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The Power of Branding: How it Influences Your Customers

Brick with supreme written on it, placed on a brick wall

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Have you ever wondered why you willingly pay a premium for a Lego set over a generic building block kit, grab a Red Bull instead of a store-brand energy drink, or proudly sport those “ugly” Crocs despite countless other shoe options? Financial experts may call it irrational behaviour. But there’s something more at play here – the invisible force of branding. So what is the true power of branding?

In short, brands are more than just products. They weave intricate narratives, evoke emotions, and shape our self-perception. When we choose a brand, we’re not just buying an item, we’re choosing a piece of the identity we want to project. That’s why we defend them like family when criticized.

Dive deeper into the fascinating world of brand tribes and the stories they tell. Discover how these narratives become woven into our own, shaping our choices and influencing the way we see ourselves and the world around us.

Branding Builds Identity and Tribes

When we pick a brand, we’re choosing to create an identity. We choose to wear those jeans, shirts and shoes because someone is going to form an impression about who I am. Think about it this way:

  • Nike vs. Under Armour: Opting for Nike might scream “performance athlete,” while Under Armour whispers “gritty underdog.” It’s about aligning your brand choice with your personal story.
  • The Mom and the Minivan: As Alex Hormozi, a marketing guru, points out in his book, a mom choosing a minivan over a flashy sports car isn’t just practicality; it’s about upholding her image of a responsible caregiver.
  • Patagonia vs. North Face: Hiking gear becomes a statement of values. Patagonia’s eco-conscious message resonates with those passionate about sustainability, while North Face appeals to thrill-seekers and adventurers.
  • Glossier vs. MAC Cosmetics: Glossier’s minimalist packaging and effortless beauty aesthetic cater to the natural, “no-makeup makeup” look, while MAC’s bold colors and dramatic flair attract those who want to make a statement.

Marketing today is about creating tribes

The Brand Gap by Marty Neumeier

People want to be a part of these exclusive groups, and they’re willing to fork out hundreds maybe even thousands to show that we are a part of these exclusive tribes. This is where the irrational behaviour comes into play.

Supreme had people lining up to buy a clay brick!

I remember when a skateboarding apparel brand Supreme had people lining up to buy a clay brick! yes, you read that right, a clothing brand selling a brick engraved with the Supreme logo and it had people lining up to buy it.

It sold out within minutes and now people are selling it online from $200 to $1000, just check out the image below, it’s selling for $800 on eBay.

Supreme clay brick selling on ebay for $800
Supreme clay brick selling on eBay for $800

Creates An Emotional Bond

Brand loyalty isn’t just about liking a product – it’s about forging an emotional connection. When we deeply resonate with a brand’s values and story, it becomes an extension of ourselves. We defend it like family, feeling personally attacked when someone criticizes it, an attack on the brand is an attack on my identity.

Dominic Toretto with family written next to him using logo letters
Dominic Toretto with family written next to him using logo letters

Michael Platt, a professor of neuroscience, marketing, and psychology suggests that we develop relationships with brands similar to how we do with people. We might say “I love this brand,” but our brain activity reveals a deeper, more nuanced connection.

A brain scan study that Micheal and his team conducted, reveals iPhones spark empathy in users when shown good news, like good news about loved ones, while Samsung news barely registers – except when Apple stumbles.

Samsung love might be rooted in schadenfreude

Turns out, some Samsung love might be rooted in schadenfreude, the pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

The twist? These emotions stay hidden in brain scans, invisible even to the Samsung fans themselves. Spooky, right? Makes you wonder what else lurks beneath our brand choices. Time to get conscious, people!

Branding Power and Responsibility

This exploration into the world of brand loyalty raises important questions about the ethical, legal, and societal effects of influencing consumer behavior at such a high level. We must carefully consider the potential for manipulation and exploitation with branding.

Avoid Brand Manipulation

So, what can we do as consumers to navigate this brand manipulation landscape? The key lies in awareness. The next time you find yourself reaching for a product, pause and ask yourself:

  • Is this purchase driven by genuine need or by the brand’s carefully crafted image?
  • Am I aligning myself with values I truly hold, or am I succumbing to unconscious pressures?

By cultivating critical thinking and understanding the subtle influences that shape our choices, we can become more empowered consumers, making informed decisions that align with our values and aspirations.

Remember, the power to choose wisely ultimately lies with you.

The Power Of Branding In The Marketplace

A powerful brand is a company’s secret weapon. On top of adding immense value to a business, it can:

  • Conquer price wars: Think Apple. Their ever-climbing prices don’t faze loyal customers because they’re buying into the brand’s innovative spirit and sleek design.
  • Weather economic storms: Even during recessions, strong brands retain customer loyalty, often emerging stronger on the other side.
  • Boost profitability: Higher perceived value translates to higher margins, delighting shareholders and fueling further brand investment.

Marty Neumeier, who writes about brand, design, innovation and creativity, talks about the value of branding in his book The Brand Gap and states that Coke’s market cap is 120 Billion with brand value and 50 Billion without!

home alone scene of kid drinking coke from a can
scene of a kid drinking coke from a can

Coca-Cola is everywhere, Our minds are triggered to expect Coca‑Cola in America, but it’s easy to forget the brand is global. Can you guess what movie the scene above is from?

How Powerful Is Your Brand?

Alex Hormozi proposes a fascinating metric for brand strength: price elasticity. Can you significantly raise your prices without denting demand? If the answer is yes, you’ve got a brand magic potion brewing.

Imagine a plain white T-shirt. Slap a Louis Vuitton logo on it, and suddenly, it’s a luxury item. The difference between the baseline price and the premium price commanded by the brand logo is your true brand value.

2 white shirts with price tags 1 with a LV logo
2 white shirts with price tags 1 with an LV logo

Branding isn’t just marketing fluff; it’s a psychological powerhouse. It shapes our choices, defines our identities, and fosters fierce loyalty. Understanding this invisible force is crucial for businesses and consumers alike. For businesses, it’s the key to unlocking customer hearts and wallets. For consumers, it’s a lens to decode our own choices and the subtle influences that shape our buying decisions.

So, the next time you reach for a Lego brick, chug a Red Bull, or slip into those comfy Crocs, remember, you’re not just buying a product – you’re buying into a story, a tribe, and a piece of your own personal brand.

P.S. Branding is the best way to stand out of the crowded market. Reach out to see how I can help create yours

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