Marketing Book Review: ‘Brandwashed’ by Martin Lindstrom
Have you ever read a marketing book that, while reading it, you lost all track of time because you were genuinely interested in the material? Sadly, my college textbooks never had that effect on me. However, Martin Lindstrom’s book Brandwashed did, and I’m glad!
The long title of his book is: Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. It combines marketing, advertising, and psychology to really give an in-depth analysis of what today’s companies are doing to get us to remember their brands – hence the title.
I won’t give anything away, but as a consumer there were tons of “Whoa! Really?!” moments that kept me turning the pages. For example, shampoo companies have recognized that consumers see the number of generated bubbles to mean that is getting their hair cleaner than their less-bubbly competitors. So, a few companies that Lindstrom knows have taken this idea and have created a chemical that quickly multiplies the number of bubbles created. So it makes us think that this brand of shampoo is really getting our hair cleaner than the less expensive brand ever could. (Did you just have one of those “Whoa, really?” moments? I warned you!)
Lindstrom also goes into detail about how we’re hooked on brands from two different stages. The “Routine Stage” occurs when we use products out of mere daily rituals; toothpaste, paper towels, laundry detergent. You know those brands we’re loyal to and won’t give any other brand a passing thought. When we run out of them we immediately go out and buy the exact same brand without thinking twice about it. No questions asked.
"I must buy some more Hawaiian shirts before I leave"
The second stage is the “Dream Stage” where we purchase products not because we ‘need’ them, but because our guard is down. Think about your spending habits while on vacation or on a weekend; they’re probably a bit more erratic and relaxed than during a normal work week. So, if you came back from an island vacation with a suitcase full of sarongs or Hawaiian shirts, blame it on all that relaxation that made you put down your guard and open up your wallet.
One last gem I’ll leave you with concerns online coupons and their bar codes. Have you ever wondered what’s encoded in there? What is the scanner really reading? Well, retailers are able to gather your IP address, what search terms you used to find it, what day and time you found the coupon, when and where you redeemed it, and so much more from this little guy. With this information they’re able to better appeal to you and other consumers who match your profile. Now, this does result in you getting your favorite cereal or chips at a cheaper price, but is it worth it?
I could go on and on about other things I learned from this marketing book, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll urge you to check out Martin Lindstrom’s Brandwashed for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it, and plus you’ll feel really smart for reading something educational!
"Brandwashed" by Martin Lindstrom
Want to find about more about Martin Lindstrom and his book, Brandwashed? I highly recommend visiting the Brandwashed website here. You can also take his ‘Brandwashed Intelligence Test’ and really see how brandwashed you are (careful though, it’s not for the faint of heart). His previous books and Brandwashed are both available at all major bookstores and on his website.
Do any of Martin Lindstrom’s “enlightments” surprise you? Is there an instance where you believe that one brand is superior to another? If so, which brand is it and why? Shout off below!