What is halo effect?

Marketers have always made use of cognitive biases when they want to sell a product or service. One of the most common cognitive biases which is widely used by marketers and advertisers is the ‘Halo Effect’.


What is HALO Effect?

When one trait of a person or a thing is used to make an overall decision or judgement about it, it is called as HALO effect.

It can be divided into two types

  1. Positive HALO effect.
  2. Negative HALO Effect or the Devil effect.

Examples of HALO Effect

Brand ‘A’ launches a product ‘A1’ in a category ‘A2’ and it receives glowing reviews from all its customers. When it launches an entirely new product ‘B1’ in a different category ‘B2’, customers will be convinced about the quality of B1 even without using it as they loved the initial product ‘A1’

This is positive HALO effect in action.

HALO effect is all around us. We fall prey to the effect even without us knowing. Marketers and copywriters know the exact choice of words that can trigger your minds to create a HALO effect about a product or service.

The cover of books often includes terms like ‘New York Times Best Seller’, ‘National Best Seller’, ‘Now a major motion picture’. All of it may be true but if this is the first thing you see on the cover, its purpose is to create a HALO effect on your mind convincing you on why you should buy the book.

When it comes to movie trailers, it often starts with

‘From the Makers of’ or ‘From the Award-Winning Director’ of or sometimes both.

When a trailer starts with these terms, our brain does a quick recap of how we enjoyed the previous flicks and fixates on ‘now is the time to catch the next one’.

When it comes to Mobile Apps, a good-looking app is not often the efficient one in the category – but if the users love the design of the UI screens, they will inherently start thinking it’s the best one in the category.

When it comes to physical products that you pick up at the supermarket, it is often the words that you read on the packaging or the tagline that you remember from the product’s ads.

For e.g. ‘Cleans 99.8% of the germs’ on a hand sanitizer.

‘Recommended by leading dentists of the world’ on a toothpaste pack.

What does HALO Effect mean for brands?

As they always say, ‘First impression is the best impression’. Creating a positive halo effect about a product or a service may be very lucrative for businesses.

Reviews from Customers can make or break a product. If there are around 100 reviews and 85 of them are positive ones, it can result in a positive halo effect. If it is the other way around, it will result in a negative halo effect.

Most of our buying decisions are formed based on our very own first impressions or recommendations from our close friends or family.

Our first impressions include the words we read, the colors we see and many other factors of a product.

HALO Effect for Brands

Brands get just one shot at crafting content that creates a positive halo effect for their product. They flaunt their expert reviews or performance of previously successful products to move you towards a successful conversion.

Consumer brands often rope in successful celebrities as brand ambassadors. When the celebrities are seen or pictured using the brand’s products, it serves as an indirect recommendation of the celebrity for the product.

Influencer Marketing strongly relies on HALO effect to deliver the results.

Quick Tips for Brands considering tapping into HALO Effect 

  • First impressions are everything – color, logo of the brand, touch & feel and the content on the product.
  • Reviews can make or break a product. The reviews will determine if your product or service has a positive or a negative halo effect.

  • Content is everything. Captivating content can make a big difference to your campaigns.
  • Recommendations, Social Proof, Awards, Previous successes – Flaunt your positives for a positive halo effect.





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