January 01, 2016

Brand vs. Familiarity

We have already discussed the issue of true brands and the intense loyalty they enjoy from customers. While we may not be able to turn an itch cream into a lifestyle brand, there is a big value in consistent and frequent messaging.

We all make decisions on a subconscious and conscious level. Our conscious mind focuses on moving away from pain while moving toward pleasure. As a rule, we will move away from pain quicker than moving toward pleasure.

As an example, it may seem like a drug addict is moving toward pleasure every time they use. In reality, what started them in the first place was seeking an altered state away from some pain they were feeling, and what continues their use is avoiding the pain of quitting.

Think of our client NicoBloc. It’s a great product that you would think every smoker in the nation would buy. After all, does anyone not know that smoking is bad for you? Does anyone really want to be a smoker? And yet we have to work hard to sell it. One of the reasons is people want to avoid the pain of breaking the addiction more than the pleasure of being a non-smoker.

Now, on to the subconscious mind. It works a little differently. Our subconscious mind, sometimes referred to as the reptilian brain, is a very old, early-developed part of us. This part of our brain is wired to avoid pain and gravitate to the familiar.

The reason is this part of our brain was programmed to keep us alive. Seeking pleasure is not a survival skill. It is and can be the opposite. Just ask Tiger Woods. This is the part of our brain that takes our hand off a hot stove without thinking about it.

This part of our brain seeks the familiar because it defaults to those things, places, people and experiences that have proven safe in the past. It is right here that we can help gain ground for our clients.

When developing advertising campaigns, we need to have an intense focus on consistency. Every touch point needs to look and feel like the last one. Each needs to be a reminder of the last time they came in contact with the brand. Why? We need the consumer to feel familiar.

As to media, this is where frequency starts to matter. Even though we are not likely to get people to wear a shirt with the name of their favorite hemorrhoid treatment on it, we can build some familiarity with frequency for future needs.

Many CPG products are bought based on the deliverable: relieve pain, stop itch, produce thicker hair, etc. Because of this, all the advertising in the world will never drive consumption beyond need. But if we do our job right and build that familiar, trusted name, we have added value to our client’s brand – not only in this week’s sales figures but in the future – since we will have raised name recognition, which can result in future customers.