Brand Strategy Insights: 2 Ways Consumers Evaluate Your Brand

People are constantly judging and evaluating two things:

1) The world around them

2) Themselves

If you really think about it and consider the psychology of human evolution, one of the most fundamental human qualities that we have,  is that we judge and evaluate. Why is it such an important quality? Because it influences the decisions we make.

The way in which we evaluate situations, people, experiences, things, and everything else, plays a huge role in the way we make decisions. The way in which your consumer’s judge and evaluate your brand, leads to their purchasing decisions and other loyalty decisions to be in your favor or not in your favor. When consumers are shopping, consecutively watching ads, and actively searching for solutions to their problems, they are evaluating the different brands they see.

If those brands were able to understand exactly how their consumer makes judgements and evaluates, they would be able to more effectively reach out to their consumers. They would connect better with their audience through tactical positioning of the marketing message, brand story, etc. They would influence their audience more strategically.

Brand Marketing Psychology Insight:

There are 2 types of consumer’s that evaluate and judge in two different ways. In other words, these two different consumer’s use 2 different screening methods to decide if what they are doing, thinking, and saying is what’s right for them or not right for them.

The two types of consumers are:

1) The Internal Measure Consumer

2) The External Measure Consumer

The Internal Measure Consumer

Those who have an internal measure, have actions and decisions that are rooted in what they understand to be right or appropriate. They are unaffected by the influence of other people’s opinions.

They have a hard time learning from others and taking guidance because they have placed barriers in front of any feedback that could come their way.

At the end of the day, they learn best from themselves. They may receive information from other channels, but always decide for themselves. If someone else were to decide for them, they would find that incredibly annoying.

The External Measure Consumer

Those who have an external measure, have actions and decisions that are rooted in what they think other people think to be right or appropriate. They rely on other people’s opinions to make decisions.

They need other people to motivate them to take action.

They need others to give them direction.

They are actively looking for mentors and teachers. They find it difficult to make their own decisions.

They are consistently seeking feedback from those around them on what they are doing.

These are the people who genuinely appreciate it when their boss tells them that they have done a good job.

Side Note:

Most people don’t just strictly use one type of measure. Most people have both internal and external. Where they differ, is what measure they use first. For example, some people are primarily Internal Measure people and secondarily External Measure people – these are the individuals we are referring to as the Internal Measure Consumer.

Question for thought: 

What evaluation system do you use? Are you an Internal Measure Consumer or External Measure Consumer? It’s important to recognize which type you resonate with most because it will greatly help you in your brand marketing psychology strategy.

Brand Marketing Psychology Strategy:

So how well do you know your consumer? Do you know them well enough to know if they judge with an internal measure or an external one? And how can you leverage this information in your brand marketing psychology strategy?

Consumer research is extremely important for any brand to succeed. A big part of conducting consumer research is asking your consumer questions, surveying them by creating polls for instance. These lead to insights.

Recently, I ran an online marketing campaign for a client looking to sell their educational services online. After an online purchase, the consumer’s were asked to fill out a quick survey. One great question (which I will share with you) allowed me to identify that the majority of purchasers are External Measure Consumers.

What did that tell me? That they would probably respond positively to validation from others who have used the services before them.  Testimonials may be a key player. We already had a few testimonials, but why not more? Why not more in every step of the purchase process?

With that one insight, it took me two days to acquire almost twice as many positive testimonials from previous buyers. I then embedded more relevant testimonials in different strategic sell points of the marketing campaign and purchasing process. The result of that one tweak which took me probably an hour each day for 3 days? Almost a 30% increase in sales.

The Power of Surveys & Consumer Research:

The best brand marketers will understand consumer psychology concepts like this and create questions that are formed strategically to understand exactly how to connect with the consumer. For example, to figure out how your consumers or the majority of your consumers, primarily evaluate the world around them, your research would be to ask them something like:

How are you so sure that you have made the best selection when you chose our brand/our product/our service over another?

