Branding certainly has a psychology behind it, I mean, think about it; it taps into your desires, encouraging you to believe that you need a certain product or service thus suggesting that your life is currently lacking it.
As an agency, when you harness the psychology of branding, you connect with your audience on a personal level. In understanding their desires, you are demonstrating that you understand who they are and what they value.
The reason why branding and psychology are able to be weaved into one entity is because they are both ongoing, growing entities. In the same way that society evolves and thus modifies the needs of its people, branding must also evolve to respond to those needs. We often see brands and companies do this well in response to a changing economy. For example, a brand like Versace in a thriving hedonistic era such as the 90s communicated a very different branding message than it did during the 2007 recession.
Like Versace’s, branding works best when it puts a face on, making it feel more human and relatable. In the 90s, Versace’s faces were Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell thus promising consumers elegance, beauty, luxury and, at the time, modernism and youth. Put a face on your branding and give it some character; what does that character like? What don’t they like? What do they stand for? How do they express themselves?
There are many subsections within brand psychology and each has a profound effect on the consumer’s reaction. Here are some main subsections to consider:
- Colour psychology
- Community psychology
- Different brand personalities
Colours are more than just pretty shades and we know that already. Colours are emotion. Why might femme people feel particularly sexy when they wear a red dress or red lipstick? Why is the Blues genre of music named so? Because colour evokes emotion.
When it comes to branding, colours can evoke your brand’s characteristics, like whether you’re formal or informal, affordable or luxurious, young and upcoming or classic and established.
Since the Friends Reunion aired a couple of months ago, a lot of reviews and studies have been made on why a 90s show is so popular amongst a generation who weren’t even born when it aired. What they have found is that in an era of social media and quantity over quality when it comes to friends, young people are nostalgic for an era where your friends were your family and quality overrides quantity.
In short, we all desire to be a part of something where unconditional acceptance is the norm. When it comes to branding, this sense of community can be a group of people with a shared interest and/or location.
What this means for the psychology of your branding is that your brand makes it clear who you are and what you stand for. If your product or service is associated with a specific community, it will resonate with anybody who’s also part of it.
There are many different types of brand personalities but the two that tend to work best for agencies are the ‘competence’ and ‘excitement’ brand personalities.
Agencies that embrace the ‘excitement’ personality tend to present themselves as youthful, exuberant and cutting edge. The personality evokes a group of excited millennials with an office in Shoreditch where they order flat whites, dress casually and are motivated by up-and-coming experimental creativity. Of course, this is a niche stereotype and there are many ways to brand your agency with the ‘excitement’ personality – this is just a rough guideline.
‘Competence’ type agencies highlight leadership and embrace their influence and aspirational status. This may be suited to an ongoing almost legendary agency such as Partizan who have cemented their status as a successful creative agency for the past two decades or more.
Once you have developed your branding psychology you’re ready to get it out there and cement it. To finish up, here are a few pieces of advice when it comes to communicating your branding;
- Be consistent
- Be bold: don’t leave anything to the buyer’s imagination because that leaves them room to make assumptions.
- Keep up to date with socio-political psychology: a few good places to find the latest studies include Psychology Today and News Medical.