As you build your brand, never lose sight of these Brand Persuasion Principles. They are critical to building a persuasive system for the new economy:
Brand Affinity. (Apple) People do business with people and companies they like. We’re more likely to invest in someone with whom we empathize and feel affinity. We choose brands that seem most like us, brands whose personalities align with our own, brands whose image aligns with our own self-image. Personality is your most important ally in your battle to build affinity.
Brand Leadership. (BMW) People tend to rely on the brand they perceive to be the leading brand, the authoritative brand. They assume that the leading brand must be doing something right, after all, and that there’s a reason why it’s the leader.
Brand Consistency. (Bayer Aspirin) We value consistency in other people, and in the products and services we buy. The surest way to kill a brand is to launch it, build affinity for it in the marketplace, then change it. (You’ve heard the old adage about the dangers of changing horse’s mid-stream.) Don’t offer features and benefits then eliminate them. Or make brand statements then contradict them.
Brand Consensus. (Epinions.com or Consumer Report) In any social situation, people tend to observe what other people do to decide how to act. Often consensus is built on tiny, seemingly unimportant aspects of a product, eventually leading to the tipping point. Never has Brand Consensus been more persuasive than it is in the new internet economy. Product reviews and recall announcements, for example, can ripple across the blogosphere in nanoseconds.
Brand Reciprocity. (Salvation Army) People feel obligated to return a favor. Someone makes a concession, hoping for, in return, a concession by the other party. It’s the age-old concept of “tit for tat” or “stick and carrot,” and it’s the heart and soul of negotiation. And make no mistake, every purchase decision is a negotiation, even if only in the mind of the prospect. Giving a customer something free of charge is one good way to inspire reciprocity. There’s one catch, though: the customer must perceive the item to have value.
Now, there’s a sixth persuasion principle that can be powerful in certain market niches (e.g., the prestige market): Scarcity. (Aston Martin) This is the old First Come, First Served retail trick of creating the perception of “limited quantity.” People value what they believe to be scarce or rare.