(This question is very general. Your question would be more targeted and specific, but the foundational framework would be the same)

The Internal Measure Consumer might tell you that they are capable of making their own decisions from their own analysis of the different brands. They will tell you that they just know on an internal level, that they are right in choosing the brand or the product that conveyed the most value. Their reasoning to choose your product, service, or brand will have sprouted internally.

The External Measure Consumer might tell you that others have told them or recommended your brand to them. They might tell you that they see everyone using your product so they decided that it must be good or it was at least worth a try. Or they might tell you that it was simply because the sales person told them to buy it, so they listened. Their reasoning to choose your brand, product, or service will have come from an outer source.

The best brand marketers realize that they can use this deep insight about their consumer’s behaviour to position themselves in a way, that will lead to the most success – perhaps by segmenting the two groups when employing their marketing strategy, for example.

Applying This Consumer Behaviour Insight

Here are examples on how you can reach out to each consumer. These are off the top of my head – but I would advise you to spend the time to be creative in applying this strategy.

If you are reaching out to the Internal Measure Consumer:

  • You can highlight, suggest, and stress the fact that the consumer knows on a deeper level whether or not your brand is the best choice.
  • You would hold back on providing testimonials and referrals because they wouldn’t care about them anyway.
  • You give them a feeling that it is up to them at the end of the day.

If you are reaching out to the External Measure Consumer:

  • You focus on getting testimonials and recommendations and directing them to it at every opportunity.
  • You make sure you brand does things that makes people want to recommend your brand (give away free stuff, etc.)
  • Invest your resources in getting a social media celebrity to talk about how great your product or service is.
  • The External Measure Consumer is constantly seeking proof, evidence, and confirmation from external sources. That is your opportunity to mention statistics and provide any data that boosts your marketing message.

The Fast Food Consumer – My Observations

I haven’t looked to deeply into this, but in my opinion fast-food consumers are primarily Internal Measure Consumers.

The decision to eat fast food is usually impulse-based. In the moment when a consumer impulsively desires the need to chow down a hamburger for example, with the knowing in today’s world that there are always healthier alternatives, they are making this decision based on a very internal, primal desire of the reptilian brain.

In other words, they want it for themselves regardless of what someone else says to them. In that moment, they have made their decision. Swaying them from not going to eat at a fast food restaurant, would probably really bother them, even if they agree.

I think the top fast-food restaurants have figured out that their consumer is primarily making the decision to eat their food through an internal measure system. For example, over the last 58 years, McDonald’s has changed its slogan once or twice EVERY 10 years. They couldn’t seem to stick to and find the best one.

You can check out their slogan timeline here.

Interestingly you will notice that since the very beginning of that timeline, the slogans have been ‘external measure’ focused to some degree. However, over the last 14 years (since early 2000’s) – more than any other year – the current McDonald’s slogan has stayed generally the same.

If you look at the slogan transition from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s, you notice a very interesting change…

Late 90’s slogan: “Did Somebody Say McDonald’s?”

More focused on an “external” system of measure.

Early 2000’s slogan: “We Love to See You Smile”… (a little more focused on the consumer’s internal satisfaction)… and promptly after it changed to:

“I’m lovin’ it.”  – completely focused on the consumer’s “internal” system of measure.

What’s even more interesting is McDonald’s biggest competitor’s slogan:

Burger King: “Have it your way.” (Internally focused)

Burger King in fact, tried different slogans throughout the 90’s as well, but in the early 2000’s, came back to this same one. Why? Probably because they realized something about it works… And it hasn’t changed since.

Take a look at this list of top famous fast food restaurant slogans.  The majority of them, on some level, strike the internal knowing of their consumer to want their food.

Again, these are just my observations about the fast-food consumer. I would enjoy knowing your thoughts.  Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn!

Sam Pardhan

Hi, I'm Sam. I enjoy growing brands and businesses through sophisticated marketing methods. Over the years, I have contributed to the profitable growth of my own and many of my client's companies through the exact principles I write about on Brand Marketing Psychology. It is my hope that these marketing insights will also serve you in catapulting your business and marketing success to new heights.

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