Hot or not? How aesthetics drive consumer behaviour

In a world of Love Island, Instagram, and air-brushed influencers, you’d be forgiven for thinking that almost all human behaviour (good and bad) is driven by aesthetics – and you’d probably not be very far off the mark.

Marketers have known about the power of visual design for many years. What separates the most competitive brands from the rest of the market is that they not only use appealing designs to drive consumer purchases, but recognise how visual identity can make real connections with customers.

Brands with strong visual appeal tap into their customers’ deepest values, relate to their personality, and even influence their wider behaviours. So, how exactly does visual identity drive engagement with target consumers, and which brands do it most effectively?

Hot like Chilly’s bottles

Consumers have known about the environmental impact of disposable plastic water bottles for many years. However, until Chilly’s bottles came onto the market, single-use water bottles were considered to be much more convenient and cooler (in both style and water temperature) than their reusable alternatives.

Chilly’s recognised that consumers didn’t just want a bottle that kept their drinks cool, but that looked great too! Just like a bag or a coat, in order to become an everyday accessory, water bottles needed to match each consumer’s individual style.

This mission to “accelerate the adoption and everyday use of reusable products through creating products with the perfect balance of distinctive style and unrivalled performance” has not only made their net worth rocket to just under £19 million but has reduced the use of plastic bottles too.

It has also encouraged consumers to keep their bottles closer at hand and therefore drink more water, leading to positive impacts on their own health too.

In short, with their product’s strong visual appeal, Chilly’s bottles tapped into the values of their style-conscious audience and used that as a way to positively influence their behaviours and choices.

So, what brands are hot right now?

In a similar way, the hottest brands use their strong visual identity to connect with their target audience. This doesn’t just influence their consumers’ purchasing choices, but their wider behaviours too.

Here’s how some of the hottest brands use their visual identity to drive consumer engagement, whether it’s getting involved in sport, travelling more sustainably, feeling more positive about their body, or carrying their child more often.

Feel like an athlete with Nike

Nike’s products are made by, and for professional athletes. By using their visual identity to show the real people behind the athletic performance, they have helped to break down barriers for participation.

Their authentic and emotional approach hasn’t just driven sales and encouraged more people to take up a sport, but directly connected with the feelings and values of their young audience. The ‘swoosh’ has also been used to make statements on wider societal issues that chime with their target market, such as Black Lives Matter and advocating for underrepresented groups.

Getting real with Aerie

Rather than following the trend of smooth-skinned, small-waisted models, Aerie stood out from the market by directly asking their consumers what they wanted to see. Their answer… Seeing real bodies from all walks of life in lingerie.

As well as using underrepresented groups in their own brand imagery, Aerie took this a step further by creating the #AerieREAL campaign. This encouraged customers to share selfies of themselves in their Aerie lingerie. This not only created further engagement with the brand but encouraged these women to feel more confident and positive about their bodies.

Making baby carriers cool with Artipoppe

Far from the frumpy product lines of Mothercare, Artipoppe has turned baby carriers into an accessory every model or fashion-conscious parent wants to buy. With fashion editorial photography and edgy-looking models, the brand has elevated the baby carrier from an essential item to a cool must-have.

This isn’t just for women either. Artipoppe uses a balance of male and female models to show that baby carriers can integrate into any outfit and style. This hasn’t just broken-down gendered stereotypes and encouraged more men to take up the baby carrier, it has shown parents that they don’t have to lose their own style and sense of self when they have a baby.

So, are looks really everything?

The diplomatic answer is that they may not be everything, but they certainly help.

Visual identity for brands or products is an expression of self that connects with customers on a subliminal level in a similar vein to more traditional artwork. This doesn’t just hold significant value for these brands in terms of their profit margin but can influence their customers’ behaviours for the better too.

Convert the thinking to your own brand!

Your brand is your product. If your product looks uninspiring, your audience is less likely to buy it!

Rethinking your brand to better align its visual appeal with your target market, will create loyalty, engagement and most importantly… revenue for your business.