Pavlov's Dog, or How to Develop and Deliver a Consistent Brand Experience

Michael DiFrisco

We all remember learning about the famous psychological experiments in conditioned reflex performed by Ivan Petrovich Pavlov around the turn of the previous century. In simple terms: Pavlov would ring a bell prior to feeding his dogs (his test subjects); the dogs were quickly conditioned and came to associate the ringing of the bell with the presentation of food. Soon, all Pavlov had to do was ring the bell and the dogs' saliva flow increased.

That same principle is at work in branding. When we hear a name, see a logo, whiff a particular scent, or encounter a sensation, we are conditioned—based on our previous experiences with those things—to respond in a specific way.

When I see the distinctively shapely Coca-Cola bottle, for example, all my experiences with Coke—refreshment, summers of my youth, Captain Morgan rum, and more—flood into my brain...

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