Iconocast Logo
News Logo

Fifth Law of Branding (Emotional Branding)

Branding = Instilling Strong Attitudes about the product in the mind of consumers that are more resistant to change.

The primary motivations to buy an object, are the basic minimum. These are not the ultimate reasons why you buy something. These are the minimum requirements you consider buying or looking for something. As we said, a car should take you where you want to go without a breakdown (give you a sense of freedom and autonomy is secondary). A refrigerator should keep your stuff cold. A printer should print without jamming or any other problems....These are the minimum basics.

Mark Parisi Off the Mark Cartoons

There seems to be a law of duality in many purchase decisions we make. There are always two reasons for doing anything. These are the reasons that sound good and the real reasons. The practical, logical, bottom line reasons are primary reasons or primary motivations.

The secondary or ultimate reasons are a bit more complex. These are the sound good reasons (mostly of intrinsic type). We like to show that sometimes Brands are easier to accept when you search the secondary reasons inside your analytical mind.

Brands dominate the secondary motivations. Brands trigger the emotional responses that lead to simpler buying decisions.

The secondary motivations (intrinsic or extrinsic) are psychological and emotional in nature. Brands fill this space. Brands are accepted by your psychological and emotional state of mind.

People decide emotionally and justify logically. Brands make this process easier for people. People make quick or instantaneous decision to buy and then spend a good deal of time rationalizing or justifying the purchase. When they buy products, people do have to rationalize the purchase. In the case of Brands, other people have done the rationalization for them.

Brands are more attuned to the emotional factors in decision making. Brands stimulate positive emotions such as love, pride, respect, happiness, freedom, liberty, autonomy, and security.

In just opposite, people are recollection of old fears, angers, resentments, and uncertainties of buying bad products.


Brain takes less effort to recognize strong brands

Last Updated: 2006-11-28 14:40:00 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People's brains respond more easily to well-recognized brands, and have a tougher time reacting to less famous ones, regardless of the product involved, German researchers report.

Brain scans with functional MRI, an imaging test that measures how much energy the brain is using, revealed that volunteers' brains worked harder when they evaluated a so-called "weak" brand, and that activation occurred in areas tied to negative emotions. Conversely, strong brands elicited less activation, centered on brain areas involved in self-identification, rewards and positive emotion.

Dr. Christine Born of Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich and an interdisciplinary team of colleagues, including advertising and marketing professionals, conducted the first-ever test of "brain branding" in 20 men and women.

Participants were shown a typical advertising image representing the brand, along with its logo, for three seconds, and pressed a button in response to a question about how they perceived the brand.

The brands they evaluated -- automobile manufacturers and financial services firms -- had been rated on their relative strength or weakness by a separate group of volunteers.

Born and her team theorized that the brain would respond similarly to "strong," more famous brands no matter what product was being sold, with the same being true for "weak," less well-established brands.

The volunteers' brains indeed reacted similarly to well-known brands, the researchers found, with activity localized in parts of the brain involved in self-identification, rewards, and positive emotion. This suggests, Born said, that the stronger brands were "more fixed in the brain" and "perceived more easily."

But for the "weak" brands, activation was diffused across the brain to a greater degree and brain activity was stronger overall, suggesting it spent more energy recognizing these brands. Weak brands also produced more activation on the right side of the brain, which Born says is involved with "more negative emotional input and conflict-solving strategies."

The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

According to Born, this technique may be useful in helping to market products more effectively to groups that are traditionally ignored by advertisers, such as elderly individuals, who may have plenty of money to spend.

She and her colleagues are planning additional research in more diverse groups to investigate how brand perception may vary with age, gender and other factors.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


Compulsive Shopping Carries a Heavy Price

September 28, 2005 08:41:20 PM PST

For a rising number of Americans, shopping has become more than a means to an end, or a pleasurable pastime.

Instead, experts say, members of this growing group of "compulsive shoppers" feel low when they're not out shopping, and yearn for that special "high" that comes from browsing and buying.

Unfortunately, that high is usually short-lived: For most, the day's spending usually ends in renewed anxiety and sadness as they return home and realize their latest acquisition isn't making them any happier -- and may have put them further into debt.

It's a cycle that's very reminiscent of other harmful pathological addictions, such as gambling, said researcher Helga Dittmar, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Sussex in Brighton, U.K.

