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Unlocking the Power of Halo Effect Marketing for Retailers (2023)

A strong brand image matters in a retail landscape saturated with options. One positive experience can lead to sales and build long-term brand loyalty. Conversely, a single negative incident can result in lost sales and a tainted brand image. Every interaction contributes to how consumers perceive your brand. 

The halo effect, a social psychology concept with powerful implications in retail marketing, allows brands to leverage positive customer feelings. Learn how retailers can harness the power of halo effectmarketing to amplify brand perception and drive sales.

What is the halo effect?

The halo effect is a cognitive bias where an individual’s overall impression of a person, brand, or product extends to influence their feelings about the entity’s other characteristics. The halo effect influences consumers’ perceptions of a brand or product based on a single positive experience or attribute. 

Coined by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1920, the term “halo effect” initially described how military officers gave soldiers high psychological ratings based on a single positive trait.

How does the halo effect work? 

In retail and marketing, the halo effect transfers positive feelings or attributes from one aspect of a brand to its other products, services, or characteristics. For example, suppose consumers have a positive experience with a high-quality product from a clothing brand. In that case, they are more likely to assume that other products from the same brand are also high quality. 

The halo effect enhances brand perception, leading to greater brand loyalty. A positive impression in one area can uplift the entire product range and even extend to the company’s corporate reputation.

This phenomenon is one of many powerful marketing tools that can boost brand equity or value and optimize marketing efforts. It’s why many brands invest in celebrity endorsements and why a positive experience with one product can lead to brand loyalty and higher sales for other products from the same brand.

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Examples of the halo effect

The halo effect shapes consumer behavior by influencing brand perception and driving sales. To illustrate its impact, here are three examples:


Apple’s strong brand image in personal computers has contributed to a loyal customer base that extends to other product lines like the Apple Watch. When the company ventured into original television programming with shows like The Morning Show and Ted Lasso, the existing positive impression around the Apple brand provided a strong foundation for these new endeavors.

Apple computer sales and the success of its original programming reinforce Apple’s overall brand strength, even in product lines that have little to do with its foundational retail items.

Michael Jordan and Nike

Nike’s partnership with basketball legend Michael Jordan is an example of the power of celebrity endorsements in marketing. This relationship spiked sales, solidified long-term brand loyalty, and created a cultural phenomenon around the Air Jordan sneaker. Jordan’s athleticism, charisma, and success on the basketball court have enhanced Nike’s brand image. 


Initially famous for its innovative vacuum cleaners, Dyson extended its product line to include air purifiers, fans, and the viral Dyson Airwrap hair styler. Consumers’ positive impression of its vacuums extended to these new products, in part due to the halo effect. This successful brand extension increased sales and reinforced Dyson’s reputation for cutting-edge products and quality across a range of household items.

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Halo effect benefits

The halo effect can enhance brand perception and cement customer loyalty, leading to more efficient marketing efforts and long-term success. Here’s how it can benefit a company:

Enhanced brand image and brand equity

A positive experience with one product can significantly elevate a brand’s overall image. This enhanced image becomes a self-sustaining cycle that companies can leverage with minimal additional marketing budget.

Increased customer loyalty

A brand that harnesses the halo effect often enjoys increased customer loyalty. Positive experiences with one product can translate into loyal customers who are willing to try other products from the same brand. This deepens the brand’s relationship with customers, fostering long-term success.

Efficient marketing efforts

Brands benefiting from a positive halo can use this to make their marketing efforts more efficient. For example, a well-chosen celebrity endorsement can quickly elevate a brand’s image. This initial boost can make subsequent aspects of a marketing strategy more manageable and cost-effective.

Halo effect costs

While the halo effect can bolster brand image and customer loyalty, it also has drawbacks that can negatively impact a brand: 

Reverse halo effect

Also known as the “horn effect,” this occurs when a negative experience with one product tarnishes the entire brand and leaves a lasting negative impression. This can have a cascading negative impact on other products under the same brand, affecting overall brand perception and sales. It can quickly undo previous positive marketing efforts.

Skewed perception

The halo effect is ultimately a form of cognitive bias. This can lead to a skewed evaluation of a product’s quality and features. Because of this bias, consumers may overlook flaws or disproportionately prioritize positive attributes, creating errors in how they evaluate certain products. Issues may be overlooked in the short term but could eventually come to light. 


Brands that rely too much on the halo effect may become complacent in product development and quality control. They might assume their strong reputations will carry new products, neglecting other vital facets of product development and marketing. This can lead to innovation stagnation and a loss of competitive edge.

How to use halo effect marketing as a retail brand

  1. Leverage influencer marketing
  2. Focus on flagship products
  3. Expand product lines strategically
  4. Optimize customer experience
  5. Invest in quality advertising

Leveraging the halo effect can be a powerful strategy for retail brands looking to enhance customer loyalty and drive sales. Here are five practical ways to execute halo effectmarketing:

1. Leverage influencer marketing

While many retail brands may not have the budget for a high-profile celebrity endorsement, influencer marketing can be a cost-effective alternative. Influencers build trust and rapport with their followers, often driving engagement around the products they endorse.

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2. Focus on flagship products

Developing and heavily marketing a flagship product can establish a strong reputation for your entire brand. Customers often associate the high quality of a flagship product with other products from the same brand. This positive impression can spill over into your entire product lineup, boosting sales and customer retention.

3. Expand product lines strategically

After you establish a strong brand or product, consider expanding your product line to complement your existing offerings. This form of brand extension can create new revenue streams without the expense of launching a line from scratch. Leverage your existing brand strength to familiarize your existing customer base with your new products.

4. Optimize customer experience

Create a positive customer experience in a physical store, on your website, and wherever else you sell your products. This encourages positive feedback and develops loyal customers. Exceptional customer service can become a key component of your marketing strategy, boosting short-term sales and long-term brand loyalty.

5. Invest in qualityadvertising

High-quality and memorable advertising campaigns can create a halo effect that enhances brand perception and drives sales. Whether you use print ads, digital marketing campaigns, or billboards, focus on quality and message consistency to boost your brand’s image. This improved perception amplifies your other marketing efforts and contributes to your brand’s overall strength.

Halo effect marketing FAQ

What is an example of a halo effect?

One example of the halo effect is Apple’s strong reputation in personal computers positively affecting its other ventures, like its mobile devices and streaming platform.

What are examples of the halo effect in ads?

With Nike’s advertising campaigns featuring Michael Jordan, the athlete’s positive attributes and reputation transferred to the Nike brand, boosting brand image and increasing sales.

What is the halo effect in marketing celebrities?

In this context, the halo effect refers to the transfer of positive impressions or qualities of the celebrity to the brand they endorse.

Does the halo effect increase sales?

Yes, the halo effect can increase sales by enhancing brand image and encouraging loyal customers to try other products from the same brand.

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