What makes us like a brand? Or purchase one product over another? What makes us want to share something online? And make it go viral?

These are all questions that consumer psychologists can help us answer. Enterprises cultivate an understanding of what makes people consume a brand to make theirs stand out from the crowd. So it makes sense then that this transcends traditional marketing and also applies to digital marketing.

We’ve decided to delve into some basics of the psychology underlying brands and consumption to understand what truly appeals to us in digital marketing campaigns.


Awareness and familiarity

One of the holy grails of marketing is getting us to recognize a brand. This is because humans tend to prefer the familiar. What we know makes us feel good, which is why enterprises are all about exposing their stuff. This is also why we tend to buy the real deal Coca Cola over one of the many cola brand alternatives on the shelves.

In a crowded market, how do marketers get their product, service, or page stand out? Perception, cognition, and social psychology are drawn on to achieve this. Logos are one of the best ways to do this in both traditional and digital marketing…

A simple appealing symbol that etches into our minds and carries the brand’s visual identity. It’s genius. Interestingly, if we’re seeing them all the time however, they may fade into the background, so the enterprise needs to do some kind of refresher to catch our attention again.

Psychological needs

Heard of old mate Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’? In a nutshell, it suggests we have a pecking order of needs and as we satisfy the more basic like food and shelter, our focus shifts to higher, emotional needs like intimacy, creativity and so forth.

The idea is that brands help us satisfy these psychological needs. A great example is that of self identity. We tend to prefer brands that align with our personality. If we’re looking for sophistication some of us may find an appeal in Mercedes.

Belonging and social proof

There are countless psycho social factors that brands will use to get in our good books. Another is how humans all have the need to feel part of a group or community. One way to feel this is by consuming the same brands. For instance, by purchasing the shoe and engaging with the promo, we become a part of the Nike brand community.

This ties in with ‘social proof’ where we inherently assume that the behaviors of others is the right thing to do. This is why digital marketing agency Sydney may use images of people having a great time with the product or service. We perceive it as the correct thing to do, and assume it must be good if others are doing it.

Emotional arousal

Getting someone to ‘feel it’ is essential in making them want to share something. Emotions, whether that be joy, fear, and so forth, increase arousal, which in turn increase sharing.

Emotions are drawn upon in establishing the associations you have with a brand. For example a sense of being worry free as with Nike’s “Just do it” catch phrase, complete with a tick that makes you think ‘accomplishment’.

There are five main triggers for emotional responses that marketers can play into to trigger the sharing of their content…

  1. Facial features – they are contagious. Seeing a facial expression like joy on another, kinda makes us feel it too.
  2. Intrigue – find something that creates a bit of mystery that makes viewers want to know more. Preview, but don’t give away the full story.
  3. Care – use something that the people truly care about. Examples include time, money, recent news, the environment, and other social issues.
  4. Memories – memory is an incredibly powerful avenue for emotions. Hearing a song from the past or familiar smell can evoke nostalgia, happiness, and more. Being close to the heart, it fosters a strong emotional response, and can be even more effective if its a memory shared with others.

The world of psychology is fascinating and has much to offer in developing successful digital marketing campaign.


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