How Does Branding Even Work? Is it really that Important?

The answer is in our brains.  Literally.  Our brains make memories through associations.  And these associations are received through our senses.  Pretty simple concept right?  Ok so here’s an example of how powerful associations really are… A little backstory first.  When I was a kid, my parents would take the family to my grandparents’ home for lunch after church every Sunday.  My grandparents would always be chewing on these little Korean mints (kind of a Korean version of Tic-Tacs).  They looked like tiny metallic balls about the size of a sesame seed and had a distinct minty smell. Fastforward a few decades- I’m at the gym the other day, get on the treadmill and get a whiff of something somewhere that put me right back in my grandparents’ tiny L.A. apartment when I was 5.  Boom there I was for half a second.  Associations.  They are a very powerful part of the human psyche. This is why it’s important to use branding tactfully, so your audience has the right association with you.  Whether it be via personal branding or employer/talent branding:  personal branding done right could get you your dream job, and employer branding successfully done determines the kind draw you have to prospective employees.  Whether you are the employee or employer, both benefit significantly from good branding. I’m going to nerd out here for a moment and show you a little bit of the science behind it: “Create associations. Memory is formed by associations, so if you want help remembering things, create associations for yourself.”  Here’s a cool little factoid list about the brain.  So that’s why my teachers taught us to learn by creating associations!  (Little did they know…)  The catalyst to memory is associations. Memory is a function of associations.  And the most powerful associations are created via our senses.  There’s a reason why tweets with images gain more exposure. Tweets “Senses are much richer than language: Human language is quite limiting in what can be expressed – we can differentiate millions of colours, but most languages have around 11 words that are regularly used to describe colour. We can differentiate thousands of aromas, but most of us have a poor ability to describe what we experience. That doesn’t mean that our experience is limited, it means that language is. You can say much more with sensory experience than can ever be communicated in words.”  11 Reasons why Sensory Marketing makes Business Sense.  Very interesting read about sensory branding and how it works. This is why interactive media is such a great tool to grab people’s attention.  Remember my post about how you can be more creative with your resume? Check it out here: Is Your Resume Still A Product of the 90′s?  Utilize interactive tools to up your resume.  It will make a real impression. Branding = associations.  The brain makes powerful associations.  That is why branding is such a powerful tool to sell.  Remember (pun intended): associations are a direct line to the memory-making process, don’t forget to use it.  Go, create that lasting impression on somebody.  


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.