Cognitive Bias: A Major Influencer of Brand Reputation

Reputation is formed in the mind.

You are forming a reputation of this website as you read this article – hopefully a good one. You formed an opinion about the café where you had coffee today.

Do you get the point? The point here is we form reputations every day.

The human mind – where all opinions are formed – is crazy place. Pardon my language, but it is the truth. The human mind isn’t faultless, stable, harmonious, and streamlined when consuming and processing information. Most of all, it isn’t rational.

It is influenced by a myriad of factors, so many it is impossible to keep track of them.

Do you know the implication of this?

It implies that even if you offer the best products/services and customer service, people will still form a negative opinion of you.

It is impossible to please everyone.

For example, I just got off YouTube where I saw a video of a mother-son song duet. It was beautiful; it warmed my heart. They sang the Aladdin musical ‘A whole new world’ and they did it so well.

But below the video pane I saw that there were 300 thousand likes and about 36 thousand dislikes. And I thought to myself, ‘Who in the world would dislike such a beautiful video?’

I’m pretty sure you have had your fair share of a similar experience.

One of the factors that influences the formation of a reputation is cognitive bias.

In this article, I will be showing you how cognitive bias affects your brand reputation.

But first…

What Is Cognitive Bias?

Cognitive biases are those errors we make in judgement, reasoning, evaluation, remembrance, and other cognitive processes caused when we retain our beliefs/preferences while disregarding contrary information.

We sometimes fail to see what we ought to see because we are blinded by our beliefs or preferences.

Interestingly, cognitive biases aren’t all bad: they help us respond speedily to critical situations. And have contributed to the survival of the human race for millennia.

Yet, we can’t deny that cognitive biases have also been the cause of many issues we now have.

With that being the case, let’s look at…

Cognitive Biases That Affect Brand Reputation

Every single cognitive bias we have affect reputation. They make up a huge part of our thought processes and shape our internal and even external world. Therefore, we cannot be free from their influence.

To list all the cognitive biases that exist is to make this article long and colourless. But we are going to look at 3 common biases.

First, let’s look at the ‘bandwagon effect’. You probably have heard the phrase ‘Joining the bandwagon’. It means to do something or act in particular way because other people are doing same. I call it the ‘monkey see monkey do’ bias.

Next is the hindsight bias. You may know someone who always says, ‘I knew it all along’ after something (usually negative) has happened. I know a few of them. A person with hindsight bias never provides substantial evidence as to how they knew the said event would take place. They just always say they knew it would happen or have known it all along.

And lastly, there is the stereotype bias. People with stereotype bias often generalize or have a distorted viewpoint about other people or events.

These biases affect our world every day and shape your reputation in the minds of the public.

What Is The Most Important Bias You Should Be Aware Of?

There are several other biases that affect your brand reputation, but one is king.

And that is Confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is that propensity we have to give ear to, seek, and remember only information that confirms our current beliefs or desires. Consequently, we end up disregarding any information that seems to contradict what we believe or know.

If people already have a notion that your product is bad, they will only listen to information that supports this notion.

Confirmation bias causes closed-mindedness. It makes us partial to our beliefs or desires and deaf to any opinion that goes against them. This bias is more pronounced when topics about money, sexuality, religion, politics, and environment are being discussed.

In conclusion…               

Do you think a person can ever be free from cognitive biases?

Personally, I doubt that. And that is because it plays a positive role in our lives. The best you can do is to become aware of and admit your own biases. And then try to be more open-minded and ask lots of questions.

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