How Manufacturers Drive Buy Choices

How brands make buying decisions

Brands are extremely important decision aids. If marketing science (derived from behavioral science) tells us that most advertising measures work through greater mental availability – which leads to largely unconscious associations with products and services – what does this mean for brands? Are brands just a collection of memories? And how do they affect the purchase decision?

When we think of the role that heuristics – mental abbreviations – play in our lives (they help us make complex decisions), the simplest explanation for the role of brands is as follows: They are heuristics that help us buy goods help services. And since heuristics consist of a collection of memories and associations, the role of marketing is to build these associations so that these products and services are cognitively easier to buy.

Consider this example: Buy in a foreign supermarket. If we are in a supermarket in our own country, the brands we see there will have a whole range of associations, many of which will be unconscious. When we see a brand that we recognize, these associations come to mind and when they meet our purchase criteria, we buy. The brand has acted as a mental shortcut to support our buying decision, i.e. H. As a heuristic, and allows us to make a satisfactory choice.

Memories and brands

At this point, you may be thinking about some of the most famous brands and thinking: are they more important than just a collection of memories? If you are responsible for your company's brand, you may be in an existential crisis and think that the age of the brand is over because it no longer has any meaningful relevance.

I asked this question to Richard Shotton, who replied: "If you believe that brands are mental abbreviations and the world is becoming more complex, brands become more and not less important."

This is because brands help us make choices based on our natural tendency towards loss aversion, security, and disaster avoidance so we can make good decisions. For this, customers are often willing to pay a premium, which makes brand building extremely profitable.

"When we make a decision in an uncertain world, we have to compromise between the average result and the degree of variance," says Rory Sutherland. “From an evolutionary perspective, we need both to be happy. It is not a good thing to find the perfect solution if, on average, it is fatal once in 100 years. I therefore say that people pay for brands. When people buy brands, they are not irrational. They mainly pay for low variance. "

Perceptions and business

He claims that changing the perception of a product or service through branding is far cheaper than changing reality: "You don't have to produce what people claim would make you feel like you just have to produce something that creates the same feeling. " The cheapest way to create a desired emotion is what a company should do.

It is not the cheapest way to produce a product, it is the cheapest way to produce the emotions that the product creates. You could say the advertising industry is a way of saying, "Don't tinker with reality because it's expensive." If you change the context in which people perceive the real thing, the stimulus will be different, the emotions will be different, and the behavior will be different … what actually affects our behavior is not an objective reality. "

The supermarket brand Aldi knows this well. Their (much cheaper) own brands (see picture above) emulate the logos, colors and semiotics of well-known, established brands in order to make our decisions in business as cognitively simple as possible. If it looks like a pack of Walkers chips, it must taste that way, right?

In other words, brands help us make enough system-based buying decisions. That is why the foreign supermarket is such a difficult problem.

Contribution to Branding Strategy Insider by: Richard Chataway, President of BVA Nudge Unit UK, and excerpt from his book The Behavior Business, published by Harriman House.

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