"Compulsive buying is often smiled about and belittled, either as 'something we all do at times' or the entertainment of the bored ultra-rich," she said. "The reality is that it has serious consequences, like other addictions. It can lead to severe financial debt, breakdown of relationships and families, and impairment at work and at home."

According to the last U.S. statistics available -- collected in a 1992 study -- compulsive shopping affected anywhere between 2 percent and 8 percent of Americans at that time. But experts believe prevalence of the disorder has risen since then.

Dittmar is the author of a new study investigating the psychological roots of compulsive buying, published in the September issue of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

In the study, Dittmar used data from the personal "shopping diaries" of 29 women (18 ordinary shoppers, 11 compulsive shoppers), plus the results of detailed questionnaires from 365 adults of varying age, which also included a fair number of compulsive shoppers.

She was able to pinpoint two "vulnerability factors" that appear to raise risks for compulsive buying.

"The first is a materialistic value system, the importance that a person attaches to material goods as a way of achieving major life goals, such as satisfaction and happiness," according to Dittmar. In essence, she said, "materialists are more prone to go for material goods as a solution to any problem they might encounter."

The second factor "concerns the self-concept, where a person who feels that they are far away from their 'ideal' self is more vulnerable to psychological problems," Dittmar said.

In this type of situation, materialistic individuals may turn to excessive spending as a form of what she called "self-repair."

"They'll buy those consumer goods that symbolize a part of their ideal self -- 'If I buy a glamorous dress, I might feel like a glamorous person,' " Dittmar explained.

In fact, the vast majority of compulsive shoppers -- about 90 percent -- are women, and Dittmar's study found clothing to be a major focus of their spending, probably because fashion is so tightly tied to self-image.

Women may also be more prone to the syndrome because shopping is traditionally viewed as a part of female, but not male, identity. And because some women are homemakers, Dittmar said that "they may have less opportunity for other "feel-good" strategies," like working out at the gym or meeting friends for drinks.

The compulsive buyers' personal shopping diaries revealed that most of the "good feelings" generated by their excessive spending is fleeting.

The journals showed that "their initial 'high,' straight after the purchase, was stronger than for ordinary buyers -- but also that the high was short-lived," the researcher said. In fact, compulsive shoppers were much more prone than ordinary spenders to experience "buyer's remorse" once they got their goods home.

"For some people, shopping is all about the thrill of the hunt; for some, it's the high of the purchase; and for some, it's the socialization with the salesperson -- the acknowledgement and reinforcement they get," said April Lane Benson, a New York City psychologist specializing in "overshopping," and the author of I Shop, Therefore I Am: Compulsive Buying and the Search for Self.

She agreed with Dittmar that materialism and poor self-image help drive the condition. While the latest statistics on the prevalence of compulsive shopping are still being tabulated by researchers, Benson believes the disorder is on the rise, especially among the young, and has spread to become a "global problem."

And she believes men's spending habits often allow them to go under the radar as compulsive buyers.

"They're 'image-spenders' more often than women, meaning that they pick up the tab when they have no business doing so, for example," Benson said. Men are also more prone to becoming pathological "collectors," addictively amassing one class of object, often going in debt to do so.

"Collecting is a way of buying compulsively, of course, but it becomes a more highbrow or refined caste," she said.

Avoiding or curbing these types of compulsive behaviors may involve stepping back and re-evaluating what's really important, Dittmar said.

For most people, the "ideal me" will always elude their grasp, she said. So the true pathway to better self-esteem may lie in "picking those aspects that one can realistically do something about, and that are worth doing something about," Dittmar said.

That can be tough, given today's society. Both experts agreed that unrelenting pressure from advertising and the media are pushing people to spend more recklessly than ever before, and that spending is even easier now via 24-hour shopping channels and the Internet.

The media "bombard us with ideals and role models that are likely to make us feel inadequate and in need of 'fixing,'" Dittmar said. While most people won't be unduly swayed by any one ad or TV show, "it is difficult to evade the general message that 'We are what we have,'" she said.

Benson agreed: "'Happiness is the next purchase away,' is what we are being told."

More information

For more on compulsive buying, head to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery.


The grass isn't greener

How quests for improvement can cause us to lose sight of the value of current choices

There are many consumer decisions that we have to make over and over again, such as selecting a restaurant to eat at in our neighborhood or deciding which store to shop at for groceries. The repetitive nature of these decisions provides us with the opportunity to learn from past choices and improve our future choices. However, new research from the August issue of the Journal of Consumer Research shows that our quest for improvement may result in a failure to appreciate the value of our current choice.

