Reading length: 3 mins
Defining brand psychology
If a brand is the perception of an organisation that exists in the minds of those who encounter the associated organisation, then an understanding of the human psyche is critical to those designers working on branding initiatives. Understanding users, as well as the context of use, informs the development of brands that deliver a desired effect.
Marks and meanings
According to Psychology Today, each of us is subjected to anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 brand exposures every day. While the complete understanding of the psychological effect of so many commercial messages is unclear, this much is clear: Logos play a big part in this increasingly rich and complex landscape.
It is this for reason that graphic identities need to reflect the values, psychology and demographics of their intended audience. Many essential elements of a logo — shape, pattern, colour, etc. — mean different things to different people.
Understanding the needs and desires of your target audience through research and rapid prototyping is one way of evaluating treatments for a graphic identity.
I'll explain: Can you test the appeal and connotation of a predominately red logo in South Korea verses one shown in Western Europe? An additional method involves consideration of trends and the competitive landscape. What ideas are being adopted from another culture? Is Peppa Pig or UGG on the rise for your target audience?
On the flip side, you now know a company's branding efforts say lot about someone else’s understanding of you.
As a graphic identity moves into the physical world and interacts with spaces and objects over time, often the audience experiences a more visceral and immediate effect.
As you enter a retail store, do you pass through glass doors? Do the interior graphics entice you to look up or down? Does the space remind you of your garage or kitchen?
Do the photos in a brochure encourage close examination or a cursory glance? Does the text make you want to read it twice? Does the printed piece look like a phone book or a work of art?
The application of program elements can be a powerful way of amplifying the psychological effect of the graphic identity.
The distinguishing factor
Connotation in the context of psychology according to Wiki:
'the abstract meaning or intension of a term, which forms a principle determining which objects or concepts it applies to.'
The world’s most memorable brands tend to distinguish themselves in the connotation—not just the denotation—of the value proposition. Brand builders strive to create just the right connotation for the brand in the mind of its target audience. Success in this endeavour is a rare and precious commodity.
While the idea of brand reputation is nothing new among PR and marketing professionals, linking a diverse set of brand initiatives for a cumulative psychological effect on target audiences is the advanced way of building a brand identity. It starts and ends with what people think, or, more accurately, what a brand can inspire people to think.
This week's blog was a bit of a deep one; but when was psychology ever a surface subject? I hope you found some gems to help you connect with your target audience at a deeper level.