Subtle Ways that Brands Impact Our Behavior

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In a time where skipping ads has become the norm and commercials have had to hit a new level to capture people’s attention, it may seem like a more aware consumer market is less affected by brand campaigns and merely buy what they want to buy. However, brands seep into our lives and change our mindsets more than one might think. Here are some of the most effective yet subtle ways they achieve that.

Using promo materials

“Subtle” may be the last word that comes to mind when you think about custom promotional products. But in Australia, these are some of the most popularly used branding materials because they allow brands to enter the daily lives of people who otherwise may not give them a second look.

As most brands now opt to embellish their logos and names on usable items like pens, USBs, coolers, and powerbanks (and more), consumers are primarily being exposed to their brand consistently without the need for other ad materials and blatant marketing tactics. Because these items are so often used in different lifestyles, people don’t think twice about using them and even passing them on to friends, family, or housemates.

As they serve as constant reminders of the logo, they imprint and color their names into the visual memory of those who use the customized goods. They also inherently establish the brand as trustworthy and reliable in those who actively use these products.

Using passive ads

Because advertising has become such a staple part of society, no one thinks twice about the number of signs and branding that constantly surround us in busy streets and virtually every area of the urban districts. While most companies want marketing campaigns that blatantly sell their products to would-be buyers, consumers often make gripes about intrusive marketing. That is where passive ads come in.

These consist of ads placed in locations that don’t necessarily interrupt the consumer’s day or actions but are conveniently situated in their fixed line of sight. They are interwoven into spaces that they seem like another part of the view. In turn, the reaction to turn away is greatly lessened, and people are more receptive to receive their messages “coincidentally,” even if they don’t remember the ad itself.

Have you ever had a sudden burger craving or thought of a specific song for no reason? Chances are you absentmindedly looked at a related ad at the bus stop, on the train, or a website.

Using conditioning

hand pressing on brand

Many advertisers use what is called “affective conditioning” to essentially train our minds to like their products. While we are more attuned to spotting obvious selling cues, we aren’t necessarily looking out for ways they are conditioning us to link their products with certain things.

Look back on certain brands that are always associated with specific things that aren’t even related to their core product. As a clearer example, a study published by the Journal of Consumer Research showed that people did end up following this conditioning method without realizing it was being used on them. In the study, a brand showed imagery associating the name with different pictures of positive things that people liked and made them feel good. These pictures did not necessarily reveal anything about the actual product’s uses and functions, and yet 80% of those tested ended up choosing the said brand when given options at the end of the study.

Knowing these subtle advertising tricks, one can find it interesting to note how else marketing will shape the collective consciousness.

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