5 Marketing Takeaways from Brandwashed

What kind of behavior brought upon the notion of the Pepsi challenge? Did Pepsi suddenly get curious, wanting to battle with competitor Coke without prompt? No, Pepsi wanted to clean the ‘brandwashed’ associations residing in Coke drinkers’ heads.

A number of consumers are ‘brandwashed,’ routinely seeking the same services and products, forming an allegiance to particular brands. Is it just consumerism running its natural course, or is it a part of the larger, marketing plan of brands?

Martin Lindstrom, author of Brandwashed, thinks the cycle of consumerism is purposeful, having worked for major brands like McDonald’s, Pepsi, and Nokia. In his book, Martin gives readers a view into branding insights, exercised by major suppliers.

Start Young

Like with developing skills and honing talents, advertisers start early, seeking to make impressions in young people. The same person who loved their McDonald’s happy meal as a kid is likely to do the same for their children one day, continuing as a consumer of the brand throughout their life and making impressions on others along the way.

Lindstrom encourages brands to think beyond one-off purchases, making consumers true brand advocates and ensuring they come back again, forming a lifelong buying habit. What does your brand do to attract the younger generation, those who grow to be dollar-spending consumers.

Stroke the Ego

Sigmund Freud, in his exploration of the human psyche, identifies three major components of the ego – the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is the ‘childish’ or irrational part of our egos.

While adults often exercise maturity and restraint from primal urges, Lindstrom mentions advertisers use primal urges (such as sexual attraction) in marketing campaigns, thus the notion, “sex sells.” 80% of teen girls mention shopping as a hobby. Feeling attractive and getting attention is on any teen’s list, and advertisers know how to prod primal and generally-held human urges.

Reference Heydays

Notice how people of varying generations debate about music. Debaters often believe the sounds respective of their younger years or heyday as superior to others. Lindstrom relays that advertisers seek to develop associations to good memories, such as those in one’s childhood or teen years.

Consider the Hershey’s brand, producing special wrapping and products for various holidays, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Nostalgia stirs good emotions, emotions advertisers hope extend to include products and services too.

Be Social

What are some of the funniest things you’ve seen on YouTube this year? Most people gain word about viral or well-shared content through peers. Lindstrom instructs viral marketing as a major weapon of branding campaigns.

One of Pepsi’s recent viral triumphs blurs the line between reality and fiction, turning a disguised NBA star into a seemingly un-athletic and elderly man for an entertaining and well-shared video series. While billboards and magazine ads make impressions, stronger ones are created by social sharing.

Express Urgency

You can save 50% on that car, but you need to act now! New members get a free iPod while supplies last! Delivery is free to the first 200 callers! All of these ad messages express urgency, as if the viewer is missing out or something bad will happen if they don’t react.

Lindstrom mentions the creation of paranoia as a selling tactic, compelling consumers to make quick decisions when faced with impending embarrassment, failure, or doom. If you don’t buy deodorant, you’ll smell. If you don’t go to the dentist, you’ll get tooth decay. If you don’t buy diet foods, you’ll get fat. If the initial thought of purchasing isn’t enough to entice consumers, brands insert levels of urgency and paranoia, introducing negative associations to not buying respective products and services.

Matthew Rayfield is business marketing consultant. He has a penchant for business websites and enjoys passing on his expertise through blogging. Visit InvenioMarketing.com for more ideas.