- 🧠 Psychology Sundays: Colors, Branding, and A Story About Japanese Mackerel
🧠 Psychology Sundays: Colors, Branding, and A Story About Japanese Mackerel
Welcome back to the 21st edition of Brandish
Your guide to crafting an iconic brand
I hope you’re having an extraordinary weekend and ready to crush this week ahead.
In today’s newsletter, we’ll talk about some psychological hacks that brands use to make their customers buy from them.
So grab your Brez; let's dive straight into it.
How colors affect buying decisions
Well, I have always been a strong believer in using colors to stand out and ultimately increase conversions, but let's keep my subjective opinion aside for a moment.
There’s even research to back this.
When women received the box, their heart rate and blood pressure were measured. And guess what? Their heart rates went up by 20%.
The women never saw the logo, just the color - with its powerful associations with marriage, relationships, and love.
Color gets our buying juices going in other ways.
When Heinz rolled out its EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup in 2001, customers bought more than 10 million bottles of the stuff in its first seven months on the market - all because of a simple color change.
In a study of phone directory advertising, researchers found that colored ads hold customers’ attention for two seconds or more, whereas black-and-white images hold our interest for less than one second.
Just think about it, our attention spans are less than that of a goldfish, so if we can get their attention for even 2 extra seconds - it can dramatically change the trajectory of the business.
In the retail world, most products have only one-twentieth of a second to grab our attention before we move on.
This is what we’ve experienced as well with our Walmart roll-out. We spent months developing brand-new packaging that is retail-ready just to stand out from our competitors.
A study carried out by the Seoul International Color Expo found that color goes so far as to increase brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
When asked to approximate the importance of color when buying products, 84.7 percent of total respondents claimed that color amounted to more than half the criterion they consider when they’re choosing a brand.
Well, these studies clearly convey that color does play an important role in brand recognition.
The key takeaway here is to not be afraid to get out of the status quo of using vibrant colors wherever possible.
Branding is just beginning…
In the current landscape of DTC - as you know, just running FB ads and dropshipping a sh*** product doesn’t work.
To make a successful DTC business in 2024, you need to build a brand.
… what I feel is that we are just on the verge of “branded marketing”.
In the future, expect anything and everything to be “branded” - because our brains are hardwired to bestow upon brands a religious significance due to which we become “super fans” of the brand itself.
This concept however has existed much before than you even think…
Until the late 1980s, fishermen regarded Seki saba as a meal fit only for the poor.
It was plentiful and cheap, and it went bad overnight.
Until 1987, Seki saba yielded merely 1,000 yen apiece—around ten dollars—and its low rate of return left many fishermen with little to show for a day’s work but the mackerel itself.
However, something happened in 1988 that just shook the entire mackerel market in Japan.
Over the course that year, the retail price for Seki saba skyrocketed by approximately 600 percent.
So how did an unexceptional fish become one of the hottest things in Japan practically overnight?
It became a brand. Let me explain…
In 1998 the Japanese government awarded Seki saba an official certificate attesting to the fish’s superior taste and quality.
And you guessed it - this stamp was enough to drive that craziness amongst people to pay obscene prices for the same fish.
The point here is every one of us ascribes greater value to things we perceive - rationally or not - to be in some way special.
That’s why you will see brands in the supplement space go out of their way to get certifications like Clean Label Project, all-natural, etc
Don’t believe me?
Let's walk through this together…
Let’s say you’re turning forty today, and in honour of your birthday, I hand you a beautifully wrapped box. Undoing the paper, you remove a small gray rock.
Dull, average, ugly, the sort of rock you might see lying on the side of the road. “Thanks a lot,” you’re thinking.
But what if I tell you the rock you have in your hand is an authentic moon rock, a chunk of the roughly six ounces of the rock that Neil Armstrong and his fellow astronauts brought back home with them during their 1969 Apollo 11 mission?
What an exquisite present, you think. You’re shocked, genuinely overcome.
You’d probably store that in a vault for the rest of your life and make it into a showpiece.
The fact of the matter is that I found the rock by the side of the road, put it in my pocket, and threw it into a box.
But once I stamped it with certain properties—historical significance, geological rarity, whatever—it became so much more.
In other words, when we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they actually are.
That’s the lesson.
Thanks for reading along
Anyway, that’s all I had for this Sunday’s read.
Thanks for reading along.
I appreciate you and look forward to seeing you again on Sunday.
All the best