Logo Power Rules

Retail therapy is a valuable way of cheering many of us up. It may or may not be an expensive acquisition, and it may not have to be new, but we do like it to be of a well-known brand. Indeed, some people are more obsessed with acquiring the right brand than the particular object.

Clearly, if this is a piece of artwork by a famous artist this makes sense, but if it is your shoes or phone, it is not quite so easy to understand. Of course, the enthusiasts for that brand will eulogize endlessly over many glasses of wine or beer on the merits of that manufacturer’s product.

Now it seems that our love for a brand can lead us to make decisions that are completely unrelated. Murawski et al have shown how our decision-making is affected by looking at a brand’s logo just prior to making an unrelated investment decision (1).  The team formed a scary alliance between psychologists, neuroscientists and management/marketing people to tempt 18 young students with offers of cash.

Of course the big magnet was in play for fMRI studies and the human lab-rats were flashed either a picture of a teacup (it was in Australia, so it wouldn’t have been a coffee cup) or Apple Inc’s logo. They then had to make a choice between getting $20 immediately, or a larger sum at a later date. The larger sums could be quite large, but the wait for those could be up to 3 months.

Well, nobody was very keen on jam tomorrow when tomorrow was many weeks away. I guess at 22-years old your pecuniary needs are rather immediate. The big result though, was that after seeing Apple’s logo, even short waits were too long and they favored immediate gratification.

Clearly, the Apple logo is very powerful as seen by the queues in Oz for the new iPad with 4G even when the network is not fully developed there. But it is indeed interesting to see that the must have, can’t wait emotion is generated for some deal that has nothing to do with electronics, let alone an Apple product. The prefrontal cortices of the lab-rats were lighting up in a wild display of decision making.

Will we see our marketing gurus fitting out personnel in stores with branded items to ensure that customers will buy more potatoes because the store staff are wearing fancy Nike-logoed shoes and shirts and using iPads? It seems that logo power rules indeed.

  1. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0034155

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