Name that Brand: The Perks of Unconscious Brand Association


A strong marketing campaign does much more than simply notify customers of a company’s presence. The best campaigns create unconscious brand association within the minds of consumers. This means people will continuously associate your brand with a certain item, figure, or feeling.

To make this phenomenon work for your brand, it is critical to understand both why and how this happens. Maintaining basic knowledge about how the human mind processes information to form beliefs and preferences is imperative. Fortunately, there happens to be a structure and sequence to this process.

According to cognitive and behavioral experts, new products and services should be able to interrupt, or create distractions in, thinking patterns of individuals. It is necessary to then establish within them a sense of comfort with the new product and service. By doing so, marketers can lead their imaginations and shift their feelings. Products and services that withstand critical thinking will eventually generate unconscious brand association and propel action.

Putting It into Practice

Concluded from scientific studies, conscious decisions and values form short-term behaviors that are focused and limited in both scope and time. Conversely, unconscious values predict spontaneous and long-long term actions.

These facts must be considered by marketers when identifying the goals and objectives of a given brand. If making purchases is to be a carefully thought-out ordeal that does not happen often, being aware of conscious decisions is key. If purchases are recognized as actions that happen frequently or impulsively, unconscious behavior must be understood.

Because these behavioral elements are relevant to buying decisions, it is essential to target both. For effective marketing, it is necessary to measure both the unconscious and conscious associations with a brand, in addition to the unconscious emotions generated by said brand. Researchers are able to measure reaction times to identify these associations, and to determine the strength of marketing efforts. The rapid presentation of brand products and relevant stimuli can then inform marketers how positively or negatively consumers feel toward a given brand.

There are several ways marketers can expedite the process. One way is to ensure a product meets – or exceeds – the expectations of the customer. Individuals assess value to products and services based on factors such as previous experience, taste, effectiveness, and price.

Unconscious brand associations relate to long-term memory, but they can still crumble if not stimulated periodically. Repeated advertising, then, is another way to encourage and maintain unconscious brand association. Remember also to under-promise and over-deliver. Human minds differentiate between promised rewards and their actual experiences. Make promises you know you can keep to set up customer expectations you can exceed.

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