Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Finally, a study backs up what we intuit. Seeing brand logos affect people’s behavior. Isn’t that the whole point of brand advertising? But wait, this study is not about brand advertising driving sales - this study is about brand images driving people’s behavior, whether or not they purchase the product, even if they do not realize they have seen the brand.

In the study, “Automatic Effects of Brand Exposure on Motivated Behavior: How Apple Makes you ‘Think Different,’” (Grainne M. Fitzsimons, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Gavan J. Fitzsimons); published in the April issue of “The Journal of Consumer Research,” the authors proved that seeing brand logos affected people’s behavior.

The study included four brands: Apple, IBM, Disney Channel and E!. All four brands were positively viewed, but for different attributes.

“Participants exposed to the Apple brand outperformed IBM-primed and control participants on a standard measure of creativity, and participants primed with the Disney Channel reported more honest responses to a social desirability test than those primed with E! logos or control participants. Results showed that this happened only when the participants had the same goal as the brand and they perceived that their goal in that area had not been met.”

The study found that brands “initiated goal-directed behavior only when the brands were associated with qualities desired by the individual.” Brands attributes and personal goals need to match for the brand to impact behavior.

Reading this research reinforced my latest purchases. I recently changed jobs (well, I quit a salaried position and started writing full time - but it sounds better if I say I “changed jobs”). Writing requires creativity. During the transition, I moved from the standard PC world to the Apple world. I am not one for long transitions. I now have an iMac, iPhone, iPod (make that 2) and MacBook Air (on which I am now typing).

My thought process went something like this: big transition - big change - big need to be creative/ independent/ and be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound (or something like that). To me, these thoughts provided sufficient justification for the transition to Apple.

Knowing that I would need copious amounts of training, I signed up for the Apple one-to-one program. This is a one-year, $99 program that includes up to an hour of personal training per week.

I read the study results after I had already purchased all of my Apple items. While I am only a focus group of one, I decided to determine if viewing the Apple logo had made me more creative.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.