Unleashing the Power of Psychology in Branding: How to Create Stronger Audience Bonds
Many of the world’s most successful brands got to where they are today by building strong audience connections. Providing quality services and products may be integral to a profitable brand, but establishing relationships with customers is where the magic happens.
All brands need a cohesive strategy for building strong audience relations and meeting consumers on a level that is emotional as well as transactional.
By tapping into consumers’ sentimental sides, your brand can connect with its audience on a much deeper level and use it as a tool for driving sales, fostering loyalty, and encouraging repeat business.
Having an understanding of consumer psychology is a major advantage for any company trying to make its mark in the competitive industries of today. Whether you’re in e-commerce or a more creative line of work, strong consumer relations offer many practical benefits.
So, let’s dive into everything you need to know about harnessing psychology in branding and look at actionable tips for implementing it in your business strategy.
The Importance Of Harnessing Psychology In Branding
Branding is about developing an attractive personality for your business and showcasing all of its best features. But without a touch of humanization, making a connection can be very difficult. In order to truly bridge the gap, a sense of real emotion and affinity is needed.
Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind. How we think, what impulses drive towards action, and what makes us tick.
By learning more about consumer psychology, brands can gain a much stronger grasp on what their audience’s needs are and how to drive conversions or sales in the most efficient and effective way possible. There are many benefits to harnessing psychology in branding, such as:
- Improved brand perception
- Promotes a faster consumer journey
- Sets your brand apart from the competition
- Adds value to consumer experiences
Psychology-influenced marketing is a win-win for brands and consumers. Not only does it help your brand in the process of growing and expanding, but it also provides a more personalized and meaningful experience for consumers.
How Can Your Brand Create Stronger Audience Bonds?
We’ve established that learning more about consumer behavior is essential for driving growth and cultivating stronger relationships with your target audience. Now, the question is, how does a brand actually achieve that?
The following nine tips encompass a variety of methods and approaches you can use to leverage consumer psychology to your brand’s advantage and create a more compelling narrative for your business as a whole.
1. Understand your audience, and don’t stop learning
The very first thing you need to do as a brand in search of better audience connection is to understand the audience itself.
Conducting deep research on who your target audience is, what kind of service or products they place the most value on, and how they want to be engaged with is key to fostering a close relationship with them. Without comprehensive knowledge of your audience, creating strong emotional associations will be virtually impossible.
Audiences are not static—they change and evolve over time. For this reason, it’s imperative that you continue to conduct research efforts on an ongoing basis. The needs, expectations, and behavior of your audience today may look totally different tomorrow (remember how the pandemic changed consumer behavior overnight?), so keep that research up.
2. Build a community
People thrive when they feel connected to a greater whole. This is true in many different aspects of life, not least of all branding. Marketing efforts that encourage consumers to not only engage with your brand, but also each other is a great way to boost emotional connection.
This can be achieved through creating open online spaces for people to connect, leveraging user-generated content (UGC), and generally encouraging your consumers to interact and share their experiences—both positive and negative—together.
3. Support issues that matter to your audience
Another powerful way to create a more compelling relationship with your audience is to show active support for issues that matter to them.
For instance, if a majority of your target audience is passionate about combating climate change, investing in eco-friendly materials and aligning your brand with sustainability initiatives can encourage more emotional responses in your consumers.
There are so many different issues out there worth supporting, and incorporating that support into your marketing strategy can not only draw consumers closer, but also demonstrate a more humanized facet of your brand.
4. Utilize employee advocacy
Studies show that consumers are much more likely to trust the opinions of real people than the companies they work for. A lot of brand messaging can feel stiff and inauthentic. But when spoken through individual humans, perceptions can change for the better.
Employee advocacy is a marketing and engagement strategy that involves encouraging the staff members behind your brand to promote and openly discuss their experiences with the company.
This kind of strategy typically manifests as social media postings about the different roles, personalities, backgrounds, and ambitions of the people who work for your brand, all directly from the employees themselves.
Hard-working, happy employees make great advocates for a brand, and they help humanize it for those on the outside.
5. Become affiliated with similar brands
Affiliation is beneficial on a number of levels, one of which is stronger consumer relationships. You can create a domino effect of positive emotional connections by aligning your brand with others with similar values, services, or stances on social issues.
Collaborating with other brands (think Doritos and Taco Bell, Stranger Things & Lego, and Uber and Spotify) can expand your target audience, drive profits, and incentivize consumers from a wider demographic to trust you on a deeper level.
When people see new brands affiliated with their favorite ones, they are much more likely to trust those new brands. The loyalty, trust, and connection consumers feel towards their favorite brands can be transferred to yours by osmosis.
6. Activate emotional responses with nostalgia
Nostalgia is one of the most powerful emotions, and just about everyone experiences it on some level. Whether it’s nostalgia for childhood summers or a home-cooked meal, utilizing that sentimentality for the past can activate compelling emotional responses in consumers.
That wistful feeling of remembering precious memories or experiences can motivate people to invest in products or services that recreate that positive feeling.
Many brands incorporate nostalgia to their marketing strategies in order to tap into those warm, fuzzy feelings and take action—be it a sale, subscription, or referral.
7. Use aspiration as incentive
Many marketers know the story of the Old Spice Man. Over the years, the brand had become stale, but in 2010, they launched “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and everything changed. The campaign featured a shirtless Isaiah Mustafa who implored the audience to “smell like a man”. It created the perception that those who wore their cologne would be the epitome of success, masculinity, and manhood. It was a raging success.
The bottom line of this story is that aspiration can be a powerful motivator for action. Old Spice understood what its target audience wanted to be, and created a character that embodied it—with their product at the center.
When angled in the right way, aspiration can be used as a tool for activating emotional responses in consumers and driving them to purchase—and become associated with—your brand’s products or services.
8. Build relevance by engaging in current topics
Psychology tells us that people are more likely to pay attention to brands that reflect events or trends that are relevant to them. Relevance is extremely important for brand identities because it takes businesses out of the mental stratosphere and into the here and now.
People like to feel involved and up-to-date with the current times, so it only makes sense that brands that play into that feeling are more likely to gain traction. Your brand can become more relevant to its target audience through commenting on present events, following industry trends, and collaborating with other brands in your industry.
You can do all of this in a blog on your website, or on social media—or both. It doesn’t matter what industry or sector you operate in, engagement is key. It’s especially important if your brand is more geared towards visual promotion as you need to make that all-important customer connection.
For example, if you’re a food photographer, you’d need to create a website that features a blog or news page that you can update regularly with information that relates to your brand and goes beyond showcasing great images. You could include tips and tricks, food trends, restaurant reviews or anything else that gets your audience engaged.
9. Offer exceptional customer service
Lack of customer care is one of the main reasons that businesses fail so it makes sense that it’s something you need to focus on. Your customer service system is a great opportunity to connect with your audience on a human level when they’re in need of guidance and support.
When consumers reach out to you for support, they’re often frustrated, angry, or confused, all of which can lead to high emotions. The way their requests get handled by your customer service team can absolutely make or break your relationship with them.
While having a bot on your website is a great first point of call, you need to offer “real” support too.
Investing in exceptional customer services naturally offers a wide array of benefits, one of them being enhanced trust and loyalty from your audience. If you handle your customer’s problems with grace and ease, they are much more likely to want to engage with you again.
Brand marketing without a foundational understanding of consumer psychology is a bit like walking in the dark. The nuances of consumer behavior are the key to unlocking better ad campaigns, stronger consumer-to-brand relations, and a more valuable consumer experience.
Through learning more about what consumer psychology is and how you can apply it to your marketing strategy, your brand can reach its profit and perception goals.