Communications and experiences create the Coca-Cola brand in your mind; each individual impression may be positive or negative. If your mental image includes lots of negative thoughts, you probably don’t buy much soda. If you have lots of positive thoughts, you may buy it every day. In this way, brands are decision makers. Each entrepreneur must decide how she wants people to think about her business and then communicate that brand effectively in order to move customers from “Should I buy?” to “Yes!”
In the moment of decision, all of our positive and negative thoughts are weighed on a mental scale. If there are more pros than cons, we make a purchase. Otherwise, we don’t. But we don’t make a list of pros and cons for each product every time we visit the grocery store — a single trip would take hours! We use the brand as a mental shortcut to make these kinds of decisions very quickly. When you walk down the soda aisle in the grocery store, it may take only an instant to decide whether to buy Coke or Pepsi or Sprite or something else. You don’t have to read the labels — the brand makes it possible to make these quick purchasing decisions.
Do you already know what brand of phone you’re going to buy next? Where do you prefer to buy clothes? If you need to buy shampoo, do you know what brand you’ll add to your grocery cart? All of these decisions are made by the brands you carry in your mind, formed from years of communications and experiences. But remember that for every brand you purchase there are dozens that you don’t purchase. Just as brands make it easy to make “yes” decisions, they also facilitate “no” decisions.
As an entrepreneur, you want to build a catalog of mental impressions in the minds of potential customers so that when the time comes for them to make a choice it’s easy for them to make a “yes” decision. The more information a potential customer has about your brand, the easier that decision will be.