Marketing Persuasion Strategy: The Deep Psychology of Consumer Persuasion

Most people are convinced that marketing and selling is all about persuasion. It’s unfortunate however, the fact that ‘persuasion’ has such a negative stigma attached to it. We all want to avoid being persuaded. We run from sales people. Consumers run from advertisements. We change the channel when an ad comes on because those ads were created to ‘persuade’ us.

So why do we run from being persuaded? Because it gets our guard up…

If somehow we do end up being persuaded, we have this fear that something will be taken from us. Company’s take our money. Sales people take our money. We don’t say we gave them our money, but they ‘took’ it. No one thinks about what they receive in return for their money. They focus on what they lost. Human beings are twice as more affected by the loss of something than they are by gaining something.

In any situation where something is about to be taken or is being taken from us, our guard goes up. Our inner defense system is triggered. Do you really want to trigger your consumer’s defense system? Obviously not. Unfortunately, a lot of companies lack the knowledge of leveraging consumer persuasion principles in marketing their product or service. This results in detrimental impact on the brand image because once a prospective customer’s guard is up, that’s an entire new barrier to converting them into an actual paying customer.

People will always be happy to spend. How much fun do you have when you’re out shopping for yourself – buying something that will essentially, in some way, make you feel better? Is buying something you want fun or not fun?

When we buy, we’re getting. When we’re being sold or persuaded, something is being taken from us.

Key Insight: Consumers love to buy, but hate to be sold.

A lot of marketing professionals will recall that insight. They must have heard it somewhere – perhaps in business school. So most marketers after reading that, will think they “already knew that”. Perhaps you did, but now you know the psychology behind why it works – and you’re about to see how deep that psychology can get in truly persuading your consumer.

Everyone has knowledge of a tree’s existence and everyone understands all the benefits that trees provide – but only once you understand and get to the roots of how a tree gets planted, that’s when you can really make some change and have the most impact on the environment. Knowing that consumer’s love to buy but hate to be sold, here are 3 applications every strategic brand marketer would make in their marketing campaigns:

1) Strategic brand marketers strive to create a ‘positive-feeling’ experience for their consumer before, during, and after their purchase of the product/service.

What does ‘positive-feeling’ really mean? Ideally, if you can get them to feel the benefit of using the product/service at any point before, during, or after their purchase, then you’re on-point. The earlier the better.

When you watch a trailer for a movie, the strategic trailers will make you feel the thrill and excitement of what it could be like to actually watch the whole movie. In that instant, you become a customer.

2) Strategic brand marketers tip the scale to the ‘I’m getting’ side as opposed to the ‘I’m giving’ side, in the mind of the consumer. 

They will position their product or service in a way that will convince the consumer that they are getting more value in return for the money that they’re spending.

Of course, that actually means to strive to make your product or service live up to that value, if you ever want them to trust you again.

3) Strategic brand marketers help consumers realize and truly feel like they are investing in themselves when they put their trust in a brand – enough trust to buy whatever that brand offers.

Side Note: The principles that Brand Marketing Psychology highlights can be used to unethically leverage the deep psychology of human behavior for the primary intention where you don’t have your consumer’s best interest in mind. It is my intention and hope that only those individuals who are committed to the greater development of their consumer’s life in some way, shape, or form, will benefit from this website… because at the end of the day, and you will realize this if you haven’t already, you can only truly win if your consumer wins.

Deeper Into the Psychology of Consumer Persuasion:

As much as we will hate to recognize this, persuasion happens on an unconscious level.

You can be persuaded without even being consciously aware of it… and so can your consumers.

Persuasion is the science of being influenced to take some action.

And to take action, you need to make the decision to do it. It all starts with making the decision to do something.

PERSUASION = DECISION –> ACTION

So wait, is persuasion just about influencing the decision to take action? Aren’t decisions made consciously?

I know I’m aware of ALL the decisions I make. I’m sure you are too. When was the last time you made a decision without knowing you’re making that decision? So if decisions must be conscious, how can persuasion be unconscious?

