A successful business is about convincing consumers that your product or service has value and that it needs to be purchased to obtain that value. That success in turn provides the means to keep operating, pay expenses and make a profit.

Attention and awareness are gold for a business trying to grow and penetrate a new market. However, many chalk up awareness as something that happens after one does enough marketing or advertising.

And that’s where the importance of building popularity gets lost. Instead, awareness has to be cultivated. And there are seven clear ways a business can do this in merchandise management and focused marketing:

1. Awareness should be automatic

When people hear a loud noise, an unexpected yell, a bright light or similar they react and turn towards it. What’s going on? Where did that come from? What is it? People don’t think under this condition; they automatically react. Ideally, a business wants consumers to react automatically or close to it. The awareness and following reaction should just be mechanical versus a long, thought-out process.

2. The product or service is part of the consumer’s paradigm

The trick to entering a paradigm is to get the consumer to become familiar and then accepting the regular presence of a product or service. For example, everyone is familiar with Intel and computers. Why? Because the brand has become part of the desktop paradigm.

3. Disrupt the normal conditions with a positive change

People pay attention to changes that don’t fit the norm. Where the change is negative, they steer away. However, where the change is positive, it creates an opportunity for people to become very interested. For example, a new product or service that makes a regular chore or function considerably easier is a disruption. People notice it and want to tell others.

4. Create a reward for being interested

Dopamine is the chemical in the brain that gets released when we receive a reward. And our brain wants more of it all the time. So we quickly align rewards with those things that trigger and repeatedly create more dopamine. This biological driver should not be ignored; it’s often a primal driver that gets people to want or buy something even if logically they should do something else.

5. Reputation matters

Popularity can be generated quickly by a new, immediate change or huge sensation, but it doesn’t sustain when the “newness” dies down. Instead, it’s a business reputation that sustains popularity and keeps it going. Referrals, good opinions, recommendation all build and continue to spread awareness of a reputation. That continued cycle solidifies a market and customer retention over time.

6. Curiosity killed the cat

People frequently stop to look at something interesting and new. Curiosity is one of the key aspects of humanity that makes us different animals which typically run away from the unknown, not towards it. Ignoring people’s natural habit of being curious about the new is literally leaving money on the table.

7. Keeping up with the Joneses

We seek validation from our peers. And that feeling comes in the form of acknowledgment from others when we appear to achieve a level of success or accomplishment. Products and services are one way that quick acknowledgment is achieved from peers. A business using this theme frequently sees its popularity steadily go up.

Businesses can use other methods for successful merchandise management, but the seven areas above have proven to be the ones that have consistent returns. Understanding the science behind these areas gives a business far more ammunition in sales, and it’s a lot better than just building mousetraps.