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Why Human Behavior Matters in Branding

Trust spelled out on dice

At the root of it all, branding is about storytelling. It's about constructing a narrative that speaks directly to the motivations, needs, and values of your audience. But to tell a story that resonates, you need to have an intimate understanding of the main character —the consumer. Truly understanding them can help you build a roadmap to their heart and mind, guiding your messaging to not only be heard, but felt. 

And that’s really the key to it all. Emotion. Brands who acknowledge the importance of connecting with consumers in an emotional way are the ones who will thrive and build true customer loyalty and a positive brand perception.  

Looking for an example of a brand who has done this well? Think Dove. 

Dove has been a pioneer in diving into the truths of what it means to be a woman. By challenging the conventional beauty standards and focusing on the natural, diverse beauty of all women, their “Real Beauty” campaign taps into the powerful human emotions of acceptance and self-love. When it launched, this approach not only differentiated Dove in a crowded market but also sparked a global conversation about beauty standards, showcasing the profound impact a brand can have when it resonates on a human level. Oh, and did we mention they saw a 10% bump in revenue in just one year? 

If you are wondering how you can apply this to your own brand, here are some places to start:

  1. Have a clear understanding of who your audience is. What drives them? What keeps them up at night? If you’re an existing brand, a great way to do this is to look at who already buys your product or service. What can you learn about them? To connect with them on an emotional level you need to figure out more than just their age and where they live, you need to dig into the psychographics. If you’re a new company (and even if you are an established company looking to grow), do some research on who you want your target to be and then determine how your product or service can make a difference in their lives.

  2. Tell a story that means something to them. After you’ve done the work to really figure out who your audience is on a deeper level, speak to them in a way they understand. Brand building is all about telling stories in ways that are truthful and relevant to your audience and your brand. Here’s that authenticity buzzword again, but the reality is that if you are not authentic to them or yourself, your audience will see right through it, and potential superfans could become your biggest naysayers. Be sure that your brand matters to your audience by telling stories that are relevant to their cultures, experiences, and in a way that is relatable to them.

  3. Use your brand development or rebrand process to your emotional advantage. Once you have determined the type of emotion you hope to elicit in your audience, lean into that when selecting your brand colors, imagery, fonts and patterns. The way your brand looks visually tells a huge part of your story and it gives an immediate first impression of who you want your brand to be. For example, if you want to be a place that inspires relaxation and offers a calming experience away from the chaos of the real world, don’t choose punchy, loud colors or vibrant images that contain intense, bold patterns or graphics. Similarly, the brand voice is extremely important in showcasing your intended position in the market and how you hope that consumers will relate to you. Ensure the language you use is reflective of the overall tone and vibe you are trying to put out there.

  4. Don’t “love’ em and leave' em”. Building a brand is thrilling and also takes a good deal of time and investment. Don’t spend the time and money to figure your audience out and then never learn from or engage with them again. People evolve, audiences change, heck the world changes. Things that may have been relevant when you first started will certainly not resonate forever. It’s important to continue to engage with your audience, make them feel taken care of and listened to. There’s that insane data point that the cost of obtaining a new customer is 5 times what it costs to maintain an existing one. Everyone is looking for meaning and validation in this world, make sure your clients feel heard. No one likes being Ghosted.

If you don’t take away anything else from this post, remember this- emotions are more than just feelings, they drive human behavior. In the same way that your emotions impact how you react to and engage with people throughout your day, those same emotions impact consumer interactions with brands. Harnessing the power of emotions can help you truly connect with your audience in a deeper way, and create loyal clients for life. 


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