10 Ways to use the Power of Context

Prathamesh Krisang

Context Effect refers to the phenomenon where people’s behavior and decision-making are influenced by the context in which they are presented with information or stimuli. This context can include factors such as time, place, and social norms, as well as previous experiences and expectations. The context effect demonstrates that people don’t always make rational decisions based solely on the information they are presented with, but instead their judgments and actions are influenced by their perception of the context in which they are making the decision.

Let’s dive into some ways to harness the power of context!

1. Product Placement

“Put your product in the right place”

Place your product in relevant and impactful contexts to increase its visibility and appeal. This can be done by placing the product in a scene in a movie, TV show, or other media, or by aligning the product with a particular lifestyle, event, or activity.

Example: A technology brand can place their products in a sci-fi movie, to appeal to a tech-savvy and futuristic audience.

2. Framing Matters

“Presenting a glass as half full rather than half empty can impact someone’s perception of the situation and their subsequent behavior”

The way in which information is presented, or framed, can have a significant impact on how it is perceived and acted upon. By framing information in a positive or negative light, or by highlighting certain aspects of the information while downplaying others, you can influence how people feel about the information and what they do with it.

Example: A charity frames their fundraising campaign as a way for people to make a positive difference in the world, emphasizing the impact that their donations will have on the lives of those in need.

3. Timing

“The right moment can make all the difference in marketing and sales”

The timing at which you present information can greatly influence its impact and effectiveness. By carefully considering the right moment to share your message, you can ensure that it is received with maximum impact and is acted upon.

Example: A home security company runs a holiday sale just before the winter holiday season, when people are more likely to be concerned about protecting their homes while they travel.

4. Contextual Brand Activation

“Create impactful and memorable brand experiences”

Contextual brand activation is all about making a meaningful connection with your target audience by delivering a brand experience that is relevant to their current situation. By carefully considering the context in which your target audience is engaging with your brand, you can create experiences that are memorable and impactful.

Example: A beauty brand hosting a pop-up store at a fashion week event, offering makeovers and showcasing their latest products to beauty and fashion influencers and attendees, tapping into the contextual interests of the target audience attending the event at that moment.

5. Product Packaging

“Design a more effective and appealing package for target audience”

Product packaging is the first thing a customer sees when they encounter a product. It serves as a critical marketing tool that can influence a customer’s purchasing decision. Contextual product packaging refers to the practice of designing product packaging that is tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the target audience. This type of packaging can be more effective in capturing the attention of the target audience and communicating the key features and benefits of the product.

Example: A food company can design packaging for a quick and easy lunch option like a meal box with partitions that has all food items in one box, for busy professionals on-the-go.

6. The Power of Association

“Your brand can be positively or negatively impacted by the associations it makes”

The power of association refers to the impact that the associations a brand makes with other people, products, or ideas have on its overall perception and reputation. Brands can be positively or negatively impacted by the associations they make, so it is important to carefully consider the associations they create and promote. By understanding the context of the target audience and carefully choosing associations that align with their values and preferences, brands can improve their overall image and increase their impact.

Example: A luxury car brand can associate itself with high-end events and personalities, such as a celebrity athlete or an upscale fashion show, to create a positive and aspirational image in the minds of its target audience. On the other hand, the brand can avoid association with negative events or topics, such as environmental pollution, to maintain its positive image.

7. Event-Based Marketing

“Stay up-to-date on popular events and cultural happenings, then create marketing experiences that tap into those events”

Event-based marketing involves capitalizing on current events and popular cultural happenings to create relevant and engaging marketing experiences. The idea is to stay up-to-date on popular events and cultural trends, then use this context to create marketing initiatives that tap into those events. By doing so, brands can connect with their target audience and create a stronger emotional connection. This can be achieved through a variety of means, such as social media campaigns, event sponsorships, or content marketing initiatives. The key is to create marketing initiatives that are relevant to the context of the event, and that resonate with your target audience in a meaningful way.

Example: A clothing brand to launch a limited-edition line of merchandise that ties into a major sporting event, such as the World Cup or the Olympics. The brand can use the excitement and buzz surrounding the event to promote the products, which can help drive sales and increase brand awareness.

