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Repetition, repetition, repetition….

Have you ever watched a TV series and found yourself liking the characters more as they became familiar? We’ve probably all heard the mantra of “repetition, repetition, repetition….” in relation to making sure that our key messages are remembered, but familiarity has even more profound effects at a psychological level.

Mere exposure effect

The mere exposure effect describes how, without any conscious awareness, we prefer things when they become familiar to us. This means that we will tend to choose familiar things, even if they may not be the ‘best’ choice for us. And of course, the same is true for veterinary practice clients. So if your team, clinic or the recommendations being made don’t feel familiar, you can bet your bottom dollar that your clients won’t like them as much as they could.

And why does it matter if they like them? Well, their subconscious will assign other important judgements to them simply based on the fact that they like them. Something that’s liked is more likely to be trusted, believed, and they’ll assume it’s more popular with other people too.

woman and her dog admire together the scenery

So how can you use the mere exposure effect to make sure that you achieve the best outcomes for clients and patients? Well, making sure that your clients have as much contact as possible with your clinic and team is key. Whether it’s through social media, your website, or in-person in your clinic you need to make sure that your clients are interacting with your team and your brand regularly, and that those experiences are positive.

Putting mere exposure into action

Repetition of recommendations is important to increase familiarity. So make sure that your team make consistent recommendations and that information shared on social media and through your website is also consistent with the verbal recommendations made.

You can also increase the sense of familiarity simply by making it easier for your clients to process, read, or understand information. This is due to ‘perceptual fluency’. Perceptual fluency makes it more important than ever that your website, social content and marketing comms are designed and written well. More on perceptual fluency next time, but if you’d like to get your website or social media content plan audited in the meantime, then don’t hesitate to get in touch!


Zajonc, R, B. (1968) “Attitudinal effects of mere exposure” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Monograph Supplement, 9 (2, pt 2) (1968), pp. 1-27

Consumer behavior; Science and Practice. Authors: Frank R. Kardes, Maria L. Cronley, Thomas W. Cline

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