Brand Stickiness

To create a brand message that sticks, you need to make it clear when, where, and how your audience can act.

In a study conducted at Yale University, a sampling of students were split into two groups and given a booklet about the dangers of tetanus and the benefits of being vaccinated against it.

One group received a “high fear” version of the booklet which used intense language and imagery detailing the effects of tetanus, while the other group received a “low fear” version of the booklet that used plain language and omitted imagery altogether.

The results of the tests we somewhat predictable. The group given the “high fear” booklet was more in favour of getting their tetanus shot than the group given the "low fear" booklet. What's surprising, however, was that only 3% of the total participants actually ended up getting the jab.

Clearly, something wasn’t working.

In response, the researchers made one small change to the booklets each group received and increased the vaccination rates of participants up to 28%, regardless of which booklet was being read.

The change? They included a map of the campus, circling the building where students could get vaccinated and added the time of day the shots were available.

What researchers realized is that each group clearly understood the danger of tetanus regardless of the booklet they were being given, but would only act upon the information when shown how they could fit the vaccine appointment into their daily lives.

It wasn't laziness holding back the students. It was a lack of information. More specifically, a lack of relevant information that would allow the students to make an informed decision.

By working to understand our audience, presenting them with information in a way that's relevant to their needs, and that allows them to plan accordingly, we're more likely to realize the change we seek to make.

Tanner Garniss-Marsh, RGD, is a brand strategist and designer working with business owners to bring their envisioned brand to life with strategic and practical solutions.

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