8. Behavior-Based Marketing

“Create more impactful and effective marketing experiences for a target audience based on their behavior”

Behavior-based marketing involves analyzing and understanding the behavior patterns of the target audience, and using this information to create marketing experiences that are relevant, personalized and impactful. Marketers can track the behavior of their target audience across various touchpoints, including website interactions, email interactions, and social media activity, to gain a deeper understanding of their preferences, motivations, and tendencies. This information can then be used to create marketing experiences that resonate with the target audience and drive more effective outcomes, such as increased engagement, conversion, and brand loyalty.

Example: A clothing retailer wants to create a more impactful and effective marketing experience for its target audience. The retailer analyzes the behavior of its target audience, and discovers that they are particularly interested in sustainable and eco-friendly clothing options. Based on this information, the retailer creates a marketing campaign that highlights its sustainable clothing options and emphasizes the environmental benefits of choosing these products. The campaign is designed to appeal directly to the interests and values of the target audience, and drives more effective outcomes as a result.

9. Emotion-Driven Marketing

“Create experiences that resonate with their emotions”

Emotion-driven marketing refers to the practice of creating marketing experiences that evoke an emotional response in the target audience. By connecting with the emotions of the target audience, marketers can create experiences that are more impactful and memorable.

Example: An animal shelter can create a heart-wrenching advertisement to raise awareness about animal abuse and encourage people to adopt pets.

10. Influencer Marketing

“Partner with influential individuals who align with the brand’s values and target audience”

In the case of influencer marketing, the surrounding context would include the influencer’s network, followers, and platform. By partnering with an influencer who aligns with the brand’s values and target audience, brands can tap into the Context Effect to create more impactful and relatable marketing experiences.

Example: The athlete or influencer can promote the brand on their social media channels, showcasing their own use of the products and endorsement. This type of influencer marketing can help the brand reach a wider audience of people interested in health, fitness, and sports nutrition, and can also help to build credibility and trust with potential customers who look up to the athlete or influencer as a source of inspiration and guidance.

There are several cognitive biases that are related to or similar to the context effect, including:

Framing Effect: This bias refers to the way in which the way information is presented can impact a person’s perception and decision-making. For example, the same information can be perceived as more or less risky depending on the way it is framed.

Anchoring Effect: This bias refers to the way in which a person’s initial impression or starting point can impact their subsequent perceptions and decisions. For example, a person may be more likely to agree to a price for a product if they are first presented with a higher price and then offered a discount.

Availability Bias: This bias refers to the way in which a person’s decisions and perceptions can be impacted by the information that is most easily available to them. For example, if a person is more likely to remember and base their opinions on news articles that they have read recently, rather than a broader range of information.

Confirmation Bias: This bias refers to the way in which a person tends to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs and opinions, while disregarding information that challenges them. This can lead to a distorted perception of reality and an inability to make well-informed decisions.

Priming Effect: This bias refers to the way in which exposure to certain stimuli can unconsciously impact a person’s subsequent thoughts and behaviors. For example, exposure to certain words or images can prime a person to behave in a certain way, without them realizing it.


“The Power of Context in Marketing” by Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2015/06/the-power-of-context-in-marketing)

“Context Is Key: How to Leverage the Power of Context in Marketing” by MarketingProfs (https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/31442/context-is-key-how-to-leverage-the-power-of-context-in-marketing)

“The Framing Effect in Marketing: How to Reframe Your Message for Maximum Impact” by HubSpot (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/framing-effect-marketing)

“The Framing Effect: Understanding How to Reframe Your Message” by Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/06/07/the-framing-effect-understanding-how-to-reframe-your-message/?sh=4e24e4a16f0e)

“The Anchoring Effect: How it Can Make or Break Your Sales” by Inc. (https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-anchoring-effect-how-it-can-make-or-break-your-sales.html)

“The Power of Anchoring in Marketing” by Digital Shift (https://digitalshift.com/2020/05/26/the-power-of-anchoring-in-marketing/)

“How Confirmation Bias Affects Your Marketing” by Content Marketing Institute (https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2020/06/confirmation-bias-marketing/)

“Overcoming Confirmation Bias in Marketing and Sales” by HubSpot (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/overcoming-confirmation-bias-in-marketing-and-sales)

“The Power of Priming: How to Use It in Marketing” by Digital Shift (https://digitalshift.com/2019/06/06/the-power-of-priming-how-to-use-it-in-marketing/)

“Priming Effect in Marketing: How to Subconsciously Influence Your Customers” by Forbes (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/07/24/priming-effect-in-marketing-how-to-subconsciously-influence-your-customers/?sh=2b8094366d57)