In a series of eight experiments, Tom Meyvis (New York University) and Alan Cooke (University of Florida) find that when consumers expect to make similar choices in the future, they selectively pay attention to information that suggests that an alternative would be better. These consumers also tend to disregard information that indicates their current choice is the best possible choice.

“Our findings suggest that consumers who are focused on the future are so preoccupied with finding ways to improve their situation that they become overly sensitive to information that points to such opportunities — and lose sight of the relative advantages of their current choice,” the authors explain.

For example, Meyvis and Cooke asked study participants to choose among three stores on a series of simulated shopping trips. After each trip, they were shown the price charged for a product at their chosen store and the prices charged at each of the other two stores.

After going on a series of shopping trips, participants were then asked to indicate which store was the cheapest and whether they would want to switch to another store for a second set of shopping trips.

Notably, the investigators found that when participants were told in advance that they would make a second set of shopping trips, they were less likely to prefer the store they initially chose and more likely to switch to another store after the first set of trips. In addition, they also thought the store they chose was the most expensive fifty percent more of the time. This phenomenon was replicated in later studies even when the chosen store was less expensive than the other two stores.

In contrast, participants who did not expect to have to make a second choice accurately recalled an equal number of trips on which the chosen store was cheaper or more expensive.

“Ironically, participants who were preparing for future decisions, and should therefore be more motivated to learn from their past choices, were less likely to realize that they had selected the cheapest store and were more likely to switch to other, more expensive stores,” the authors write.

Additional evidence suggests that consumers who anticipate future choices selectively search for ways to improve their current situation and disproportionately pay attention to better prices at other stores.

As the authors explain, “As a result, forward looking consumers overestimate how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, leading them to abandon their chosen store for an often objectively inferior alternative.”


Tom Meyvis and Alan D. J. Cooke. “Learning from Mixed Feedback: Anticipation of the Future Reduces Appreciation of the Present” Journal of Consumer Research: August 2007.

Contact: Suzanne Wu
University of Chicago Press Journals


Stimulating the appetite can lead to unrelated impulse purchases

Exposure to something that whets the appetite, such as a picture of a mouthwatering dessert, can make a person more impulsive with unrelated purchases, finds a study from the February 2008 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. For example, the researchers reveal in one experiment that the aroma of chocolate chip cookies can prompt women on a tight budget to splurge on a new item of clothing.

“We found that an appetitive stimulus not only affects behavior in a specific behavior domain, but also induces a shared state that propels a consumer to choose smaller–sooner options in unrelated domains,” explains researcher Xiuping Li (National University of Singapore). “Similarly, the presence of an attractive woman in the trading room might propel an investor to choose the investment option providing smaller but sooner rewards.”

In the first experiment, Li asked participants to act as “photo editors of a magazine” and choose among either appetite stimulating pictures of food or non-appetite stimulating pictures of nature. A control group was shown no pictures at all. All were then asked to participate in a lottery that would either pay them less money sooner or more money later.

Those who had been exposed to the photos of food were almost twenty percentage points more likely to choose the lottery with the chance of a smaller, more immediate payoff than those who were exposed to the photos of nature (61 percent vs. 41.5 percent) and eleven percentage points more likely to choose the short-term gain than those who had not been exposed to any stimulus (61 percent vs. 50 percent).

Similarly, another experiment used a cookie-scented candle to further gauge whether appetitive stimulus affects consumer behavior. Female study participants in a room with a hidden chocolate-chip cookie scented candle were much more likely to make an unplanned purchase of a new sweater – even when told they were on a tight budget – than those randomly assigned to a room with a hidden unscented candle (67 percent vs. 17 percent).

“The scent of the appetitive stimulus led to reduced happiness with remote gains, which implied that participants in a present-oriented state were less sensitive to future values,” Li explains. “In addition, [this] experiment showed that participants were more likely to satisfy their current and spontaneous desire if they were exposed to the unrelated appetitive stimulus before they made the decision.”

Li concludes: “If retailers want to push their customers to shop more rather than stay longer, they should not only maintain a pleasant environment but also an environment full of temptations and excitement.”


Xiuping Li, “The Effects of Appetitive Stimuli on Out-of-Domain Consumption Impatience.” Journal of Consumer Research: February 2008.


