Whenever you think of certain brands -their signature colors, slogan or jingle – you experience certain feelings. You see the three-spoke symbol of Mercedes and you immediately think class, opulence, and business executives. How is it that this association came about?
It wasn’t by chance. Someone knew how to put the elements in place that would cause that association. Brand priming happens when you use subtle psychological triggers to influence people into a positive perception of your brand, increasing the likelihood of a purchase decision in the future.
A broad range of stimuli is available for your use to this end. You can use a sound, an image or a word to trigger that subconscious positive association. By including elements of brand priming in the design of your logo, you can give potential buyers the impression that your product is the best to meet their needs.
Is Brand Priming in Marketing Unethical?
This is a question marketers have had to field over and over. If you will be ‘priming’ your target market, won’t you be manipulating them psychologically? Won’t you be forcing them to act in a certain way against their will? However, priming doesn’t involve brainwashing prospects into buying your products.
Priming involves creating positive associations with your brand on a subconscious level. With brainwashing, you’re trying to force someone to believe or to do something that is wrong or that they otherwise wouldn’t engage in. Priming merely helps you pair your brand with good feelings or memories.
It’s not forcing or tricking someone to like something that’s harmful to them. In fact, certain features in a product you primed may trigger negative associations in the minds of some prospects.
How to Use Priming to Boost Conversions
There are a number of priming methods you can use to increase the number of visitors to your website who end up placing an order.
- Direct attribute priming – Ask visitors direct, non-leading questions about the importance of certain product features to them. This subconsciously brings these features to their attention and, more often than not, they will make a purchase decision based on that feature.
Using this tactic, you can subtly increase the importance of the key selling points of your products in the eyes of prospective buyers. You can employ direct attribute priming in your ad copy as well as in your headlines.
- Indirect attribute priming – Many people associate the color yellow with happiness and fun. If you’re selling products that you want people to associate with partying or sunny getaways, you can use images where this color is prominent. You can also use yellow font in your text or have the page background in pale yellow.
Stand Out Brand Priming Examples
There is a reason why Red Bull has invested millions of dollars in partnerships with various sports entities. When you see their logo on the shirts of RB Leipzig or on Salzburg soccer players or on the sides of Formula 1 cars, you associate their brand with high-performance sports.
Whether or not you engage in sports, you will long for the ‘wings’, which Red Bull says their product gives users to enhance their performance.
The famous golden arches of McDonald’s ignite memories of fun family moments while sharing a meal. This is not by chance – the marketers at the global fast-food chain know the positive, warm feelings the color yellow arouses.
Whenever you’re out with friends and need a quick bite, your feet automatically lead you to the nearest Mickey D’s. It’s because that positive association has been built into your psyche over years of careful brand priming.
When you need to get stylish sports gear that will help you perform at your best, chances are you’ll order from Nike. Because you want to be like the elegant, unbeatable Roger Federer or run like the record-breaking Eliud Kipchoge. Nike has mastered the art of priming prospective buyers using the sporting heroes they admire.
How Social Media Affects Brand Priming
With the advent of the Internet, you don’t have to wait until your prospects walk into your stores or turn on their TVs to exert the power of brand priming. Millennials are almost always on their phones. It is where they get their news, do their shopping, get their daily inspiration, etc.
Number crunchers say more than half of the American population check their phone at least 100 times in a day, with the majority of them opening at least one social media app. But the true power of social media lies in its provision of a platform to share content. This is why it only makes sense to move your brand building activities, including your priming efforts, onto social platforms.
If a user of your products has had a positive experience, they will eagerly share it with friends and followers on Instagram and Facebook.
How to Make Brand Priming Work for Your Business
Priming is one of the many ways to better understand psychology for marketing purposes. By using brand priming, increasing the return of your ads can turn out to be an easy and inexpensive task. All you have to do is make small and unnoticeable changes and the change will be apparent. The ideas and tactics in this article can work really well with your brand. Why not give them a try?