Perceptions and reactions . . .

How Your Brand Makes Me Feel

3
How Your Brand Makes Me Feel

Some brands make us feel smart, welcome, healthy or positive.  And some do just the opposite.  Why is that and how can we change these perceptions?

 

And whether you are managing your own personal brand or the brand of a major company, you may not be aware of how people feel when they are around it or you.

 

Here’s an example:

 

Every day most of us bump into two big brands.  You really can’t avoid them.  They are everywhere.  But these brands, at least for me, provoke a very different feeling about myself and my association with their products.

 

So the two brands I’m thinking about are Starbucks and McDonald’s.  Both have huge customer numbers, busy lines and logos that command respect and admiration.

 

And all you have to do is complete a Google image search for both brand names to see the difference in how these brands are perceived.

 

Here are the results for each.  What do you see in the images alone?

 

mcdonald's, brand, branding, perception, consumer, reaction

 

starbuck's, brand, branding, perception, consumer, reaction

 

Now these images don’t really prove anything.  But it struck me that among all the images chosen for the top of Google’s result for McDonald’s, two of them were of people who apparently were eating poorly and are overweight as a result.  Right or wrong.

 

And the non-logo images for Starbucks were of books, coffee mugs or other more flattering images.

 

So there’s a point I’ll try to make below.

 

  • I want to be seen at Starbucks.  I don’t really want to be seen at McDonald’s
  • I am far more likely to check in at Starbucks via Foursquare than at McDonald’s
  • I never set up networking meetings at McDonald’s
  • I rarely take my family to McDonald’s – when I do, we use the drive thru
  • I like ordering from the people at Starbucks – the customer attention is better

 

All this despite my fairytale upbringing with the McDonald’s brand.

 

I remember every stage in my eating maturity at McDonald’s.  Starting with a hamburger, then a cheeseburger.  A quarter-pounder and then on to the Big Mac.  I have fond memories of going there as a kid.  Driving home with my Dad and licking my chops as the smell of those tasty fries crawled up my nose.

 

And then something happened.  I didn’t feel good being there or eating there any more.  Am I alone?

 

I’m not “lovin’ it”.  The thrill is gone.

 

So why do we have so many business meetings at Starbucks? Why do we want to be seen walking around with a white cup/green logo?  And why do we hide our bag of cheeseburgers with the big M on it?  Even though the calorie and sugar content in the products sold at each location are often the same.  And even though many of us secretly like eating a Big Mac and don’t care for the coffee at Starbucks.

 

Because it’s not about the type of food.  It’s not a cheeseburger vs. latte question.  Because I feel good when I go to In ‘n Out Burger.  I’ll sit right out front with friends and feel good.  Funny.

 

My view? I think we feel smart when we arrive at a place like Starbucks.  Socially connected.  And successful.

 

And now a question:

 

How is your brand (personal or otherwise) perceived against other choices in the marketplace.  What can you do to enable your brand as a perceived smart choice?

 

The take away: know how your brand makes people feel and you’ve learned something really important.

Tim Tyrell-Smith focuses on marketing, brand development and business strategy for emerging and established organizations. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim started his marketing career with Nestle USA and has since worked in product management on premium brands including Nestle Quik, Tree Top Apple Juice, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. He was most recently Vice President of Marketing for a private equity owned food company in Southern California. He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Tim Tyrell-Smith – who has written posts on Fix, Build And Drive™.


About the Author

Tim Tyrell-Smith focuses on marketing, brand development and business strategy for emerging and established organizations. A veteran executive in consumer marketing, Tim started his marketing career with Nestle USA and has since worked in product management on premium brands including Nestle Quik, Tree Top Apple Juice, Mauna Loa Macadamias and Meguiar’s Car Wax. He was most recently Vice President of Marketing for a private equity owned food company in Southern California. He lives with his wife and three kids in Mission Viejo, California.

Comments (3):

  1. Hey Tim,

    Loved this. And have to admit I’m like you. No problem showing off my Starbucks cup … or In n Out bag. But my Mickey D bag … like you … well, just being honest.

    Reading this makes my heart thankful for trusted friends, who with courage and honesty, add value to my journey by helping me to put my “best brand” forward. 🙂

  2. Thanks Suzy – appreciate your stopping by. 🙂 We need to be aware of how are brand is being perceived at all times. Even if the answer isn’t what we want to hear.

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