The psychology of branding is our own psychological
reaction toward a brand. The presented material regarding this fact is better
stored in the memory. A brand includes a sum of sensory experiences about the
good manufacturer. This experience is completely sensual. That is the reason
why we need to understand how the senses work, what their functions are and how
they are managed. The content, the logo, the colors and the introduction of
branding are important. More importantly, these make a discrete and greater
impact when used altogether.
Know the Mind
Most of the stimuli perceived daily are processed in the
unconscious. We do not think of what we think, we do not differentiate between
millions of sounds, images, smell or touch. Eventhough we are not consciously
aware of what we perceived, the stimulus settles in the corresponding brain
part. The brain functions as an orchestra, is consisted of separate parts that
engage in separate tasks. The human brain consists of two hemispheres and
recent years of research suggests a consensus on the lateralization of
hemispheric functioning. Yet, two hemispheres are interconnected and consist of
lobes. Frontal lobe (forehead) is in charge of planning, decision making,
reasoning, retrieval of memories whereas temporal lobe (temples) plays a role
in language and memory tasks. Occipital (posterior) and Parietal (lateral)
lobes are responsible for visual and sensory perception.
The dominance of each hemisphere is related to the
person’s behaviors. In fact hemispheres are interrelated and dominance of
either one of them is not a must. There are of course other determinants of our
behaviors. Left hemisphere is active in high level verbal functioning such as
language, verbal memory, language comprehension, reading-writing skills whereas
right hemisphere is activated during facial recognition, spatial orientation,
non-verbal imagination and emotional functioning. The emotions are regulated by
the amygdala, an almond shaped limbic structure which is in charge of
physiological reactions to emotions and emotional memory. It controls us to
move or behave according to what we feel. The amygdala functioning is often
filtered by high level mechanisms but sometimes not so we act instantly. For
this reason a phrase like ‘buy it now and save’ is definitely a catch.
The structure and the functioning of the brain tell us
that the emotional processing is faster than cognitive processing. In short,
the reactions that we give are managed by our emotions in the first place. Then
it is safe to say that a brand should address the emotions first. Cognitive
components such as quality, price and security make the emotional processing
stronger. The emotion regulation is extremely strong that it doesn’t matter
whether the thought is wrong or not, an emotion manifests. Such as for phobias,
a person feels extreme threath and fear knowing that the feeling is nonsense.
In that manner the brand focusing on the positive emotion comes in a priority.
The effect amygdala has on emotional processing indicates
that the emotional memory has a great
role in current reactions. In order to build a vibrant brand, one needs to
reserve a space in the amygdala and let the person experience these positive
emotions fully. The specific experiences that leave deep marks, produce instant
emotional reactions compared to those that are complicated and scattered. The
stronger and sharper an emotional memory is, the more the cognition supports
it. A brand should consider to create a positive experience while keeping the
negative away. Tough negative experiences leave marks indelible.
The advertisement agencies stressing the visuals and
actions for the products that aim for people’s emergency needs saying ‘here is
what you’ve been looking for’ will make the brand go one step further.
A brand is set through emotion, perception, innovation
and communication. If there is no feeling there is no branding. If there is no
feeling, then it is only a product. The perception consists of vision, sound, smell,
touch and taste. Innovation keeps the branding vibrant and fresh in the mind.
Communication helps it reach the individual and the population.
Walter London states that “the products are manufactured
in the factories, the brands in the mind”. One first purchases. Later, s/he
begins to find rational reasons for that purchase and proofs for that behavior.
Moreover, if the purchase is not needed and is highly expensive which created a
financial conflict, the reasons would be stronger. In psychology this phenomena
is called cognitive dissonance. Festinger (1957) claimed that individuals are
motivated to keep their thoughts and behaviors in accordance, and often change
their attitudes or even lie to maintain their self-respect. Consequently
pitching the marketing efforts to influence the client is a huge mistake.
Marketing should be built for the emotion not the cognition, since all
marketing focused purchases are emotional not rational. Emotional buying would
create its rational in itself.
Prof. Dr. Bengi Semerci