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How brands make us buy

How brands make us buy
Earlier in the course, we heard that brands make us want to buy. And what I’m going to do now is talk a little bit about why people want to buy particular brands. If brands really want to understand consumer behaviour, they’ve got to understand the motivations behind that behaviour. Consumers satisfy their needs through buying brands, and brands can help us in many ways. At a basic level, they satisfy our functional needs. For example, we buy petrol to get a car to take us from A to B. We buy a drink to satisfy our thirst. And in doing so, brands can compete successfully. But to be really successful, they need to satisfy our higher-order needs.
These are typically called our psychosocial needs– things like love, belonging, affiliation, maybe even achievement. And let’s look at some examples of brands that satisfy those psychosocial needs. If we take Nike, that famously is associated with winners. Its strapline is “Just Do It.” It’s all about achievement. T-Mobile, their brand is all about belonging and all about affiliation, connecting people. And their strapline is “Life is for Sharing.” So we can see that brands push themselves to satisfy those psychosocial needs. And brands that do that successfully, they’re the ones who are going to win our custom. Let’s take another example, something like these ties. If we look at these ties, there are four ties here.
And in looking at them, you might say, they’re all made of silk. And you’d be right. We can look at these four ties and say, well, they might have been bought from a high street retailer, and they might have cost about 10 pounds each. You’d be partly right. Two of them were bought from a high street retailer and cost 10 pounds. But two of them were bought from Liberty, and they cost about 100 pounds each. The question then becomes, why would anyone want to buy a tie like that? And the answer, of course, is that putting it on in the morning, you get a great sense of achievement, of confidence, of success.
You know that you have succeeded in life to the extent that you can afford to buy a really expensive tie at Liberty. No one else knows that it’s a Liberty tie, because they can’t see the label. But you do, and that’s what’s important.
So as we’ve seen, consumer behaviour is a very complex issue. And for brands to succeed, they really need to have a deep understanding of what makes us as consumers behave the way we do and what makes us as consumers satisfy our needs.

Meet UEA brand lecturer Peter Schmidt-Hansen, who’s talking here about the psychological processes through which brands make us buy things.

As you watch, think about the three most recent things you’ve bought. Why did you buy them? What needs did they meet? Analyse the sequence of thoughts and emotions (or even just habitual responses) that went through your mind.

Have the slideshows already started to make you more aware of the choices that you make about brands, and what they say about your own basic and psychosocial needs? Think about someone you know who enjoys a brand. Are their needs the same as yours?

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The Secret Power of Brands

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