Good Branding is Mind Control

More than anything else, branding is a means of influencing the way people think.

Jeff Bezos is widely quoted as saying: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” But here’s the unfortunate truth: more often than not, nobody talks about you when you’re not in the room. People talk about themselves, mostly.

A better way to say it is your brand is how other people feel when they think about you. Substitute ‘you’ for your logo, your face, your product or any representative of your company.

How do you feel when you see a parking enforcement officer lurking near your car? Parking enforcers have a poor brand image. It’s very effective, but not in the way anyone would want.

How do you feel when you see the Amazon delivery man coming up the street? Probably a sense of low-level excitement caused by a tiny hit of dopamine, because he is bringing your stuff. Assuming he doesn’t throw it across the porch, he is the temporary custodian of an exceptional brand image – one that persists even when he’s not standing outside with a box.

Looked at this way, it’s easy to understand why the most successful brands (and their aesthetics and messaging) are rooted in behavioural psychology. Understanding how people think is the first step to getting them to think about you – and to think the right things about you.