by Ben Perreira

I have a confession to make: I am lazy.

I like to find shortcuts and follow them, whether that is when I am commuting, saving passwords on frequently used websites, or in processes for projects I’m working on. 

The thing is, finding shortcuts takes its own kind of work. It requires taking in a ton of information then making a decision about which way is the right way for me. Following that decision becomes very easy after that, almost automatic.

In the same way I program my brain to follow patterns to save “brainpower” for other means, brands do this for us. 

Kleenex is a great example of this. How much more effective is it to say “Kleenex” than “facial tissue?”

How about the combination of Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola? A Jack and Coke is just an easy way to say you want a cola and mediocre bourbon. The bartender knows what you mean even if the bar carries neither brand. 

Beyond Master Brand names, the most effective brands stand for something that is apparent through a tagline (“The Ultimate Driving Machine”) or reputation (Toyota).

They know that we are all lazy and do not want re-evaluate entire industries every time we make a purchase. They offer a shortcut so they are the first thing you think of when you think of that category. They make our purchases automatic reactions to commercial junctions in the same way I automatically turn right at the fork in the road near my parents’ house. Too easy.