Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our brain thinks that brands like Heinz and Coke are family members - marketing is match making!

BBC has for their series "The Secrets of Superbrands" made some intresting studies and observations, proving that brand building is a fascinating art expanding our world, interacting with us on a deep level. Marketing is not about telling us about new products; it´s about building relationships.
From the producers of the BBC show:  
"We showed an ordinary person a series of pictures of a Heinz beans can, a Coke can, Red Bull, McDonald's and a host of well-known branded packaging, followed by photos of their close friends and family members.
The results confirmed Prof Calvert's research. We use the same part of our brain to recognise well-known brands as we use to recognise friends and family.
The brands even provoke a similar feeling of warmth and well-being to the one we get when a loved one walks into the room.
Heinz's labelling has changed little over the years
This is the part of the brain marketers dream of reaching. Once your brand is embedded this deeply in someone's mind they will keep buying your product (unless you do something really stupid).
These brands represent far more to us than just food.
We've grown up with them. We have such deep memories of them stored away they become part of who we are.
We also went out on the streets of Kingston and gave passers-by two samples of beans to compare - one from a Heinz tin and one from a Tesco Value beans tin.
Virtually everyone expressed strong opinions on which one was better - the one from the Heinz tin.
What they did not know, however, was that both samples were in fact the same, only the label was different.
Prof Calvert explained that the samples genuinely tasted different - the branding affects our taste buds.
Coca-Cola put its brand on everything, including Christmas
I was amazed to discover that Coca-Cola had understood this way back in the 1880s. Within the first 10 years of its existence, the company had given away free samples to 10% of the US population.
It had also printed its logo on anything it could get hold of: trays, mirrors, key-rings, shops, billboards, neon signs.
Coke's hard work has meant that "Coca-Cola" is the second most widely understood phrase in the English language next to "OK"."
Relate this to the study about slogans from Millward Brown that I wrote about the other day, where the repetition of a brand message will lead to recognition and liking. The slogan and logo get inprinted step by step... Which is why we like people wo look like ourselves - because we have seen ourselves in the mirror so many times!!
I found this article at
"According to researchers reporting in the July 28, 2010 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, we are attracted to people who resemble our parents or ourselves. In one study subjects were shown pictures of strangers which were preceded by a short glimpse of either their opposite-sex parent or a stranger. Subjects exposed to a short glimpse of their parent before being exposed to the target picture were more likely to assign higher ratings of attractiveness to the person in the target picture.
In a second study, a picture of the stranger was morphed together with a picture of themselves or a picture of another stranger. When subjects were asked to rate the portrayed people for attractiveness, they usually picked the people who were an amalgamation of a stranger and themselves.

The findings in these studies go against the common saying that opposites attract. As it turns out, we are much more likely to fall for someone who looks like us or our opposite-sex parent.

This may indicate that incest taboos are social constructs instituted to prevent people from following their instincts. However, there are other explanations of why we are attracted to people who look like us.
Researchers at the deCODE Genetics company in Reykjavik reporting in a 2008 issue of Science found that marriages between third or fourth cousins in Iceland tended to produce more children and grandchildren than those between completely unrelated individuals. The researchers suggest marrying third and fourth cousins is so optimal for reproduction because this degree of genetic similarity yields the best gene pool. Sibling and first-cousin couples could have inbreeding problems, whereas couples far-removed from each other could have genetic incompatibilities. Third and fourth-cousin couples are genetically compatible while having no serious inbreeding problems.

At first glance, these findings may seem to go against the so-called Westermarck effect. In a series of studies Edvard Westermarck, a Finnish Anthropologist, found that people who grow up together are disposed not to fall in love with each other after they reach sexual maturity.

The Westermarck effect, however, is completely consistent with the findings cited above. Living in close proximity is no doubt the decisive factor for desensitization in terms of sexual attraction, not degree of resemblance.

In fact, the Westermarck effect has been confirmed in the Israeli kibbutz system where people who grow up together often are not directly related to each other.

Sim Pua marriages in Taiwan also confirm Westermarck’s theory. “Sim pua” means “little daughter in-law”. A female infant is given to a family to be reared as a daughter by the family. When she grows up, she is to marry a son in the family. Sim Pua marriages have a low fertility rate, a high divorce rate, frequent adultery and lack of sexual attraction. In some cases, the son or daughter-in-law refuses to marry their destined spouse.

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