We use marketing and PR to influence how people perceive us. We create profiles and elevator speeches. Knowing how people perceive you is always interesting. That’s why we seek out feedback on our marketing material.
It is useful to know how you come across to people; but such insights should not be relied upon as absolute gauges to base your actions upon. You cannot count on marketing and PR to totally “control” how people perceive you. People will believe what they will of you, and they will form perceptions from your actions.
Focusing too much on external feedback can cause you to run around in a frustrating circle. A friend of mine is caught up in a version of this at the moment with his goatee. He grows one, asks 50 people at work and friends, and depending on the proportion of people saying “like” or “no like”, he keeps it or shaves it off. And then asks for feedback again. Naturally, the feedback swung wildly. It is somewhat distressing as he does get caught up in trying to please everyone, to attempt to achieve a consistently perception; all of which is of course impossible.
All you can really control is your actions. A lot of the energies spent on marketing may well be better spent ensuring you are clear on your values and you act consistently in alignment with them. Let your actions speak for you. Let the passion for what you do shine through – and trust that people will get it. The world is so hungry for authenticity at the moment; you can’t help but stand out.
Trying to control how everyone perceives you using purely external means like marketing and PR does become a silly full-time game that many people are caught up with. It diverts energy away from you living your true potential.