Something doesn’t add up here…

The reality is… decisions are also made unconsciously. We just have the illusion that we make every decision with our conscious mind.

In 2008, Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences conducted an experiment that revealed that decisions are made at least 7 seconds before we are consciously aware of it, by the unconscious brain.

“Your decisions are strongly prepared by brain activity. By the time consciousness kicks in, most of the work has already been done.” – co-author John Dylan Haynes, neuroscientist at Max Planck.

The paper that discusses the experiment is called “Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain”. You can read it here.

Our unconscious mind is more powerful than we think. It can control our decisions. It can control our consumer’s decisions.

“The impression that we are able to freely choose between different possible courses of action is fundamental to our mental life. However, it has been suggested that this subjective experience of freedom is no more than an illusion and that our actions are initiated by unconscious mental processes long before we become of our intention to act.

The New Age gurus of the world have constantly been talking about how we’re all “asleep” and how we need to “wake up”. I believe this is what they are talking about – the idea that we lack awareness. Awareness of how we truly work as humans.  That we make decisions without even knowing about it. That we’re basically robots…. and the thing with robots, is that they do everything mechanically.

Everything is routine. Everything in the life of the average individual, especially one living in the Western society, is routine. As humans, we are creatures of habit.

The unfortunate part is that we all think that we make decisions consciously. That we live our life with change and excitement. But even the excitement is routine!

We don’t look at the bigger picture. Going to the movies every Tuesday is not variety and doing something different, it’s routine. Going on a yearly vacation is routine.

We lack awareness, and that means our consumers lack awareness. Without awareness, our decisions are irrational.

This is where consumer irrationality comes from. People who study behavioural economics are realizing this more and more. New books about being ‘irrational’ and consumer irrationality are constantly being released.

You will notice from the majority of my posts that I constantly highlight irrational consumer choices and motivations.

Your Brand Marketing Psychology Strategy:

When it comes to the science of persuasion for us brand marketers, consumer irrationality is where all our power comes from.

The irrational mind is the leverage point for every marketer looking to persuade.

So how can your brand persuade your consumers that they’re actually buying and not being sold, by appealing to their irrational mind?  And then triggering the decision which motivates them to take action in favour of your brand?

There is one trigger of the decision to take action, that is stronger than anything else – and that is emotion.

We only act after we have felt. Emotions always come before action.

And if there is one thing we can be certain about, it’s that emotions rise from great irrationality. How? Let’s consider what triggers emotions – our thoughts and beliefs.

Sometimes it’s our logical thoughts and beliefs. However, usually it’s our imagination.

Imagination allows us to be in the sensory surrounding of what we want so we react as if it’s actually taking place. Combine this with the tendency of thinking of the worst case scenario… and you have extreme negative emotions that make no sense.

For example, often times when someone wants to try a new hobby, all they can imagine is themselves failing miserably at it or making a fool of themselves. They feel embarrassment, fear, anxiety, worry, and discouragement, even before they begin. What action does this trigger? The action to not even try the new hobby in the first place.

Before you drink that cold bottle of coke or eat that 1000-caloried heated up chocolate chip cookie, you can literally taste it in your mind through your imagination. The moment you’ve tasted it in your mind, there is no stopping you. We’ve all felt that. That craving to have it more than anything else. No rational explanation would be likely to stop you if you’ve imagined it enough.

This is a prime example of consumer irrationality. This is why everywhere you go, visuals of food are thrown at you from all directions – food companies have realized that if they do it repeatedly, it works, because sooner or later you’re going to be imagining having that angelically-evil chocolate chip cookie.

Make your consumer imagine with complete vividness, as best as you can, what embracing your brand will allow them to have. Nike does this beautifully. Same with Axe.

Imagination is the root of successful emotional branding. It is a major key in consumer persuasion. And now that you understand the  major elements in the deep psychology of consumer persuasion, leverage these insights to create a powerful, dominant, and demand-shifting brand that lives in your consumer’s mind…  because that’s our vision for your brand at Brand Marketing Psychology.com.

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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