Motivational Research in Action: the Brand-Consumer Relationship
Banner ads and pop up windows are so rampant in the Web these days that it seems Internet marketing has forgotten the depth and breadth its real life counterpart extends to. Its time to take an in-depth, in-focus look into serious marketing that gets serious results. Motivational research and neuro-marketing are not playing the roles reserved for them in Internet marketing. Its time to reiterate why they should. Lets dissect the strenuous and complex journey a brand takes to court its consumer base into a lengthy and lucrative relationship from Freudian means of grabbing attention to establishing brand loyalty.
Competition for Attention Wooing the Consumer
Sensual is effective in the competition for attention. In human relationships, sex consummates the union (or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen). In brand-consumer relationships, everything starts with sex.
Sigmund Freud was quite imaginative in finding the sexual undertones and psychological motivations behind everything. His imagination does marketing well. Marketing applications of Freudian theory arent impossibly complex: they’re all about symbolic sex. Freuds id, ego, and superego play invaluable roles in his sexual interpretation of the basic needs and desires that motivate human behavior. The id, base and instinctive, wants sex. The superego, eccentrically sensitive to societal norms, says ids sex drive is unacceptable. The ego, arbiter, makes the ids and superegos irreconcilable inklings meet halfway: symbolic sex. Freudian theory in marketing suggests that by substituting a symbol instead of the actual sexual act, products can better cater to the subliminal motivations of their consumers. Through symbolic sex, brands satisfy their consumers sexual urges while staying within morally sound boundaries.
While there are overtly sexual ads and obviously green-minded marketing efforts, Freudian theory extends to the more subtle uses of phallic symbols and other similar sensual nuances. But regardless of whether the latest lipstick ad purposefully uses the phallus shaped product to appeal to the id, its undeniable that the more evident sexual themes of most ads are effective.
In wooing the consumer, the relationship between brands and people starts with sex. Or at least sex is a good starting point as can be attested to not only by Freudian theory, but thousands of ads that use sexual allusions effectively.
Building the Relationship Post Sex Marketing
So after sex, whats next? After attention-grabbing sexual innuendos on poster ads and tube commercials have done their part, the actual marketing message is pitched. A sales pitch can be seamlessly integrated into the sexual allusion, or it could come after the initial head-turning curiosity aroused (pun intended) by Freudian marketing tactics. After the courting comes the confession.
Human relationships develop the same way. Physical attraction leads to pick up lines and the courting thereafter. But beyond the flirting, cutesy, superficial efforts to woo and impress, human relationships require significant strides in trust and reliability to flourish. The biggest brands appreciate this, and take it into account when they establish their brand image. Everything a consumer does is a pattern analogous to how he behaves in real life. Even his choice of packaging is influenced by what he perceives to be but not necessarily what factually is better. In the brand-consumer relationship, the analogous real life situation that consumers are most likely to unconsciously pattern their consumption behavior to is their own relationships with other people.
Of all the personality types brands endeavor to cloak themselves in sincere, exciting, sporty, sophisticated, accomplished consumers are most likely to choose the personality type (and the brand) that they would like in their ideal partner. It seems a lot of people want sincere and exciting partners, as brands with these personalities are the most successful.
Then there are maternal and paternal archetype analogies. Brands embody or depict maternal or paternal values and this subliminal perception affects consumer motivation and behavior. This relationship archetype still revolves around human relationships being analogous to brand-consumer relationships. This further supports how consumer behavior is unconsciously motivated by subconscious inklings.
A Continuous Relationship Brand Loyalty
After committing to stick to only one, the consumer is now head over heels into the brand- consumer relationship. But this relationship is less a partnership and more a one-way effort. The brand needs to constantly keep up the image the consumer fell in love with while always meeting the standards expected of it as the ideal partner.
Brand loyalty is a loftier goal than just attracting attention. Where at the beginning its all about sex, within the actual brand-consumer relationship its all about keeping up appearances and consistently matching expectations.
Romance to Loyalty Getting There Though Motivational Marketing
Marketing is no trivial matter. A lot of new entrepreneurs setting up home businesses run almost entirely via the Internet are fooled by how easily they established their ventures. Settling into a niche and executing target marketing and Search Engine Optimization is not enough to catapult small and medium businesses into higher leagues. And though a business may not rely on print advertising, Web design and how business websites impact consumers are still parts of the constant marketing campaign that is establishing a brand image.
There is much to learn from motivational marketing and the brand-consumer relationship concept. This is also and especially true in the struggle to convert targeted organic traffic into profit. So take what you can from established and effective psychological marketing methods, learn from it, and use it.