The Psychology Behind Branding | MP 29

The Psychology Behind Branding | MP 29

Do you understand the significance of branding? What is the power of branding? How can you align your brand with the values of your client?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho talks about the psychology behind branding.

Podcast Sponsor

Green Oak Accounting

Tired of never quite feeling comfortable with your practice financials? I’d like you to meet GreenOak Accounting. Their goal is to empower private practice owners with the financial information they need to make good business decisions. They specialize in working with solo and group private practices in the mental health industry, so they are uniquely positioned to help with figuring out what’s “normal” in your business finances and what’s not. So if you’ve ever had a conversation with your accountant or bookkeeper that left you wishing that they understood private practice or had some best practices to share, head over to www.greenoakaccounting.com and schedule a free consultation to see if they might be a good fit for you. They can help with all your accounting needs from bookkeeping to payroll to Profit First and budgeting & forecasting.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • The definition of a brand
  • The power of branding
  • The demand curve
  • Values
  • How to break through into a person’s value structure
  • Strategy on Instagram
  • Frame your brand’s message into something people value

The definition of a brand

A brand is a set of associations that a person (or group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual, or organization. If a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in people’s minds, then branding is an attempt to harness, generate, influence, and control these associations to help the business perform better.

The power of branding

The power of branding is its ability to influence behavior. We brand companies so they can build reputations. A brand with a good reputation elicits more engagement with clients.

We give names, logos, taglines, and colors to organizations so that people can more easily assign reputations, attributes, and values in their minds. Subconsciously, they place the brand in their value system, which guides their next actions. If they can act to get something they value and they see the brand as helpful, then they will turn to the company.

While absolute control over a brand is not possible due to outside influences (eg. online reviews), intelligent use of design, advertising, marketing, service proposition, corporate culture, and so on can all really help to generate associations in people’s minds that will benefit the organization.

What’s becoming more apparent is that people now have the ability to review your brand online, for example, and that’s not always something that you can control. This is something that you need to incorporate into your branding strategy – from the get-go, how are you going to respond to those negative reviews if they do pop up? And how are you going to, first and foremost, avoid any negative reviews showing up about your brand?

The power of branding comes from deep, subconscious parts of our brain that developed many millennia ago. Branding is just how these ancient, yet sophisticated, neural systems work in today’s world. People are more willing to associate with and help organizations that have a reputation, and names and logos help people keep track of those reputations. Branded products or services sell more at higher prices.

The demand curve

In economic terms, a company’s brand is its influence on the demand curve. The brand effect is interesting because companies should only be able to influence the supply curve, but we observe that companies with a strong brand move the demand curve. Branded products or services sell more at higher prices.

Values

Branding works because of the human tendency to subconsciously gather attributes and build reputations. These standings help you filter information and choose your next actions.

Our ability of subconscious reputation gathering evolved because it was crucial to the survival of our ancient ancestors. Remembering which berries were nutritious or what animal was a predator allowed our ancient ancestors to spot opportunities and avoid threats. Our actions, however, are also governed by our values. A value system is the ‘lense’ or ‘filter’ of motivations and beliefs you perceive the world through in order to act. Our culture and our religion affect what we value and, in turn, how we act. However, our personality, social group, and past experiences also shape our values.

Values can change based on your mood or physical state. When you are hungry, you see the world through the eyes of a hungry person, and you are more likely to see restaurants or ads for food. When you are feeling jealous or insecure, you notice ads for makeup or luxury cars. Our value system affects the brands that we notice. As a private practice, if your ideal client is someone who is depressed for example, you want your ads to be tailored to that person. You want to offer them hope but speak directly to their pain and offer them a solution – that’s what will convert them to making an appointment with you.

How to break through into a person’s value structure

Identify the values of your ideal client and how you can communicate and maintain those values. Then:

  • Solve a previously unsolved problem for the client.
  • Niche down and align your brand values with the values of the client you are serving.
  • Place your brand at the intersection of two values – people are never one dimensional; they always have multiple values that drive them.

