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The Strength of Branding

Author: Amanda Hosking

Brands can be very influential and recent studies have shown just how powerful they can be. Creating a successful brand takes a lot of time and effort, however, if it is done well you can really utilise your brand power to gain a large following and more customers.

A German study examined the potency of brands. Participants were shown a range of brand photos whilst measuring their brain activity using fMRI scans. The photos included popular and less popular brands. It was found that the popular brands illuminated sections of the brain connected with optimistic emotions, self-identification, and rewards. Less popular brands illuminated sections related to pessimistic emotions and memory. This shows that popular, well-regarded brands can elicit positive responses from people, simply by showing them a related brand image. This image instantly connects the individual to the brand and leads to positive emotions. 
amazon logo                                                                                                                                    Source: Interbrand.com

Brands can use Pavlovian techniques to train our brains and increase their brand awareness. Pavlov used classical conditioning to train dogs to salivate when they heard the ring of a bell. He rang the bell when it was feeding time, he then rang the bell on its own and the dogs still salivated as they associated the bell with food.

An experiment at Caltech revealed an icon could be associated with a tasting event to the extent that simply showing the participant the icon caused brain illumination. Participants conditioned responses were stronger the more they enjoyed the taste reward. This shows how powerful brands can be and the use of their logos can cause strong associations. Examples of this are the McDonalds Golden Arches and Taco Bells ringing bell. 

mcdonalds logo                                                                                                                                         Source: sun.co.uk

The key to successful branding is to ensure your brand connections remain consistent. Create a strong brand message that helps people to recognise and remember your brand.

• Keep your brand name short and attention grabbing
• Create a striking logo that will be noticed
• Think about the colours you want to use and keep them consistent
• Choose the tone for your brand
• Consider adding audio specific to your brand

Avoid changing key characteristics of your brand as this can lead to a loss of connection from customers and less recognition.

tesco logo and slogan                                                                                                                                 Source: Falmouth.co.uk

You should also maintain your brand experience and keep it consistent. If a customer repeatedly enjoys your brand's offerings then this positive experience will become associated with your brand. This means each time the customer thinks of your brand they will have a positive feeling towards it.

However, if a customer has bad experiences with your brand negative associations can quickly be made and leave your brand undesirable to the customer as once a connection has been made it is very difficult to change. Therefore, it is important to ensure your brand experience is positive and reliable!

apple shop                                                                                                                                    Source: applecoupons.net

Radiological Society of North America, “MRI Shows Brains Respond Better to Name Brands,” news release, November 28, 2006, http://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-11/rson-msb112106.php