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What Is Conceptual Marketing?

M. McGee
M. McGee

Conceptual marketing is an advertising concept where focus is shifted from a specific product to a brand identity. By establishing the brand as a cultural or social focus point, marketers need to focus on specific products less; essentially, anything associated with the brand is seen in the same light. For example, it is possible to focus on a specific color or shape to associate it with a brand. Afterwards, whenever people see that image, they think of the brand, even if the actual image is unrelated.

The main focus of conceptual marketing is breaking down a corporate identity into a single, very simple idea. From that point on, marketers work to associate the two concepts in people’s minds. By associating those things in people’s minds, it is possible to pull away from all but the barest mention of product lines.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

The associations used in conceptual marketing are based heavily on who the concept is aimed at. A company that sells small technological products may choose a ‘fun’ or ‘young’ concept. From that point on, the advertising focuses on reinforcing that idea. The product itself might actually change from a non-descript device series to one that uses modern aesthetic sense to constantly seem advanced. In this case, the advertising would also attempt to make comparisons to its competition, generally showing them as ‘old’ or ‘un-cool.’

In the case of a company that sells items that are heavily based on product line or brand names, such as a home improvement store, the idea works a little differently. In this case, people will know the sorts of things they can buy from the store; they just need constant reinforcement that that store exists. This type of conceptual marketing will often focus on a basic, but still recognizable, shape or color. This allows the company to gain unintentional advertising whenever a consumer sees the associated image.

In the majority of cases, conceptual marketing is only done by the largest of companies. The types of all-encompassing advertising required to create the association are well beyond any small to mid-sized business. This cost covers putting a large number of different and non-repeating advertisements on television, radio, print sources and billboards. Essentially, any place where a person might see an ad, there is a chance she will see one of these. By bombarding people with associative imagery, conceptual marketing creates subconscious connections without the consumer even being aware.

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