based on personality ethic management or what we call modern management. This provides us with the tools needed for managing our lives in a social environment, and the author labeled them as public victory since it involves others.

The seventh habit is introduced to contain all the other six habits in an upward spiral motion to guarantee their effectiveness and stability. It gives a balanced renewal of the four basic dimensions of life (physical, spiritual, mental, emotional).

Now that I have successfully blogged about one of my favorite movies and books I will touch on a few ideas on Perception vs. Reality.

I have learned over and over again that perception is reality. No matter what you may think your brand means, and what your brand does, whatever your customer perceives is reality to them. This is an interesting concept in franchising and a big message on why branding is so critical.

I have been going to Subway for some time, and for the most part have found that Subway has done a great job of creating a consistent brand through each of their stores and food quality. Have you ever been to a subway where for whatever reason the restaurant was a mess, or the bread was stale, or perhaps the people working behind the counter were disheveled? This has happened to me once, and it has always stuck out in my mind as strange, because Subway has done an excellent job of creating brand consistency.

When does our perception begin on a new brand? For a lot of small business it is the sign and building that we see when we drive by. Companies are just like people, we all give a first impression and begin creating the reality that your customers perceive. This is one of the main reasons I got into the painting industry and began franchising. That first impression is often communicated by colors and the quality of the environment that people are operating in. The art of persuasion and influence is a tricky area for entrepreneurs, but it’s not as mysterious as you think.

The overall appearance of your workplace has a huge impact on how your customers and even your current employees perceive your business. Color plays a large psychological factor in how your customers identify your business and respond to your products. Most customers aren’t willing to accept a product if it doesn’t come in their preferred or perceived color combination. That in itself explains how significant colors can be. For example, most popular chain restaurants use the colors red and orange. These colors have been determined to stimulate appetite and encourage diners to eat more quickly. Just what a restaurant wants in a customer!

If you are considering changing colors and would like a quick guide on how to impact the perception of your customers before they even walk in the door I have prepared a short chart below for quick reference.

Red Excitement, danger, power intensity, love, passion. Red is a very noticeable color and is known to stimulate heartbeat and respiration.
Blue Cool, trust, reliability, peace. Blue is the most popular color. It causes peaceful and tranquil feelings.
Green Nature, wealth, growth, abundance. Green is a calming and refreshing color, and darker green is associated with wealth and money.
Yellow Warmth, happiness, sunshine. An optimistic color that enhances concentration and speeds metabolism. Be careful not to overuse yellow as it can be overpowering.
Purple Royal, dignity, spirituality. Also associated with luxury and sophistication.
White Pure, clean, virginal, innocence. Also a neutral color.
Black Authority, power, death, villainous.

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