How do we make decisions in our consumer behavior, and how do we experience brands? The way we process cognitive information is key to understand consumer thinking. However, the way we feel puts us into action. How is our behavior influenced by what we already know and trust?
Our behavior is largely determined by our emotions and motivations, it is therefore important to know which incentives encourage us (read the brain) to take action. Normally our choices are made emotionally first, and rationalized afterwards. Hence, the most memorable brands are created on clear beneficial and strong emotional value propositions, resulting in long-lasting brand relationships. The development of emotional value is therefore becoming increasingly important, because it influences our brand choices.
To understand the principles of this type of mental value creation you have to understand the human mind. Brand psychology, also called neurobranding or neuromarketing, is a relative new field that studies the consumers' physical and mental response to (marketing) stimuli, triggered by our unconscious biases. It provides insight into how we associate brands with our personal experiences, feelings and routines. A brand is a mental representation in the mind of the consumer, and developed well, it predicts consumer behavior. The challenge is to create a brand that consumers want to know and trust, so their mental representation of it will give a positive emotional response and evoke rewarding user behavior.
Erik Schoppen is a brand and management consultant, author and lecturer at Hanze University Groningen of Applied Science and University of Groningen. He combines insights in the field of psychology, neurology (perception, cognition and behavior) and strategic brand management, trust development and leadership. He developed the Build-Bridge-Bond® methodology for sustainable brand leadership and is co-author of the book Strategic brand management. At the moment he is doing his Ph.D. research at the University of Groningen (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences).