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The checkerboard illusion - and using perspective

By Chris Haycock | 29 October 2021

How do you see your business, your products, and your service? Are you looking at it from the wrong perspective?

Take a close look at this checkerboard for a moment. You’ll notice that the board is made up of alternating dark and light squares, much like a regular chessboard, but fewer squares.

Now, let’s place an A and a B on different coloured squares.

Take a few moments to look very carefully at these two squares. No one can dispute that they’re different colours, right.

I’ll give you a few more moments to examine them. A and B are different colours, aren’t they?

What would you say if I told you that those two squares are exactly the same colour? You’d probably argue to the end of the world that they’re completely different.

In fact, when I put this on a Facebook Post last month, it caused a bit of a stir, because no one believed me.

Until I actually proved they were the same colour. Don’t believe me? I’m going to go ahead and show you that they’re the same colour..

Let’s cut the picture in half for a moment, so we can compare the two squares side by side properly.

Wait for it…

And there you go - proof that the two squares are indeed the same colour. It just turns out that it’s a trick of light - which confuses your brain into thinking they’re completely different.

What’s this got to do with marketing? Well, it turns out more than you think. I’m sure you’ll agree that as business owners we often make decisions based on our own perspective. We make choices based on the way we see our customers, our business, or our industry.

But what we see actually can be vastly different to what others see. Your target market may have a completely different perspective than you do.

If you’re going to succeed in business, you need to stop seeing things from your eyes, and get to see from the perspective of your current - and future - customers.

If you’re making big decisions based on your own gut feelings, such as the way you advertise, or the colours you think are best, or the prices you charge, or the way you communicate on social media, you need to stop - and do some homework.

Around 2004 I was making the mistake of making assumptions about how to market a business that I was working for. I was the one tasked with creating a website, determining the marketing strategy, creating ads and branding.

But I was basing the decisions on my own perspective, not my customers. And as a result, I wasn’t doing particularly well. I wasn’t reaching full potential, because I was focusing on what I thought was best.

It dawned on me that this was completely wrong when I started getting more skilled in marketing psychology. I found out that if I researched who our customers were, what their needs & desires were, what they liked, how they talked, I was able to replicate that in my marketing strategy.

And it paid off. By adopting this “customer-knowledge” approach, and discovering everything I could about my target market, sales increased by 500%.

When you start to see your business from the eyes of your customers, you sell more. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to get a deeper insight into your customer’s perspective. Take time out to ask prospective customers what they want, what they prefer, what their needs are, and what motivations they have.

Do this, and I guarantee you’ll see things in a completely different light.

Good luck.


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