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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Burda

How Big Brands are Conditioning You and Why Your Small Business Should Follow Suit!

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Did you know that big brands use a simple tactic to make you feel positively toward their brand and help you remember them in a positive light? Simply using your feelings, sounds, sights, smells and more you can be conditioned to think of them! There's a trick to it and you can try this in your own marketing.

It's called classical conditioning.

Ever heard of Pavlov’s Dog?

Pavlov was a physiologist who was studying learned association in dogs.

He knew if he placed food in front of the dog, the dog would begin to salivate.

But what would happen if every time he brought the food, he rang a bell first?

Learned association. He soon found out that the dogs were associating the sound of the bell with food. The dogs then began drooling simply at the sound of the bell, even if no food was in sight!

This is classical conditioning, and your favorite brands do it to you all the time.

Now most aren’t trying to make you drool. Some are! But not all. They are simply trying to give you a positive view of their products through association.

So How Do They Do It?

They use imagery, sounds, and more to evoke positive feelings toward their brand. Beauty products do it to evoke feelings of beauty and youth. (Although I feel we need to be embracing age and wrinkles and gray hair as they are also very beautiful in and of themselves but that’s a whole different topic! ;) )

Other industries like beverage companies do it to evoke feelings of hydration, cooling, and thirst quenching. How many beverage ads have you seen showing a hot summer day with an icy fizzy beverage? Or athletes dripping in sweat while playing the game, then reaching for a nice cold drink to rehydrate? You can feel that can’t you?

Many service-based businesses try to evoke the feeling of convenience, safety, security, stress relief, freedom, and more.

When clients experience a positive feeling with your brand, they are more likely to return for more. See more here on how to create a trustworthy brand.

They Also Often Pair it with Operant Conditioning.

Operant conditioning is used in conjunction with classical conditioning. Operant conditioning is the reward you receive from doing something. Whether that’s a positive feeling, or a physical reward like a coupon or free gift, this reinforcement is an important element of conditioning because behavior that is reinforced strengthens that bond between a stimulus and a response.

With my clients, for example, I want them to feel freedom and excitement. Freedom from the stress and burden they feel having to do it all on their own. With outsourcing their marketing efforts to one professional, they now feel the excitement of getting to spend time on what they really love and the excitement of growing their small business.

If you are struggling with an effective marketing strategy and plan, reach out today. With an effective plan and outsourcing the implementation of it, we can get your clients feeling something!


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