Professionally this is done through what we call professional PR groups, with PR standing for public relations.
Surveys are utilized, analyses are made and solutions tested and, at times, tested thru focus groups. When strategies are agreed upon, the execution will involve an investment toward an awareness that is necessary to guide public opinion. Whatever the client believes or feels his or her product and service is or not, no longer matters, it is all about the perception that guides public opinion, which can only be tamed professionally.
Many, however, in an effort to save funds, manage their own PR by composing material they issue for publication, paying for the “info-mercial”, the information commercial bought on media. The problem with this strategy is its inconsistency and the competence of the copywriter or composer who may not understand or comprehend what it is they are writing about other than to do what he or she is compelled to do. This is when things go bad. It is prudent to utilize professionals who understand the nuances of professional PR.
The pertinent question would be: Is this branding? Managing perceptions is one thing, branding is another. While perception nowadays is accepted truth, it does not bode well for branding where truth is adhered to at all cost. How can one consistently deliver the brand promise if this was a lie in the first place? Branding, simply put, is the consistent delivery of the brand promise, thereby generating integrity to make it the brand. Ergo, the truth is the equivalent of the consistent delivery of the brand promise, nothing more.
While PR is utilized for branding, it is not necessarily the other way around. PR is but one of the many platforms utilized in branding strategies. An awareness generated for controlled perceptions need not be the truth. Advertising that which generates the awareness traditionally utilizes media with money that energizes the objectives. PR is likewise mobilized using money. Surveys to establish specific notions also cost money.
This is not to say that perceptions need not be managed. To guide if not control perception is but a strategy to stay the brand, not to make the brand. Interestingly enough, many if not most marketers are confused with this, complicating a sound branding strategy. Truth is difficult to many, but for the unscrupulous trader whose objective is none other than a profit gained regardless of how it is earned, this is not branding.