How Brands Use Design to Grab Attention


Have you wondered what causes other brands to be so appealing to the customers while some of them are that unattractive? It is not only the quality of their goods or services that matters. The key is associative design—a method that combines stories, emotions, and visuals to produce a strong brand narrative.

The Value of Associative Design

Associative design is the main reason for consumers’ association with brands. It is able to pinpoint memories, emotions, and desires through colors, shapes, and visual arts. For example, Apple‘s logo is a universal symbol. It symbolizes simplicity, innovation, and elegance. Such relationships help in creating a customer base that is extremely loyal, with customers standing in the queue for hours just to have their hands on the freshly released product.

The Dopamine Connection

We are greatly affected by dopamine, the neurotransmitter that has been closely associated with pleasure and satisfaction of the brain. Brands such as Instagram and TikTok have become really good at providing non-stop dopamine hits through their highly-attractive posts. It not only keeps us hooked but also reinforces our belief in the brand over long term usage.

Real-world Examples

The demonstration of associative design’s influence on brand success or failure is obvious in numerous case studies. A telling instance is Tropicana’s 2009 redesigning of packaging that led to a 20% sales dip because of customers’ confusion and dissatisfaction. However, the success of Coca-Cola primarily comes down to its emotional branding, which is connected to the emotion of happiness and togetherness, notwithstanding the fact that it had the New Coke issue.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Brands are found to be vulnerable to position amnesia (the loss of core identity) or overconfidence (Icarus paradox). Coca-Cola‘s New Coke disaster and Kellogg’s difficulties in India at first can be cited as these mistakes. In order to create lasting relationships brands should learn and use the emotional/associative triggers of their audience, including these triggers into their branding strategy.

Lastly, our brand selection originates from psychological factors and the emotional links they create. With the consumer evolution, brands have to find a way to filter consumer insights via authentic connections. In this way, they not only ensure current success but also lay the groundwork for enduring loyalty and endorsement.

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