Strategy on Instagram

Initially, focus on just aligning one of your values with a prominent value of your ideal client. But then as you advance in your marketing strategy, obviously including more and more values and seeing how you can combine those in your branding.

When it comes to social media strategy, specifically on Instagram, you should never base your content on more than two values. Content that works well on Instagram:

  • Inspirational
  • Educational
  • Humorous
  • Emotional

Frame your brand’s message into something people value

Once you have solved the problem, niched down, and identified the values of your ideal client, you then need to identify how you are going to communicate that you align with your ideal client and how to frame that message.

Useful Links:

Meet Sam Carvalho

Samantha Carvalho DesignSam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding.

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

[SAM]:
Tired of never quite feeling comfortable with your practice financials? I’d like you to meet Green Oak Accounting. Their goal is to empower private practice owners with the financial information they need to make good business decisions. They specialize in working with solo and group private practices in the mental health industry, so they are uniquely positioned to help with figuring out what’s normal in your business finances and what’s not. So if you’ve ever had a conversation with your accountant or bookkeeper that left you wishing that they understood private practice, or had some best practices to share, head over to greenoakaccounting.com and schedule a free consultation to see if they might be a good fit for you. They can help with your accounting needs from bookkeeping, to payroll, to profit first, budgeting, and forecasting.

Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho, where you will discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand your business, visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign.

Hi there. Thanks so much for joining me today on the Marketing a Practice podcast. So today I’m going to be delving quite deep into the psychology behind branding and having an audience that consists primarily of private practice owners in psychology and therapy in particular, I am aware that this is something that is much more your forte than mine. And so I wanted to share from the get go that I did do quite a bit of research on this episode and I actually came across a really cool website in interim where I got most of the content for this episode from, and that is brandmarketingblog.com. So, I actually really want to encourage all of you to check it out. Over and above explaining the concept of the psychology of branding to me, they also have a bunch of really interesting articles and content around marketing and branding, which I think will really be beneficial to everybody, including me. So definitely go check them out. That’s brandmarketingblog.com and I’ll have the link in the show notes as well.

But getting into today’s episode, when I was kind of thinking of what to talk about on the podcast in the upcoming episodes, I thought about the psychology of branding and kind of why we brand our businesses, and why it’s important to brand our businesses. And so, I started doing some research into it and it’s actually way more in depth than even I realized, as I said, so I thought it was… I found it really interesting and I’m excited to share it with you today. So first and foremost, again, if we just start with the definition of a brand. So, a brand is a set of associations that a person or group of people makes with a company, product, service, individual, or organization. So, if a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in people’s minds, then branding is an attempt to harness, generate, influence, and control these associations to help the business perform better. So, what is the power of branding? The power of branding is its ability to influence behavior. We brand companies so that they can build reputations. A brand with a good reputation elicits more engagement with clients. We give names, logos, taglines, and colors to organizations so that people can more easily assign reputations, attributes, and values in their mind. Subconsciously they paste the brand in their value system which guides their next actions. If they can act to get something they value and they see the brand is helpful, they will then tune to that company.

For example, if someone wants to replace their car, and they value sustainability, then they will see Tesla cars, ads, and showrooms everywhere and they’ll be filtering out all the options and brands that they don’t associate with sustainability, like Jeep, Ferrari, Ram, etc. If they value ruggedness or performance, they will see the landscape entirely differently. So, while absolute control over brand is not possible due to outside influences, intelligent use of design, advertising, marketing, service proposition, corporate culture, and so on can already help to generate associations in people’s minds that will benefit the organization. And this is something that I’ve mentioned before in my podcast, is that branding is a lot more than just the visual components of the logo, for example, or your print or marketing material. It’s your corporate culture, it’s the look and feel of your office, it needs to extend to all those areas to make an impact and to maintain that consistency. And what’s interesting is that although we are in control of a lot of our branding, what I mentioned there was that we don’t have absolute control, because of outside influences. And that’s becoming more and more apparent in contemporary society is that people have the ability now to review your brand online, for example. And that’s not always something that you can control. And I know I for one, when I’m engaging in online shopping, for example, we’ll read the reviews of a product before purchasing it. And if there are, you know, a significant number of negative reviews then that’s going to change my decision. And so that’s something that we almost need to incorporate into our branding strategy now. You know, from the get-go is, how are you going to respond to those negative reviews if they do pop up? And how are you going to, first and foremost, avoid any negative reviews showing up about your brand.

