Would you like to push your brand to the forefront of your market’s collective consciousness? Do you want your customers to be able to instantly recognize your business when they see your company logo? Do you wish that your audience could immediately recall your business’s slogan?
These goals define the core purpose of advertising your brand. Brand marketing is a way to separate your company from your competitors, much like a brand placed on cattle is used to distinguish one rancher’s animals from those owned by another. In many ways, your brand represents your business’s identity. It’s a component of your company’s story, a symbol that reminds your market about the experience of doing business with you. Pushing your brand to the front of your customer’s mind is a matter of increasing the number of times he or she is exposed to it.
Many years ago, a professor of psychology named Dr. Robert Cialdini authored a book titled “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” He described several principles that explain why people behave the way they do. Dr. Cialdini’s book quickly became a hit among advertisers and brand marketers for its insights into the consumer’s mind. Below, we’ll take a brief look at the 6 principles outlined in his book.
Cialdini explained that the act of giving something to someone creates a feeling of obligation on the part of the recipient. With that in mind, consider promotional items, such as customized stickers and t-shirts with your company name and logo imprinted on them. Giving these items to your customers may be all that is required to spur their use. Before long, you might see your logo prominently displayed on laptops, skateboards, cars, and on the backs of your audience.
Commitment And Consistency
People tend to behave in ways that are consistent with the image they have displayed to others. For example, a woman who prides herself on punctuality might go to great lengths to avoid being late for meetings. Similarly, a man who wants his friends to consider him honest will refrain from lying or withholding pertinent information.
By building on past commitments, brand marketers can influence their audiences to make larger commitments. For instance, consider a customer who has your company’s car magnet stuck to the inside of his vehicle’s window. This individual is likely to be more receptive to wearing a custom t-shirt displaying the same information than a person who has not made a prior commitment. Doing so implies consistency.
A basic human trait is to look to others for direction regarding what is appropriate behavior. If an individual sees other people taking a particular action, he begins to feel as if he should do so, as well.
This aspect of psychology can be a powerful tool for improving brand awareness.
Let’s return to the example of giving promotional items to customers. The more people who place custom stickers on their belongings, the greater the likelihood their peers will do the same. The more customers who wear t-shirts emblazoned with your company’s logo, the more inclined those who come into contact with them will be to mirror the behavior.
This can significantly boost the momentum and success of your brand marketing campaign.
In his book, Cialdini explains that people are more likely to listen to someone, and follow his or her directions, if they perceive that individual to be an authority. Studies have shown this to be true when people encounter doctors, lawyers, politicians, and others who seem to be “in charge” of a given situation.
The marketing value of this psychological trait can be observed in companies’ use of celebrities to promote their products. Even though a particular celebrity may have little expertise with the product in question – for example, Jamie Lee Curtis promoting Honda vehicles – people are inclined to listen to them. This is the reason celebrities are aggressively pursued by companies to sign product endorsement deals.
People are more receptive to the influence of those they like. A long-time friend is more persuasive than a stranger. This is one of the underlying principles of most network marketing programs. Participants are encouraged to promote products to their friends and family members in order to leverage their existing relationships.
In the context of brand marketing, companies can focus their efforts on winning over influencers, and turning them into fans. Those influencers may then go on to promote the companies to their own networks. The influencers’ friends are more likely to be persuaded through such word-of-mouth advertising than a formal marketing campaign.
A perception of scarcity will oftentimes prompt people to take an action they might otherwise have delayed. The reason is due to a fear of missing out on a coveted item or deal. An example would be a department store sale. Items temporarily marked down in price tend to sell more quickly because customers fear losing the chance to take advantage of a bargain.
Companies often exploit this psychological trait to hasten sales or increase sales volume. For example, prices may be slashed dramatically for a short period of time. Limited inventories may be revealed to communicate scarce supplies.
Dr. Cialdini’s principles of persuasion offer enormous value for small businesses trying to build awareness around their brands. Savvy companies with limited budgets can leverage the six insights above using custom printed t-shirts, stickers, car magnets, and other low-cost promotional items.
The author has spent the last 15 years working as a marketing and branding expert for major fortune 1000 companies. Currently he is working with www.StickersAndMore.com in a cross promotional venture for promoting promotional products and accessories