The halo effect is a marketing technique that consists of associating properties or attributes related to someone or something.
This is achieved from the perception that one has of that someone or something.
To understand the halo effect, we have to first clarify the difference between sensation and perception. A sensation represents all the information that comes to us through the senses.
Perception is a mental process that consists of selecting, organizing and interpreting the information that comes to us through sensations.
Steps of perception
- Selection: This step occurs when we are bombarded by many stimuli and we focus our attention on the one that interests us the most.
- Organization: It is when the information reaches the brain, the information is unified and grouped, trying to form a whole, in order to make sense of it.
- Interpretation: Then the brain interprets the information, making sense of the data that has previously been selected and organized.
To make it easier to understand, for example, if we go to a birthday party where we see a lot of stimuli.
- The first step of perception is to select among the many stimuli, the one that most attracts our attention. If we select the cake, this information enters through the eyes, which are the organs of the sense of sight.
- Then, in the second step, the information passes to the brain where previous knowledge or what is known about a cake is organized and related.
- Finally it is interpreted, according to the experience or knowledge that we have of something. In our experience, if a cake is something positive, it is associated with party, joy, rich taste, friends, gifts, etc.
On the contrary, if the experience is negative and someone went to the hospital to eat cake, when interpreting the information, their association is pain, annoyance and displeasure.
The graph illustrates how the process is generated in the human being
After this clarification, now if it is easy to understand how marketing uses the halo effect, it is about getting the consumer to make positive associations of certain products or brands by relating it to something or someone.
Halo effect example
An example can be given when a character like Messi advertises sports articles, the consumer associates those articles with positive attributes such as high performance, good quality, and status.
Another common example occurs when a beautiful model advertises cosmetics as it relates to beauty, aesthetics and good positioning.
To finish here, the process of perception in marketing is used, taking into account that the first impression we have of something or someone is going to be decisive, to later make positive or negative relationships with respect to brands or products.