So, the power of branding comes from deep, subconscious parts of our brain that developed many millennia ago. Branding is just how these ancient, yet sophisticated neural systems work in today’s world. People are more willing to associate with and help organizations that have a reputation, and names and logos help people keep track of those reputations. In economic terms, the company’s brand is its influence on the demand curve. Branded products or services sell more at higher prices. This brand effect is interesting because companies should only be able to influence the supply curve. But we observed that companies with a strong brand moves the demand curve. For example, there is low demand for electric cars, but there is a high demand for Tesla’s electric cars. There is low demand for tablets, but there is a high demand for iPads; successfully branded products seem to break from the economics of their market and form their own market. So, a brand is something that can be invested in through brand marketing and generates a return like any business asset. The value of that investment is called brand equity. The further a brand pushes that demand curve, the higher the brand equity. Apple currently has the highest brand value in the world. And again, a lot of times, businesses just starting out won’t view branding as something that they need to invest in straightaway. They kind of view it as something that only bigger businesses need to worry about. But I love that concept of equating branding to an actual business asset and assigning value to that. And it’s so crazy when you use Apple as that analogy that a lot of people will say that their products are overpriced, unreasonably so, but yet, they’ve almost created their own demand for those products and they’ve created their own market through their incredible branding. And so, there’s something to be said for that, and there’s something to be said for incorporating brand equity as an asset from the beginning when setting up your private practice, or your business.

So, branding works because of the human tendency to subconsciously gather attributes and build reputations. These standings help you filter information and choose your next actions. Our ability of subconscious reputation gathering evolves because it was crucial to the survival of our ancient ancestors, remembering which berries were nutritious, or what animal was a predator, allowed our ancient ancestors to spot opportunities and avoid threats. Our actions, however, are also governed by our values. The value system is the lens or filter of motivations and beliefs you perceive the world through in order to act. Our culture and our religion affect what we value and in turn how we act. However, our personalities, social group, and past experiences also shape our values. Values can change based on your mood or physical state. When you are hungry, you see the world through the eyes of a hungry person, and you are more likely to see restaurants or ads for food. When you’re feeling jealous or insecure, you notice ads for makeup or luxury cars. And, to make this more relevant to private practice, when you’re depressed you are more likely to see ads for, obviously, products or services tailored to someone who’s depressed. So if you are a therapist whose ideal client is depressed and if you offer solutions to depression then you want to ensure that your ads are tailored to that person so that when they see them, they respond to them because it calls out to the pain or to their struggle. So, offering hope, but speaking directly to that person’s pain, and then offering hope, offering a solution, is what’s going to convert them to making an appointment with you, and ensuring that you align your values with their values. I thought that that was so powerful, and how our value system affects the brand that we notice. If that’s something that we keep in mind from the get-go when we come up with our brand strategy, that’s when we can really harness the power of branding.

