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branding why your customers jump to conclusions

We are all quick to judge, we all make assumptions and we are prone to making emotional decisions. With these traits in mind, how do customers understand and feel a brand when they first see it?

Your target customer is exposed to thousands of marketing messages a day. Branding is everywhere, in every corner, on every shelf, it’s in homes and on streets and on every device with a screen. What do customers make of new brands – do they even notice them?

the lightning speed of judgement

Let’s start with how customers – how everyone, sees a visual proposition and makes a judgement. The speed at which we can assimilate information and judge quality has even taken scientists by surprise. The truth is, we judge instantaneously. For example, researchers from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, discovered that we make judgements about the visual appeal of a website in the first 50 milliseconds of seeing an image of a website page, something none of the scientists expected. What’s more, the study revealed that when people were shown the website for longer periods afterwards, the viewer sticks by their original opinion, so first impressions really do last.

This might well be a social hangover from the need to judge friends or foes around us. We judge people in a similarly super-fast micro moment. For example, a research article (spoiler alert) aptly named Making up your Mind after 100-Ms Exposure to a Face found we make up our minds on character traits like attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness, competence and aggressiveness in 100 milliseconds and those opinions don’t really change much when time constraints are removed. To judge instantly, it turns out, is a fundamental part of being human. Your brand must stand up to the ‘instant appeal’ test if it’s to work.

only connect

The message itself. Any branding that is worth its salt – is a nugget of information that perfectly sums up the core message of the company’s offering. It can be distilled to a symbol, a word, a slogan or a combination of those elements and it has to encapsulate not only the company’s services or products but also why they are uniquely attractive. The Nike ‘tic’ symbol with ‘Just do it’ is a personal instruction to anyone wanted to ‘do’ fitness, or a statement of trust like ‘it does what is says on the tin’ means you expect Ronseal’s product is going to work. Know your target customer – who they are, what they want – and then presume they won’t buy from you unless you get an appeal to their needs just right.

colours matters

Your brand is your signpost, your beacon. That’s why choice of colour is not to be underestimated as a tool to attract customers. Think of any major brand and colour will be key to its strategy. In fact, brand recognition increases by 80% due to colour alone. Colour is argued to be the most influential part of the branding. Colour provides a good marker for our memory too, it triggers emotional reaction and creates a tag in our mind. Colours are rich with meaning and used effectively to represent different business sectors. Red is urgent and stimulating, so it’s a favourite for restaurant branding, whilst blue is reliable and strong, therefore it’s popular in the finance sector. Know your business sector’s most influencing colours and if you decide to veer from them, have a good reason.


In a world swamped with marketing messages you have to be direct to be a contender. An article in the Harvard Business Review looked over the responses from a 7,000 strong consumer survey and came to the conclusion that the only way to cut through the sea of messaging was – and this is not rocket science – to keep it simple. The biggest driver of so-called brand ‘stickiness’ as a concept, was decision simplicity. Consumers don’t want complex clever messages, they want to just ‘get it’ and ‘get it’ right away. Combine this with the fact that most people access the web by mobile now and you see how simplicity can work better on a small screen.

In a nutshell: keep the brand simple, make it exude quality and have an appropriate colour palette for your sector. If you nail these three essential elements, you’ll be closer to a brand that gets noticed for the right reasons.

Contact the friendly team at Find, if you want any help with your branding, marketing strategy or content.

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