How to create a cool brand

A cool brand is an opportunity for consumers to show their own status. The status issue has been raised by me repeatedly. Its main goal is to increase the chances of reproducing offspring with a partner that is as high as possible in the hierarchy.

There is even such a term as “demonstrative consumption”, describing the men’s unconscious desire to stand out in front of the opposite sex through expensive (or seeming to be such) demonstrative purchases. From the evolutionary psychology point of view, an expensive purchase and a cool brand serve as a signal for the female that the male will be able to maintain offspring, increasing the likelihood of its successful survival.

As I’ve already written, that feature had been tested experimentally. The studies have shown that women unconsciously assessed differently the attractiveness of the same man driving a budget and an expensive car.

Of course, the most successful examples in marketing use this and similar features of our brain. The Supreme brand success, built on limitedness, is one of the most famous examples. Creating a high demand and low supply, the Supreme brand has become to some extent a cult one (at least for certain social groups).

However, the task of the brand pretending to succeed is not merely to become a status one, but powerful as well. Powerfulness is related to one’s status, but it can quite be not related to price.

You may be standing in front of two similar pairs of sneakers of the same price. One pair will be Nike, the other—adidas. Which one will you choose?

Nike sneakers vs adidas sneakers

Now, let’s replace sneakers with football cleats. Which pair will you choose now?

adidas cleats vs Nike cleats

In the first case, I would choose Nike. While in the second case, I would opt for adidas. This is my own perception of the Nike and adidas brands; the way their positioning has imprinted itself in my brain.

Football has been playing an important role in my development, so in the case of football cleats, it’s adidas which seems to me a more suitable option. But outside the football field, I stop regarding adidas. As for Nike, it has been for decades extensively creating in relation to itself a certain priming in my brain. And they’ve managed to do it. Simply put, Nike is a cool brand for me, while adidas is not.

If you’ve been reading me for a long time, you know why it works this way. By permanent unconscious repetitions we create specific somatic (emotional) markers in the brain, which will subsequently unconsciously influence one’s decisions (like with choosing sneakers). It’s the mechanism of creating conditioned reflexes in action.

But Nike needed to create not just somatic markers, but the ones with the right emotions. Thus, we’ve approached the VAD (Valence-Arousal-Dominance) model.

As I’ve already written, the study by Jacopo Staiano and Marco Guerini, based on that model, has demonstrated that the content that obtained the greatest virality was the one that evoked a feeling of high dominance. Such feelings include inspiration and admiration.

VAD model

By linking emotions from the top right of the chart to your brand, in the long run you will achieve the most optimal option. The main thing is to develop a common strategy and to successfully implement it afterwards. We are always here to help with this one 😉

People are too different, but emotions are an opportunity to unite diametrically opposed groups of people. After all, it is with the help of emotions that the brain operates even in seemingly rather complicated situations requiring logical intervention.

Emotions are a phenomenon behind our particularly developed sociality. Sociality in its turn is considered the main distinguishing feature of our species, which contributes to all the successes of Homo sapiens.

Behind the rapid civilization’s development is developed empathy. Without it, our species would hardly have reached even the invention of writing, not to mention your reading about the emotions that determine the brand development success.

Why have the stories in marketing become so popular? Because with a story’s help you switch on empathy, and mirror neurons are activated. And now, your message bypasses the person’s conscious mind which can block it. Your message goes directly to unconscious mind.

Of course, there are different strategies for an unknown brand and a well-known brand. For large consumer brands, market leaders, long-established companies, a strategy with simple constant repetition may well be applicable. It is that very advertising, the sense of existence of which ordinary viewers can’t understand: “Isn’t it possible to make something more interesting?”

The goal of this kind of advertising is to switch off by its boringness your conscious mind, bringing the brand name directly to unconscious mind. These were the same mechanisms, the studying of which brought fame to Ivan Pavlov. Constant unconscious mind leads to formation of conditioned reflexes.

When we come to a supermarket and choose, for example, a detergent powder, trust in the brand is what matters for us. With each repetition of a specific brand for our unconscious mind, the credibility of this brand is increased which ultimately affects our final choice.

Similarly, you can’t create a cool brand without repetitions and formation of conditioned reflexes. However, what is suitable for Tide, is not suitable for Nike because of different target audiences and different goods.

But if they did not repeat to us on a regular basis that Nike sneakers were cool, if they were not worn by well-known personalities, if they were not admired, then, the Nike sneakers would not be so cool. Maybe, another brand would be in their place, or maybe, sneakers would not be popular at all.

Of course, if you plan to compete with multi-year market leaders, you will need serious financial injections and years of hard work. However, by slightly changing the business model, focusing at the first stage on a slightly different target audience, you can succeed.

The quality work done on branding, creating the right priming, using the right emotions—that is the cool brand, as well as the foundation for further success.

If you want to receive a detailed consultation, develop a personalized strategy, and get help with its application, write to an Email We respond within 24 hours.


Best regards,

Leon The Alien


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SEE ALSO: Typefaces in neurodesign


Images: Hermes Rivera, Nike, adidas