So, what’s also important to note is that the average person sees between 400 and 5,000 brand messages a day. This is according to Omar Akhtar, an analyst at Prophet, which means that 90% of everything a brand communicates is bound to have zero impact. So as much as we’ve been speaking of the power of branding and how there’s definitely a psychology behind it, we also need to face the fact that, as consumers and clients, we are overwhelmed with branding messages. And so how are you going to ensure that yours stands out, and that again, yours speaks directly to the pain or the struggle of your ideal client, and kind of draws them in with how you’re going to provide a solution. So, again, what is the difference between the branded messages that get noticed and ignored? And ultimately, the difference is our individual value systems. If a brand offers something you value, you notice it’s messages. If a brand has proven its value or demonstrated its alignment with your personal values, then you notice its messages. So, it’s essentially twofold. It’s based on your own individual values. But then it’s also based on the value of the brand. And that comes with the credibility you gained with time, how you present your brand – is it in a professional manner? Do you have good online reviews? Things like that. For example, people who value an active lifestyle are far more likely to interact with Nike, Adidas, etc. People who have had continuous positive experiences with Apple don’t even see messages from other phone or computer manufacturers. And so, that’s obviously where brand loyalty comes into it. And again, thinking of that from the get-go; how can you ensure brand loyalty from the beginning?

So how do you break through and into a person’s value structure? So essentially, what we’ve communicated thus far is that the psychology behind branding has a lot to do with people’s values, and with aligning your service offering for your company, essentially, to that person’s values. So, it starts, first and foremost, with identifying the values of your ideal client. And then how can you communicate that you also maintain those values? So, first and foremost, you want to solve a problem for them, a previously unsolved problem. So again, going back to the example of depression, obviously, you as the qualified therapist have a solution for depression; you can solve that problem. But how are you going to communicate this to them, and get them to realize that you hold a solution? So second, you want to align your brand values with the values of that person, your ideal client, and this is where niching is important, and it’s something that we spoke about previously. But if you are marketing yourself as a general private practice that serves a number of issues, that branding is a lot less powerful than one that is tailored specifically to an individual. If I’m somebody who’s struggling with depression, and I come across an advert for a private practice that helps with a multitude of things, I’m less likely to be drawn to that private practice than I am to one which has an advert which is tailored specifically to depression, which even mentions some of the symptoms that I have been experiencing that very day. So, you really want to niche down and align your brand values with the values of the client that you are serving.

So, you want to place your brand at the intersection of two values. So, this is more… it’s actually connected with the second point and it’s something that you can try and test. So, this is then kind of advancing into the fact that people are never one dimensional, they always have multiple values that drive them. For example, everyone values humor, and some people value staying informed regarding the news. So, the Daily Show became the first late night show to break out in 30 years by injecting humor and news. So, if you find that your ideal client is a lot more complex than simply including one value, then you may want to incorporate more than one value in your branding. And I know this is something that is often discussed when it comes to a social media strategy, specifically with regards to Instagram, is they say that you should never base your content on more than two values, essentially. And what they say works on Instagram – this is just as a side note – is inspirational content, educational content, humorous content, or emotional content, and essentially those are all based on values. But you don’t want your feed to include all four of those, you want to focus and master two of them. So, for example, you want your feed to be inspirational and educational, or you want it to be educational and humorous. So, when you’re, I would say, initially focused on just aligning one of your values with a prominent value of your ideal client. But then as you kind of advance in your marketing strategy, obviously, including more and more values, and seeing how you can combine those in your branding.

And finally, you want to then frame your brand’s message into something that people value. So once you’ve solved the problem, you’ve niched down, you’ve identified the values of your ideal client, you’ve identified the values that you are going to communicate, that are going to align with your ideal client, you then want to figure out how you’re going to go about framing that message. And that’s pretty much the psychology of branding and how you can go about harnessing the power of branding.

And I just wanted to end with, I know a lot of times, as I mentioned a little bit earlier, when it comes to branding and small businesses in particular, you kind of don’t fully understand the significance of it. And obviously, when you’re starting out, you’re wrapped up in so many other different things that require your attention. But if you think of it this way, if your competitors use unoriginal fonts, and incoherent color theme, and design, a small business that chooses a unique route to branding will stand out more for all the right reasons. There is a tendency in smaller companies to allocate as little as possible to branding and this is often a mistake, since branding is one of the most powerful factors that can create a unique selling point. So again, really consider the time that you want to spend on branding and make sure that you are incorporating the psychology behind branding into your brand strategy, and that you’re really understanding how important it is for your business.

Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want to have a print file designed, head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign. Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests, are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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