This article will try to find an answer to current consumer behavior. With this, we should delve into a new concept that crosses many social disciplines: psychobranding.
As explained in the previous blog, it’s no longer about what a brand has but what it is and represents. In other words, their reason for being, their purpose, and their most profound level of interpersonal connection. If brands know how to communicate why they are in the world, it will be much easier to inspire customers rather than manipulate them.
Thus, successful brands no longer sell products or services but instead sell an idea, a reason to fight for. As Cristina Quiñones mentions, brands must build motivations that support the way of thinking of their current and future customers. Then, they will get them to identify with them. The CEO of Consumer Truth, a consulting firm specializing in Insights & Strategy, considers that brands get involved with people on an emotional level, and it is not the rational level that dominates that relationship.
This new concept is where the contribution of positive psychology and neuroscience takes on fundamental importance. They help understand consumer behavior and the decision-making process. These contributions began to gain more strength at the end of the last century to give rise to psychobranding. Ergo, it caused a revolution in marketing and led companies to channel their investments into market research based on these new disciplines.
Braidot elaborates on this point when he says that any decision-making process primarily involves the limbic part of the brain. To such an extent, in a transcendent decision for a person, it is that part – the emotional one – that takes control and tips the balance. So it is assumed that the brands’ decisions are as or even more emotional than that.
We must consider some key factors to understand the concept of psychobranding better. First, the brand’s reason for being must be clear. That is why it does what it does, not just what it does. In this way, the place it occupies in its clients’ lives must define what it means to them. That is what Quiñones calls brand insight. The author describes it as an emotional, deep, and symbolic meaning that the brand provides to the consumer’s life.
Secondly, we have the philosophy of the brand, its principles, and its values. That is the key factor in achieving a deep connection with customers. Those concepts will inspire and motivate them to give you their trust. Therefore, brands must provide customers with that sense of belonging. They can achieve that when they meet those who share the same beliefs, those who are like them. And so, to gain their trust, you must communicate and show that the brand shares the same values.
Indeed, generating trust and loyalty in customers takes work to achieve. It is a process that takes time and must involve the entire company. It goes beyond the company’s goods and services; it is about transmitting its values and beliefs.
We don’t just have to work on customer loyalty. Another aspect more important than this is to work on employee loyalty. Inspiring employees helps to transmit the brand message to inspire others inside and outside the company. Therefore, it is not about how qualified and capable they are but whether they believe in what the company believes.
In this aspect, it’s worth noting the outstanding contribution of positive psychology regarding employee engagement and its importance for organizational health. According to Salanova and Schaufeli, “engaged employees, when compared to those who are not, are more satisfied with their work. They feel more committed and loyal to the organization where they work and have less intention of leaving it for another organization.”
In other words, when employees feel that they have found their place in the world and share the same purpose, that guarantees a brand’s success.
The above gives rise to the third key factor: brands must have a cause, a purpose, and a reason to fight to win customers’ hearts.
Sinek clarifies this by saying that the products or services they sell don’t justify purchasing. They instead serve as tangible proof of their cause or purpose. In other words, turning customers into allies and being someone for them is the starting point for lasting relationships and successful businesses.
Finally, you have to understand people and not just brands. Getting involved with a brand, thinking about it, molding it, launching it, and eventually managing it requires prior work to know who to aim at and its future clients. It’s not only necessary to limit oneself to a superficial observation based on mere statistical data. We must recognize individuals as having shortcomings, defects, desires, wishes, values, and beliefs.
Keys to win a client
In short, brands connect better with those they know. They must understand that not everything revolves around them. On the contrary, the center of any relationship must be the customers. To understand people, you have to know how they act and why. Also, what are their motivations, and what leads them to be the way they are? Generally, people tend to group with those with the same values and beliefs. This union generates powerful bonds of trust over time. Again, it’s not the products or services that bind customers to brands; it is the beliefs and values they share.
Therefore, what those dedicated to branding have to be clear about is that, as Quiñones says, “it is not about being everything to everyone. It is about being something for someone.” Brands such as Red Bull and its claim “Be brave, take risks” or Ford with its “Go Further” show their intention to be part of customers’ lives, being something significant for them. They show them that they share the same values and beliefs. They let them know the reason why they are in this world.
What is psychobranding for?
To conclude, we shouldn’t think of psychobranding as manipulating customers’ minds. We should use it to find the essence behind the power of brands. In this way, the future of brands lies in how much they can connect with customers on an emotional level. Nike perfectly understood this was the way to go when it raised its famous slogan, “Just do it.” That revolutionized the market. For Nike, the best athletes didn’t need a podium or a crowd because they were not sports athletes. They were fighters for life! That is how Nike built its position, philosophy, and vision of the world.
What psychobranding seeks is to connect on an unconscious level with the emotionality of those customers who share the same beliefs and values. It aims to remind them that they are the ones who build it, who give it meaning and significance. That will affect the consumer’s unconscious ecosystem to touch the depths of their emotion to strengthen the links between the two and consolidate lasting relationships.