How to Be the Brand People Love with the Psychology of Branding

May 18, 2021
Customers are your ultimate brand ambassador. They want to feel cared for and inspired to act. Their psychological need is connection, not consumption.

Why learn about the psychology behind branding?

If you’re like most designers and marketers, you’d be amazed to learn the psychology behind why customers make the decisions they do—and the impact that a well-designed, usable brand can have on building brand loyalty, driving sales, and increasing your bottom line.

The answers are all around you; in things you use every day—like your car, your clothes, or the food you eat—and in more unusual places, such as art, movies, and even ice cream.

This article is an overview of some of the most fundamental principles of brand psychology including but not limited to:

  • Brand consistency
  • Emotional resonance
  • First impressions

What’s more, this information is applicable not only to designing for your company’s branding, but also to digital design and UX, so if you’re seeking branding for startups, look no further.

Why and how to build relationships.

In today’s digitally connected, speed-driven world, we live in the moment.

An eight second video of a car crashing, a one-minute Instagram story of someone crying, a fifteen second tweet to an “anonymous” user: What do any of these have in common?

“Next Story. Next. Next. Next.”

Your customers’ attention spans are shorter than ever and their mental bandwidth—the amount of focus and resources available to them to analyze and act on data—is miniscule.

They don’t have time for the marketing spin to sink in, the scripted sales pitch, or the tedious backstory.

If you want to win them over, you need to give them a real connection with your brand.

Relationships with people, trust, and emotion are all about understanding who they are as people and what they value.

Brands that inspire connection win.

Studies show brand placement doesn’t increase recall as much as placement of emotional cues—like logos, names, or colors.

The strongest emotional brand experiences aren’t told through marketing, they’re living stories, captivating headlines, and memorable images.

Consider the delight Airbnb gets from pairing families with each other and seeing them stay.

How Apple’s “1984” ad stoked the most positive emotions in viewers.

Placement of emotional cues should be integrated into your story—particularly, those that relate to your business.

Emotional cues—like eye contact, a smile, or a laugh—help us interact with your brand more naturally, which creates trust and connection.

Trust is the one sign your brand is here to stay.

It’s only human to try to do a quick Google search or copy-paste your business’ website address to find a trusted resource.

Brands build trust by creating authentic value.

In today’s crowded marketplace, trust is earned one conversation, lead, or loyalty program at a time.

This is what separates the winners from the rest.

For example, before ASICS became a cult favorite and a ubiquitous running sneaker brand, it was an upstart training shoe brand that could trace its roots back to the 1972 Olympics.

The brand we know and love today was born of one-to-one connections, word of mouth, and a company culture that placed community first.

Consumers know and trust ASICS because they know and trust the brand and its product.

How to build a powerful brand.

So how do you build a brand people love, not just the people who are loyal to you, but those who are passionate about your brand as a whole?

First, you need to establish the fundamental motivation for your brand and what emotional drivers resonate within your audiences.

By leading with emotion, you can get a reader to focus in, emotionally connect, and remember your brand better.

Once you have a handle on the fundamental motivations and emotional drivers behind your brand, you can create more specific emotional archetypes and attributes.

Your customers are the ultimate brand ambassador.

They’re the ones responsible for driving the conversation about your company, business, and product.

The psychological needs they seek to fill are not for consumption, but for service.

They want to feel cared for and inspired to act.

Branding is how to design experiences that satisfy those needs, simultaneously increasing conversions and producing invaluable brand ambassadors.

To do this, your audience must be at the heart of your brand strategy.

That means planning and prioritizing your brand’s emotional narrative, your positioning, your messaging, and your visual language.

Why You Need a Brand Guide Now →

After all, you’re a reflection of who your audience is.

So be sure to design your brand for them.

It won’t be easy, but it will help you focus on what really matters.