Brain Waves, Picture SortsĀ®, and Branding Moments

Charles Young
CY Research Inc.

The mind of the consumer can be thought of as being continuously engaged in the process of defining the self and orienting it with respect to the outside world. A brand's image is constructed in relationship to the consumer's concept of self. A brand's positioning is determined with reference to the marketing universe of competitors. But, it is the dramatic tension between the inner-directed process of brand image building and the outer-directed process of positioning a product in the marketplace that energizes the yin-yang of advertising creative as it is received by the mind of the consumer.

Many advertising professionals appear to use the terms 'brand image' (Ogilvy, 1983) and 'brand positioning' (Reis and Trout, 1981) interchangeably, or think of one as a subset of the other. However, our experimental data and current models of memory and information theory instead support the notion that they are, in fact, two quite different dimensions of advertising communication – dimensions that can be measured separately.