There is an intense psychological component to marketing a business or creating a successful brand. In its essence, branding is the process of designing a campaign to induce popularity and loyalty among customers. In order to do this, one must understand the psychology of the audience, giving you the ability to entice consumers who will mentally connect and relate to your brand's identity.
The study of marketing and branding psychology is an extensive field. Here, we will break this study down to its basics to help you better comprehend its importance in the world of branding.
The goal of creating a successful brand is enticing your customers to keep coming back for more. In order to attract brand-loyal customers who will become faithful to your brand, the consumer must make a meaningful connection to the brand itself. This is where psychology comes in to play.
“There are sort of two streams of thinking about this right now,” says Damien Mcloughlin, Professor of Marketing and Marketing Subject Area Head at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School in Ireland. “One is that it’s all about differentiation, that you find some unique selling point for the product which is very different from the competition and also attractive to the customer.”
McLoughlin states that according to his colleague, Byron Sharp, author of How Brands Grow, “Differentiation is more important than distinctiveness, and the reason for that is, if you think about your own shopping behavior, most of us buy the same products all the time. If you use Colgate toothpaste, you’ll always use Colgate toothpaste. If you use Barry’s tea you’ll always use Barry’s tea, and it’s the distinctiveness of those brands that cause this. If you show a consumer the Nike swoosh, they’ll be able to recognize the brand. If you show them a particular shade of red, they know it’s Coca Cola.
It’s the distinctiveness of brands that really drive their success. But, that distinctiveness is supported by two other things. One is physical availability, and one is mental availability. The idea of mental availability is the idea of distinctiveness - that when you think about a problem 'I’m thirsty, I’m warm, I need to buy a new pair of jeans, I’d like to go on holidays,' whatever it is, that consumers are not aware of the full range of products and services that are available. So, what you want when a consumer thinks about a problem or whatever they want to buy, you want your product to end up in the consideration set.”
Each and every individual consumer has an entirely separate, and possibly stressful, life outside of your market. Busy lives mean that consumers do not have the mental bandwidth to consider each and every product on the market. So, you want to create a brand and a logo that sticks out immediately without a second thought from the consumer.
“Everybody has things that they’d rather be doing,” says McLoughlin. Everybody is in the same boat, and as a result, they are cognitive misers and they don’t want to spend time thinking about things that they’re not really that interested in.
“So, when somebody is designing a logo, what they have got to think about is how do you create distinctiveness so that over a period of time, the consumer will recognize your brand instantly.”
Let’s take a look at some of the aspects that contribute to establishing your product or company as the main brand that consumers will immediately consider.
There are many intricate ways to apply the science of psychology in the design of your brand’s identity. One major avenue taken in this approach is the application of emotion-inducing colour in a brand’s design.
In marketing, the application of colour on an advertisement or brand is more than simply a manoeuvre to make something look ‘pretty’ or ‘cool.’ Psychologically, certain colours have the power to elicit certain emotions, whether the consumer notices or not.
Every successful brand on the market has a specifically engineered colour palette that creates leverage with consumers by evoking the brand’s message.
Based on which feelings you want customers to feel when pondering your brand, you will want to choose a colour scheme that will psychologically induce those emotions.
Let’s look at the various emotions that some colours stir.
Red evokes a sense of urgency, excitement, movement and passion. It is often associated with clearance sales or fast-food restaurants. Red also physically stimulates the body by raising the blood pressure and heart rate.
Yellow provokes optimism. However, it can also evoke anxiety that urges impulsivity in consumers.
Green correlates to health and nature. It encourages balance and stimulates a strong connection to environmental friendliness.
Blue is associated with peace, tranquillity and reliability. This colour often evokes a sense of security and encourages productivity. Blue is often used in brands that wish to promote trust and reliability in their products or services.
Purple is associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect. It often stirs creativity and enhances problem-solving.
Black is associated with stability, power, and strength. It can become overwhelming to an audience if used too frequently.
White symbolizes cleanliness, purity, and simplicity.
The “Golden Arches” is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. The bright, stark red background works to increase appetite in consumers and creates a sense of urgency, luring customers to get in quickly and order swiftly. The iridescent yellow of the Golden Arches aids in the brand’s tag line “I’m lovin’ it” by creating an aura of happiness and positivity around the restaurant.
The gritty, earthy tones of the Starbucks logo creates an atmosphere of environmental friendliness and a connection to the natural world. The deep green paired with a rough, smooth beige colour promotes a sense of relaxation, inviting consumers to grab a cup of coffee and relax in their shop.
The bright orange of the Fanta label encourages impulsive shoppers to purchase their drink, as they are attracted to the bright, sunny colour. Also, the bubbly font of the label promotes a sense of sunshine and fun, further enticing the customer.
At first glance, the Apple logo is one of the most ‘plain’ logos - a simple white apple against a black background. However, this logo works to create a sense of simplicity and technological advancement. The cleanliness and sharpness of the logo promote sophistication.
Each and every successful brand has an expertly engineered colour palette and logo that entices consumers and promotes the entirety of the brand.