Like the mind, a brand is a terrible thing to waste. That’s because a well-developed brand can leave an indelible mark on the brain, influencing reactions and emotions without the consumer ever realizing it.
While we necessarily fully understand all the physiological reasons that a brand can have such an impact on our minds and motives, we are sure that it happens. For instance, there was a study done where children were offered two identical hamburgers – both from McDonald’s – except one hamburger was wrapped in plain wrappers while the other was presented in its normal branded wrapper (with the McDonald’s logo and golden arches). The children preferred the branded hamburger, some even saying it tasted better. The study also showed that 76 percent of the children preferred “McDonald’s” fries and “McDonald’s” chicken nuggets.
There’s an instant emotional response to seeing a logo or brand, and that response is based on everything that’s preceded it. This is why some individuals may actually have a negative reaction to a specific brand – like if they’ve had bad personal experiences with the company or if the company is involved in less-than-reputable dealings or if the company’s CEO kills elephants.
And it’s almost impossible to reverse that impact – either positively or negatively. For instance, there are plenty of people who have seen the film Super Size Me – many of whom may have been disgusted by what they saw – who continue to eat at McDonald’s (or other fast food restaurants). Whether it’s because the McDonald’s brand has been established so strongly or because of their indifference toward what they saw in the movie, the points brought up in the film weren’t enough to dissuade them from eating there.
So when you’re building your business and promoting your brand, you’re doing more than just advertising or marketing. You’re exploring the psychological impact a message, an image, or a logo can have on an individual.