A New Brand Paradigm: Brands as Stereotypes
- June 26, 2012
When people hear the word “stereotype” they think of something bad, and this makes sense given that this word is usually used in the context of social groups. While the content of social stereotypes can be unfortunate, the underlying cognitive processes are important. Our brains are categorizing and stereotyping machines, using mental shortcuts to organize, predict, and react. This process is what told our ancestors that each saber-tooth tiger is as dangerous as the others or that specific berry is as poisonous as others like it. These categories and their characteristics are represented in our heads. Stereotypes can also shape reality – serving as a prism on what we see and experience.
Brands are also stereotypes in the same way. Brands are representations in our heads of products or companies that influence what we see or experience and how we evaluate individual offerings.
So what does this mean? It means we can leverage 70+ years of stereotyping research by social scientists for brands.
If we know how stereotypes impact perceptions of others…
Then we can help brands shape perceptions of products.
If we know how stereotypes impact decisions – consciously and not…
Then we can help brands drive purchase – consciously and not.
If we know how stereotypes impact identity and esteem…
Then we can help brands become one with consumers.
And if we know what reinforces and what changes stereotypes…
Then we can help reinforce or change a brand in consumers’ minds.
Of course, this has major impact on marketing and marketing research. The Director of LRW’s Pragmatic Brain Science Institute, Jeremy Sack, will be discussing this very topic at this year’s LRW Client Symposium. Invited guests, be sure to register so you do not miss out and be sure to come back to this blog for a follow up post about the potential applications of Jeremy’s work.