The biases cheat sheet for brand strategy


Words: Nishtha Sharma

Published on February 2, 2024

Biases Cheat Sheet

How often have you heard someone say “I don’t know why but I just don’t like it”? 

We form opinions of people, things, (and brands) without engaging in rational thinking. In simple words, a bias is something that throws logic out the window and drives the decision-making process without us even realising it. Biases can make us love and hate inexplicably. So how do we use this to our advantage to guide customer journeys, influence decisions and build stronger brand connections? Here’s our pocket guide to the basics of biases and how to embrace them. 

1. Familiarity bias 

In evolutionary terms, things that are more familiar are less of a threat. We trust – and favour – what we know.

Application in marketing

Consistency and repetition help develop positive feelings and preferences.

2. Fluency bias 

Our opinions are based on how easy something is to understand.

Application in marketing

Simplicity can be more effective than complex words or visuals to gain trust and land a message.

3. Recency bias  

We recall, and give primacy to, information that is easily accessible in our memory, often due to recent exposure.

Application in marketing

Gain exposure at every stage of the customer journey for easier brand recall.

4. The halo effect 

Our overall impression of something influences how we perceive its individual traits.

Application in marketing

How to leverage existing equity when creating brand extensions or during buyouts needs real consideration.

5. Commitment bias 

We tend to stay consistent with words or actions we have previously committed to.

Application in marketing

Disrupting habitual behaviour can be extremely tough. On the flip side, once you have gained loyalty it can be hard to break. Stand out to trigger novelty appeal but be familiar enough to gain trust.

6. Confirmation bias 

We tend to actively look for or recall information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and opinions.

Application in marketing

It’s hard to influence brand equity that’s been built over time; and first impressions matter!