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Does your business have good vibes?

Strategy, vision, mission, you've probably got all of these in your locker. But how are your vibes? It might sound a bit throwaway, even a bit Hawaiian shorts and a surfboard, but the right vibes could play a surprisingly scientific role in your ongoing success.


In ‘Branding between the ears‘ Sandeep Dayal explores how marketers can apply scientific insight to branding. He looks at how consumers really make the decision to buy or not buy.

And one of the most interesting parts of his book looks at ‘brand vibes’. It’s insight that we cans use for marketing and beyond.


The science of empathy

The insight in ‘Branding between the ears’ all stems from brain science. From using what we know about the way the brain works to develop new ways to connect with people.

Science shows that most of the time we make brand choices instinctively and only around 5% of the time will we take a more systematic approach. So rather than focusing on showing the comparative advantages we offer, it might be more effective to appeal to people’s instincts or ‘cognitive wisdom’.

And Dayal’s brand vibes are all about connecting with consumers by ‘showing genuine empathy’.

We’re often told to ‘sell the benefits’ but Sayal tells us that it might be more useful for brands to ‘show consumers it cares’.


Brand vibes in action

Dayal uses an example of an advertising campaign he worked on for an arthritis drug to show how important empathy can be to brand success.

In a conversation with a focus group a young woman with arthritis asked the question ‘how could you give me advice when you don’t know what I’m going through?’.

It made Dayal stop in his tracks. And he created an ad that had a hidden message for people with arthritis that the brand understood their daily challenges. It showed a mother, with hands slightly deformed from arthritis, tying her daughter’s hair into a ponytail.

A simple scene. But it communicated to those with the condition that the brand understood how it can make basic daily tasks difficult and also that there was a way that people with arthritis could manage it and keep caring for their families.

The ad connected with the deepest challenges and the biggest hopes in their target audience. It showed authentic empathy. It created brand vibes.

Authentic and ethical

For brand vibes to really resonate they need to be authentic and ethical. Consumers will soon see through strategies that manipulate empathy purely for sales, just as they see through virtue signalling brands who stick a ribbon on their logo for awareness days. 

Your brand vibes must connect with consumers through authentic shared values. Take Tony’s Chocoloney for example, there’s no doubt in the minds of their customers that they truly believe they want to make chocolate 100% slave free.

Whether it’s showing empathy for challenges they face or the issues that matter to them. Demonstrating to your customers that you really ‘get them’ will give off the brand vibes they need to trust and connect with your offer.

And it’s an insight with worth beyond our external customers. Empathy and authentic vibes are key to connecting with your current and prospective team too.

Rather than simply speaking to the benefits you can offer them, think about how you can speak to and align with their values. What motivates them, drives them, and gives them purpose? And how can you use good vibes to engage with the people that matter to your business?