The psychology behind brand marketing

I’m going to use something I’ve said in a previous piece as a starting point for this one — consumers buy a brand, not a product. So when it comes to marketing a brand that will appeal to your target group, 90 percent of it (or at least a large enough part) is about reading their minds, understanding their deepest fears, desires, and leveraging them. I promise you though, it’s not as sinister as it sounds — read on to know how brands cash in on psychological insights to amp up their marketing game:       

Using the right colours

Research on colour psychology in marketing found that people make up their minds about a product within 90 seconds — and 62-90 percent of that decision is based on colour alone. Now let’s take an example all of us know. The colour red is known to stir up an appetite, which is possibly why some of the world’s best-known fast food chains use it as a primary colour in its branding. Supplement this with the right messaging, and you have a winning combination. Could you imagine McDonald’s the brand selling its burgers and fries in green packaging? No, right? Can you ever imagine McDonald’s changing their tagline? Again, I’m guessing no. That’s the power of psychology right there. On the other hand, the predominant green, and subtle black and white shades in the Starbucks logo are meant to create a sense of ease and relaxation — which is why, you’re more likely to catch up on work emails at a Starbucks over a cup of coffee, rather than over a Maharaja Mac at McDonalds!

Capitalising on psychological biases

Simply put, a psychological bias is repetitive path that your mind takes when doing things like evaluating or making a decision i.e. a gold mine of information for marketers! Let me explain with an example. The ‘Bandwagon Effect’ is the phenomenon where which rate of uptake of beliefs, ideas, trends increases when they have already adopted by others. And brands tap into this all the time — remember, influencer marketing? Or user-generated content? Yes — that’s just marketers creating an illusion of popularity to get you to jump on the bandwagon!

Tapping into emotions

Humans have two sides to their brain — the rational and the emotional. And research has shown, time and time again, that consumers primarily make purchasing decisions with the emotional side. A number of brands have been quick to figure this out, and have implemented successful campaigns that have focused on sentimental appeal rather than brand attributes. Take for example, popular pizza brand that launched a TVC on Mother’s Day, titled #MaNahinBhoolti. It starts with a son dropping off his mother at an old age home. While he stops making an effort to contact her, the mother soon decides to reach out by sending him a pizza — because she knows he loves them. This heartwarming ad focused on the feelings of togetherness and family, and it sure made waves without having to talk about the quality of the pizza!

Addressing fear, uncertainty, and doubt

Technology brands are well-known for capitalising on this common state of mind. Think back to the last time you made a tech-related purchase. Let’s say, the latest smartphone. Most likely, you asked around for informed opinions, and did plenty of research online. The brand you chose probably made claims regarding high-end security features, and easy data migration. The implication here is that competitor phones wouldn’t give you the same advantages — at least not to the extent that this brand is offering. And that’s precisely why you made your choice — because one brand alleviated your fears and doubts more than the other! Interesting, isn’t it?

At the end of the day, you don’t need a degree in advanced psychology to learn how to market your brand to your target group. All you need to do is put yourself in their shoes, and speak to them like they want to be spoken to!

Tina Garg
Founder and CEO at Pink Lemonade, an Integrated Marketing & Communications agency in Bangalore.
Tina launched the company in 2011, and today, it is known for its award-winning work in creative & business communications, and digital services. She comes with extensive experience in the creative industry, and is passionate about empowering women entrepreneurs.

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