Utilising the power of ‘Belief’ in your Brand for your competitive advantage.


There are many areas in consumer healthcare, domestic and personal hygiene where the efficacy of the products is similar across all brands and variants. Soaps, shower gels, shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste, cleaning products, disinfectants… all achieve their stated objective.

The difference, the competitive advantage, therefore comes in consumer preference and ultimately in the consumer’s belief in the effectiveness of the product.

In all of these products there are a number of things in the experience of their use that prompt the consumer to believe in their effectiveness. The communications messages, the appearance and functionality of the packaging, the appearance, viscosity, aroma, feel of the product itself, the consumer experience of its use, the feel/appearance and aroma after use…

Creating a story that resonates with your consumer

Most of these have no relevance to the actual efficacy of the product, but they create a story in the consumer’s mind. For some of the products it is a story of reassurance, that says that this is doing something positive, it is working. However, for other products the story lacks reassurance, it says nothing about the efficacy of the product – it does not make them feel good about its use.

The important thing here is to understand the psychological effect of the product. How the communications and product experience come together to create a comprehensive narrative in the consumer’s mind convincing them of its effectiveness. The story reassures them and allows them to move from focusing upon the task at hand to getting on with their lives. The product has done/is doing its job.

Invariably, the consumer will form their perception of its effectiveness according to their experience of use.

For all healthcare and hygiene products efficacy is important, but consumer belief is the critical factor.

When the consumer believes in your product, when they believe that it is working for them, it makes them feel better and they are motivated to keep using it. This is an emotional rather than a rational reaction. Difficult to prove in a clinical trial or to understand through quantitative testing, but essential to your success in a competitive market.

By understanding consumers’ emotional responses and connecting them with the product experience at every stage of interaction is the way you can maximise your consumers’ belief in your brand and become the preferred choice in your category.

Chris Lukehurst is a Consumer Psychologist and a Director at The Marketing Clinic:

Providing Clarity on the Psychological relationships between consumers and brands