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Business Review - Symbolic Sway

BRAND LOGOS DOMINATE OUR LANDSCAPE, YET THE EFFECTS ON CONSUMERS REMAIN LARGELY UNEXPLORED. ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ASHLEY OTTO, UNCOVERS AN UNEXPECTED LINK BETWEEN BRAND EXPOSURE AND DECISION-MAKING, ILLUMINATING THE COVERT SWAY OF THESE CRAFTED SYMBOLS.

“There's this underground movement that says that when we're exposed to brands, it's not this positive thing. That's what we wanted to study from a consumer perspective is what happens when consumers are exposed to brands and what are the consequences of that brand exposure."

OTTO’S RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT BEING EXPOSED TO MULTIPLE BRAND LOGOS WHEN SHOPPING CAN ACT AS A DECISION CATALYST, FINE-TUNING THE PROCESS AND REDUCING DECISION-MAKING HESITANCY.

The main finding that when consumers are exposed to brands, it makes decision making easier because it prompts a cognitive readiness…kind of like stretching before a run. So if you're going to go searching for a pen, it's going to be easier to pick which pen you want to buy when you're in a space where there's brands around you like a grocery store versus if you went to a stockroom and or a warehouse. And it doesn't need to be brands that are actually related to the product.

FOR BUSINESSES, THIS INSIGHT EMPHASIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF PRIMING CUSTOMERS FOR A MORE SATISFYING SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, CONTRIBUTING TO OVERALL BUSINESS SUCCESS.

So if your consumer is shopping in a particularly modern space where there's not a lot of brand logos, they're going to be more likely to go with an expert recommendation. So you might train your salespeople differently to be more likely to make a recommendation.

THE BUSINESS REVIEW IS A PRODUCTION OF LIVINGSTON AND MCKAY AND THE HANKAMER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

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C.J. Jackson drives on sunshine and thrives on family, NPR and PBS. She is the assistant dean of communications and marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business and host of public radio’s “Business Review.” Previously, she was director of marketing communications for a large, multinational corporation. C.J. has two daughters—Bri in San Antonio and Devon in Chicago—and four grandchildren. She lives with a little yellow cat named for an ancient Hawaiian tripping weapon.