Too Many Choices Result In Less Stamina, Decreased Productiveness

Each day, we are bombarded with options -- at the local coffee shop, at work, in stores or on the TV at home. Do you want a double-shot soy latte, a caramel macchiato or simply a tall house coffee for your morning pick-me-up? Having choices is typically thought of as a good thing. Maybe not, say researchers who found we are more fatigued and less productive when faced with a plethora of choices.

Researchers from several universities have determined that even though humans' ability to weigh choices is remarkably advantageous, it can also come with some serious liabilities. People faced with numerous choices, whether good or bad, find it difficult to stay focused enough to complete projects, handle daily tasks or even take their medicine.

These findings appear in the April issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which is published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers conducted seven experiments involving 328 participants and 58 consumers at a shopping mall. In the laboratory experiments, some participants were asked to make choices about consumer products, college courses or class materials. Other participants did not have to make decisions but simply had to consider the options in front of them.

The scientists then asked each group to participate in one of two unpleasant tasks. Some were told to finish a healthy but ill-tasting drink (akin to taking ones medicine). Other participants were told to put their hands in ice water. The tasks were designed to test how the previous act of choosing, or not choosing, affected peoples' ability to stay on task and maintain behaviors aimed at reaching a goal.

Researchers found that the participants who earlier had made choices had more trouble staying focused and finishing the disagreeable but goal-focused tasks compared to the participants who initially did not have to make choices.

In other experiments, participants were given math problems to practice for an upcoming test. The participants who had to make important choices involving coursework spent less time solving the math problems and more time engaging in other distractions such as playing video games or reading magazines, compared to participants who were not asked to make choices prior to that point. The participants who made choices also got more math problems wrong than participants not faced with decisions.

To further buttress their laboratory findings, the researchers conducted a field test at a shopping mall. The shoppers reported how much decision-making they had done while shopping that day and then were asked to solve simple arithmetic problems. The researchers found that the more choices the shoppers had made earlier in the day, the worse they performed on the math problems. The authors note they controlled for how long the participants had been shopping, and for several demographic categories such as age, race, ethnicity and gender.

Kathleen D. Vohs, PhD, the study's lead author and a member of the University of Minnesota's marketing department, concluded that making choices apparently depletes a precious resource within the human mind. "Maintaining one's focus while trying to solve problems or completing an unpleasant task was much harder for those who had made choices compared to those who had not," says Vohs. "This pattern was found in the laboratory, classroom and shopping mall. Having to make the choice was the key. It did not matter if the researchers told them to make choices, or if it was a spontaneously made choice, or if making the choice had consequences or not."

But what about making fun choices" How does that affect our mental acuity" In their last experiment, researchers determined that making a few enjoyable decisions, such as spending four minutes selecting items for a gift registry, was shown to be less mentally draining than when participants spent 12 minutes doing the same task. In other words, even if people are having fun making decisions, their cognitive functions are still being depleted with every choice they make.

Vohs says these experiments provide evidence that making choices, as opposed to just thinking about options, is what is especially taxing. "There is a significant shift in the mental programming that is made at the time of choosing, whether the person acts on it at that time or sometime in the future. Therefore, simply the act of choosing can cause mental fatigue," says Vohs. "Making choices can be difficult and taxing, and there is a personal price to choosing."

Article: "Making Choices Impairs Subsequent Self-Control: A Limited-Resource Account of Decision Making, Self-Regulation, and Active Initiative," Kathleen D. Vohs, PhD, and Noelle M. Nelson, PhD, University of Minnesota; Roy Baumeister, PhD, Florida State University; Brandon J. Schmeichel, PhD, Texas A&M University; Jean M. Twenge, PhD, San Diego State University; Dianne M. Tice, PhD, Florida State University; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 94, No. 5

Click here for the full text of the article.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Source: Audrey Hamilton
American Psychological Association

First Law of Branding ; Second Law of Branding ; Third Law of Branding ; Fourth Law of Branding ; Fifth Law of Branding ; Sixth Law of Branding ; Seventh Law of Branding ; Eighth Law of Branding ; Ninth Law of Branding ; Tenth Law of Branding ; Eleventh Law of Branding ; Twelfth Law of Branding

Internet Marketing ; eMarketing ; Internet Advertising ; Online Branding ; Search Engine Optimization & Marketing ; Naming ; Privacy Policy ; Contact Us ; Our Services ; Home - Iconocast Home