Your brain is just like Google.

When you choose a product or service from the numerous choices available, your brain uses its own algorithm to subconsciously evaluate the choices that are under consideration, in exactly the same way that Google uses its algorithm to decide which websites to show in your search results.

The brands that are selected by the algorithm are evaluated to best fit the present purpose (relevant), have sent frequent and consistent signals in the past (coherence), and have personal interaction (participation). These form the three laws of branding, of which any business must be aware to ensure their brand is at the top of consumers’ minds at the moment a purchase decision is made.


The Mind’s Algorithm

The algorithm that takes place in our brain guides us through the process of choosing a product or a service from those brands that we already know about.

First a goal arises in the mind. Brands are then evaluated against the three laws, in competition for awareness. In Google, this is when you enter a search string and Google checks the results of page ranks, to form the first page of search results.

Of those brands that are returned by our brain, the brand that best fits the three laws enters awareness first and gets our awareness, just like Google’s search results. In both cases, we take action, and choose the first result as the preferred option, unless there is a conscious decision otherwise.


Law 1: Relevance

Brand relevance is how well than brand resonates with the wants and needs of the target audience. This includes everything from the alignment of a brand, as well as its brand attributes, brand identity and brand personality.

To ensure your brand is relevant, you must have a very clear picture of your target market. All marketing communications across all channels must deliver the same tone and personality so that consumers are never confused about what your brand stands for.

Law 2: Coherence

Brand coherence is achieved when your brand’s message is consistent over time and in different media. In the brain, consistency leads consumers to associate this brand as most likely to meet a specific need. When this goal is expressed, the most consistent brand will come to consumers’ minds as a solution.

When thinking of a brand with excellent coherence, think of Coca-Cola whose premise is to ‘open happiness’. Your brand promise, or the solution delivered by your product or service, must be sufficiently broad to encompass consumers’ different needs, without losing specificity. Simple reiteration does not equal coherence.


Law 3: Participation

Participation occurs when consumers create brand meaning by interacting with or making a connection to a brand. Participation can take the form of online quizzes, photo or video contests, submission contests and more. The idea behind participative marketing is to get consumers talking and engaging with your brand organically.

Participation is not only social media. Social media is an enabler of brand participation, but is usually ineffective as the only participation measure utilized. Give people the chance to interact with each other (as well as with the brand) and it will lower stress and add positive connections.

These three laws reinforce branding at its essence. Relevance is making sure your business is well-positioned to meet the needs of your target market. Coherence is building marketing campaigns that resonate with your core audience. Finally, participation is about selecting the right participative media on which to promote your product or service.

Playing into consumers’ subconscious choice algorithm, your brand will stick out in the minds of consumers, just like the first search result displayed in Google.

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