100 Things You Should Know About People: #24 — You Are Most Affected By Brands and Logos When You Are Sad Or Scared

Here’s Scenario 1: You get together with your friends to watch your home team play a game on TV. They win! After an afternoon of fun and friendship you stop at a grocery store on your way home. You are in a good mood. Are you more or less likely to buy the usual cereal you always buy or will you try something new?

Here’s Scenario 2: It’s Friday afternoon and your boss calls you in to tell you that he’s not happy with your latest project report. This is the project that you repeatedly told him was in trouble and you asked that more staff be assigned. You feel all your warnings were ignored. Now he’s telling you that this work will reflect badly on you and you may even lose your job. On the way home you stop at the grocery store. You are sad and scared. Are you more or less likely to buy the usual cereal you always buy, or will you try something new?

You Want What’s Familiar — A series of research studies by Marieke de Vries of Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, shows that when people are sad or scared, they want what is familiar. When people are in a happy mood they are not as sensitive to what is familiar, and are willing to try something new and different.

Related to Fear of Loss — This craving of the familiar, and a preference for familiar brand is probably tied to our basic fear of loss. In my book, Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? I have a chapter on the fear of loss. When we are sad or scared, our old brain and our mid (emotional) brain are on alert. We have to protect ourselves. And a quick way to be safe is to go with what you know; what you are familiar with. A strong brand is familiar. A strong logo is familiar. So when we are sad or scared we will reach for a brand and logo we know.

It’s Easy to Change Someone’s Mood — It turns out it is remarkably easy to affect someone’s mood, especially in the short term (like long enough for them to make a purchase at a web site). In Marieke de Vries’s research they showed video clips of the Muppets (to instigate a good mood) vs. the movie Schindler’s list (to instigate a bad mood). People reported their mood as significantly elevated after the Muppets and significantly lowered after Schindler’s list. This mood change then affected their actions in the rest of the research study.

Take-Aways — If you are giving messages of fear, loss, problems etc, that will result in more action taken if your brand is familiar. If you are giving messages of fun, lightness, and humor, that will result in more action taken if your brand is new.

Have you found this to be true in your experience?

——————————————————————–

Did you find this post interesting? If you did, please consider doing one or more of the following:

add your comment
subscribe to the blog via RSS or email
sign up for the Brain Lady newsletter
share this post

Experimenting With Motivation At Blogs
100 Things You Should Know About People: #23 -- You Are Hard-Wired For Imitation and Empathy

6 Replies to “100 Things You Should Know About People: #24 — You Are Most Affected By Brands and Logos When You Are Sad Or Scared”

  1. Hi Susan yet another great post.
    Although I would appreciate your assistance in pitching to my Marketing Director that we need to replace the costly model shots with that of Muppets =)

    Seriously though, a fantastic read and highly recommended.

  2. The one sentence alone, which you have labeled as “Take-aways”, says almost everything one needs to know about the way the world is, where it’s going, and why. Fear in the public serves vested interests, happiness in the public serves growth and upheaval. Strait up, as we used to say. An entire series of books could be written extrapolating just that one sentence. Excellent job.

  3. I am in love with your series of post. I am at #24, have loved reading them all. Thanks for such a beautiful insight and analysis about people(users) and their behaviours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *