Here are a few quick considerations for the next time you plan to refresh your brand.
1. Our Brains Prefer Visuals Over Words. It’s generally true that visuals are processed more fluently than words. This leads to quicker and less effortful processing. Less work means more positive associations. It’s also been shown that simpler visuals are processed more easily and positively than complex visuals. Hence, simplifying brand identity or executions of your brand in terms of ads and packaging, should make life for your consumer easier.
2. Our Brains Enjoy Solving Simple Puzzles. Our brain likes to solve “simple puzzles” and fill in gaps. Research on problem solving shows that consumers get emotional rewards in the form of a dopamine boost when they solve problems. Activation of positive affect related brain areas in the prefrontal cortex have also been observed when consumers solve simple problems. Logos that leave a consumer filling in a few simple gaps may lead to mental rewards that feel good at a non-conscious level.
3. Our Brains Are Attracted To Novelty. Our prehistoric brains are attracted to novelty. If you go back 200,000 years ago, we needed to find fresh food, water, and shelter, so our brains are wired to be attracted to new things. The trick to novelty is not to make it so unfamiliar that it triggers fear, but new enough that it sparks excitement and interest. This is the tension that brand builders face in building a distinctive brand that evolves enough to stay relevant to consumers but is familiar enough that it doesn’t require excess processing efforts.
4. Our Brains Use Context To Make Sense Of The World. Context drives perception. Anytime marketers change their brand, the biggest concern is that the new executions of the brand won’t trigger the brand automatically. To support this transition, marketers should take advantage of the fact that the brain always processes information relative to context and past experiences. Identifying other distinctive brand assets and the common contexts within which consumers expect to see the brand will help the activation of the brand.
Footnote: Research from the Branding Strategy Insider, FEBRUARY 7TH, 2019