Building Brand Loyalty With Psychology [INFOGRAPHIC]

Every business strives to promote brand loyalty to bolster their hold on the market. More and more, brands have begun to look to psychology to help. According to studies of famous brands, building loyalty is a matter of taking advantage of fundamental psychological techniques. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can use these very same approaches in their own marketing campaigns.

The Psychology of Branding

To have a fully developed brand, companies must cultivate a unique personality suited to their target audience and filled with desirable traits within these five core dimensions:
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  • Sincerity
  • Excitement
  • Competence
  • Sophistication
  • Ruggedness
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    Strong brands should focus on the areas that fit their personal profile and style, then demonstrate them through words and actions.
    The most successful brands make lingering connections with their audience called unconscious branding. When people feel an association with a brand long after the initial contact, they are inexplicably drawn that product or service because of an effective marketing campaign that has subconsciously connected their need to a particular company. Whether it was an advertisement while riding a train or product placement while watching television, the campaign remains etched in their subconscious months after. Not only is does this showcase the real power of marketing, but it is often preferred by the consumer because of their appreciation for familiarity over the outright brand competition.

    Seven Steps to Modifying Behavior

    Although companies often spend a lot of money trying to change consumer behavior in their favor, the secret to doing so is not one that is locked away in confidential files.
    As the infographic below shows, there is an established 7-step process that nearly any company or organization can take advantage of.


    Step 1. Interrupt The Pattern

    Interrupting the current pattern helps make room for the change.

    Step 2. Create Comfort

    Create comfort to associate positive feelings with the brand.

    Step 3. Lead the Imagination

    Lead the imagination in a way that draws people to see a product or service in a better light.

    Step 4. Shift the Feeling

    As their perspective shifts, their feelings about the product will follow.

    Step 5. Satisfy The Critical Mind

    Satisfy the consumer mind with real, actionable benefits.

    Step 6. Take Action

    Call them to act upon on these benefits in a timely and quantifiable way.

    Step 7. Change The Associations

    If the connection an audience has with a brand shifts in a favorable manner, then a pattern of loyalty and participation can be created.

    Psychology as Applied in Branding


    Use of Color

    Subtle signals can bring about profound changes. Consider the use of color, for example. Rather than finding a shade for its visual appeal alone, consider using colors that represent certain ideas and emotions. These tend to have a much stronger psychological response. Not only does color speak to a brand’s personality, it also provides visual context for the feeling, role, or mood that the brand or product is attempting to evoke.

    Choice Of Words

    Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Words within your brand copy must also be deliberately and carefully selected. For example, because studies show that people tend to prefer things that signify value, there is a bias for brands that sound more expensive. Buyers may feel they have acquired an implied sophistication when they purchase the product.

    Craft a Sense of Belonging and Achievement

    Sometimes, marketers also try to create a sense of belonging and achievement to entice consumers. Social categorization has been used quite effectively by various businesses to strengthen loyalty. By exhibiting an ‘us-versus-them’ mentality, consumers may feel one brand understands them better than another.

    Shopping as an Experience

    Venues where goods are being sold also need to stay in line with the brand vision. Both the online shop and the retail store presence need to be a physical manifestation of the brand. The shopping experience should always be on-brand and make the buyer feel important and valued.

    The Loyalty Pay-off

    Companies that have been able to use brand psychology effectively in their marketing campaigns have some of the most loyal customers in their respective industries. Apple is an excellent example with their brand dominating the tech sector for many years now. The company has been able to represent itself as the pinnacle of advanced design and engineering. Its products are highly regarded and viewed as luxury goods for the forward-thinking, smart shopper. Despite the large price tag, people still clamor for them. Most iPhone owners are planning to upgrade within the same product line, many without even considering devices from other companies.
    Ford is another brand with a dedicated following. It has built a name for itself as a manufacturer of rugged vehicles that stand the test of time. Loyal fans feel safe with the brand. They stick to what they know and are unlikely to look elsewhere when vehicle shopping.

    Tips for Brand Marketers

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  • Marketers must always be careful with their brand messaging. Whatever is being said inevitably affects the brand and promises to have long-lasting effects.

  • Actions are equally as important as words. In order to maintain a sense of authenticity, there must be harmony between what is being said and what is being done.

  • Tangible experiences are a must. The shopping experience must be pleasant enough for them to consider coming back, and products should perform as promised. Reliable customer service after the sale helps to secure long-term loyalty.

  • Understanding your precise target market is essential to the success of any brand.

  • Using brand psychology to create authentic connections will help solidify credibility, loyalty, and develop brand evangelists for years to come.
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    How do you use psychology in your branding efforts?


    University of Southern California

    Psychology Department at University of Southern California
    At USC's online Master of Science in Applied Psychology program, we understand human behavior is more than the basis of psychology. By delivering a unique blend of consumer psychology and organizational psychology, we aim to give students an edge in marketing, talent management and recruitment, research, social media and analytics, organizational development and a wide variety of related fields for every organization and business.

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