The power of brands can seem mysterious; why does the mention Nike have so much more influence than a lesser-known brand? How do we manage our brands to have that power? I wonder that all the time, and you may too.

One of the reasons branding works is because of brand priming. Pairing the brand to feelings, ideas, and actions can influence consumers. This article will help you understand the nature of that influence.

When it comes to branding, subtle marketing techniques impact the way people view your company and products. Knowing ahead of time what impact different actions might have allows you to control much of the narrative.

Brand priming is about controlling your business’s image. You put out into the world how you want others to see you. Understanding the psychology behind priming helps ensure your branding efforts are successful. 

What is the psychology behind brand priming?

In Marketing, Priming is a subconscious reaction to stimuli that influences our conscious decisions toward new stimuli. It works by using associations made in our subconscious and is almost always unnoticeable to the subject. It is a mysterious and complex process and impacts a significant part of our behavior. A process is driven by the subconscious mind. Without intentions, the first item that is presented affects how we respond to the second. This is especially true today as we are bombarded by brand messages whether offline or online & these affect the decisions that we make on a sub-conscious level. This is a multi-million dollar industry & the secret to influencing our human behavior is to be “visible” across “multiple customer touch points” in “myriad” ways.

Let’s take an example:

Let’s say you own a Multi Cuisine Restaurant in a cosmopolitan business area. Every week on a Tuesday you want to increase the sales of exotic french wine. You could have Tuesdays as your French recipe day. When customers dine at your restaurant on a Tuesday you could play enchanting french music in the background. This is a good way to psychologically prime your clients into buying french wine. At that moment, the subconscious will place more importance on French wine. Music will associate your buyer with French things, and that may include a time they’ve enjoyed a good bottle of French wine.

A famous example of priming from the field of psychology is the Stroop Effect. The basic elements of the experiment are replicated below, as people were asked to read out the colours of the following excerpts of text.

You will notice that it takes longer to read the colours of the words on the first line, which is down to the priming effect of seeing a written word incongruent with the information that you are asked to relay. The words on the second line have less of a clash with the colours, making it easier to read them out.

Although this example is fairly simplistic it serves to represent how priming can affect the congruence of the information presented to an individual. If a stimulus is at odds with an existing understanding of a given schema, it will take longer to understand.

In summary, Brand Priming is a clever marketing way to influence a customer’s subconscious thinking to produce the desired effect of let’s say buying a specific product, etc. This technique if used judiciously can tremendously benefit the brand.

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