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The rule of 7: The power of social media

6 min read
the rule of 7

The rule of 7 is a longstanding marketing principle based on the idea that the more contact you have with your customers, the easier it is to develop profitable relationships and close more sales. Whether you’re an individual, a small business, or a large multi-national entity, the marketing rule of 7 can help you increase brand exposure, optimize each touchpoint in the buyer journey, and communicate more effectively with your target customers. What’s more, the rule of 7 can be applied to other areas of your business, too, including your employer brand.

In today’s post, we are going to explain what the rule of 7 is, the psychology behind it, and how you can use this marketing principle to grow your business. We will also discuss how you can use the rule of 7 to enhance your employer brand and attract top talent to your business. 

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What is the rule of 7? 

The rule of 7 is based on the marketing principle that customers need to see your brand at least 7 times before they commit to a purchase decision. This concept has been around since the 1930s when movie studios first coined the approach. These studios realized that they needed to expose spectators to advertising materials an average of 7 times before they committed to a trip to the movie theatre. The marketing principle took off from there and is still being used by brands around the world to this day.

The marketing rule of 7 is not an exact science. It’s not it case of exposing your brand to consumers exactly 7 times in order to generate guaranteed sales. It’s more about enhancing the visibility of your brand or products. The more times a consumer interacts with your brand, the more memorable it will become, and the more likely you are to build brand trust and credibility

This is especially true in the modern world where consumers are constantly bombarded with information. If you can create 7 memorable brand experiences and target the right people, then it will be much easier to stand out from your competitors.

The best thing about this marketing principle is that it can be applied to any business. The strategies you use don’t matter so much; what’s important is that you maintain brand visibility and create positive interactions that reflect well on your brand

The psychology behind the rule of 7

Although the idea behind the rule of 7 was first introduced in the 1930s, the psychology behind it wasn’t defined until 1956

Cognitive psychologist George Miller published a paper in 1956 known as “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information”. This paper proposed that “humans can effectively process no more than seven units, or chunks, of information, plus or minus two pieces of information, at any given time”.  The Harvard University psychology professor reached this conclusion after conducting a series of memory recall experiments. He also explained that it’s important to organize information into smaller bite-size chunks as this makes it easier for people to recall it. In other words, people are far more likely to remember something that they see little and often rather than being overwhelmed with everything at once.

Miller’s Law is important because it helps us understand how we process and recall information. And this has influenced how we organize information in a variety of fields, including education, business and technology.

In terms of marketing, it explains why the rule of 7 is so effective. By organizing brand interactions into shorter, more frequent interactions (small chunks), people are far more likely to remember a brand. And this makes sense when you think about it. You are far more likely to trust and buy into a brand that you are familiar with, after all. 

The key to the rule of 7 is simplicity and repetition.

Rule of 7 in modern marketing 

So, how has the rule of 7 changed since the age of digitalization? Do we need to adapt the strategies we use for this marketing principle?

Actually, not really. The same principle still applies. If anything, it’s more important than ever now

Stop for a moment and think about how many ads and promotions you see on a daily basis. You’re probably not even aware of half of them as digital marketing has become such a big part of our daily lives. Every time we go online, we are met with digital ads and personalized algorithms. The average person processes a huge amount of information every day. This means that brands need to be unique and memorable to stand out from the crowd

Thankfully, we now have access to a lot more tools that can help with the marketing rule of 7. In the 1930s, advertising was limited to ads in newspapers, posters in shop windows, and billboards. These days we have access to multiple platforms for raising brand awareness. This makes it a lot easier to interact with your target audience and create memorable experiences that leave a lasting impression

Here are a few examples:

  • TV adverts
  • Social media posts
  • Influencer marketing campaigns
  • Calls from company representatives
  • Online reviews of your company
  • Paid social media or magazine ads
  • Emails and newsletters
  • Online banners
  • Mentions in blogs or articles
  • Billboards
  • Product launch parties and events

Tips for growing businesses 

The touchpoints we just saw are all opportunities to explain who you are and what your brand can offer consumers. Social media is particularly effective at engaging customers and forming meaningful connections. And with the right tools and campaigns, it is very easy to use the rule of 7 to capture the attention of your audience.

Here are a few tips to help you grow your business using the rule of 7:

  • Get to know your customers: The only way to target your audience with relevant content is by understanding who they are and what interests them. A good way to do this is to develop buyer personas. Research your market and define the key demographics and characteristics of your typical buyer. Find out what interests them and then personalize your interactions accordingly. Surveys, polls, and social listening tools can also be a great way to get to know your customers well enough to engage them with your brand.
  • Use social media to your advantage. If you aren’t already active on social media, now is the time to build a brand presence there. Social media is perhaps the best platform for communicating short, frequent messages to your target market.
  • Share stories and build narratives. Storytelling is one of the most effective strategies for forming memorable connections. It brings people together and engages audiences. Use this strategy in your social media posts.
  • Share videos and other forms of visual content. As the old phrase goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. Video and images are far more likely to leave a lasting impression than long streams of text. These formats are also far more accessible. Plus, you can communicate your key message much faster. And this is vital for the rule of 7.


Other areas where the marketing principle applies 

We’ve seen how the rule of 7 can be used in marketing, but there are other areas where you can apply this marketing principle to grow your business

As we mentioned above, the marketing rule of 7 is used to organize information in a number of industries including education and technology. Teachers and professors use it with lesson planning to encourage memory retention, for example. It’s also very useful in project management and quality control management. That’s why so many large and small business managers incorporate the principle in a variety of workflows in their organization.

In terms of HR, you can use the rule of 7 to enhance your employer brand and attract top talent to your business. The principle is the same. You just need to change the focus from customers to potential employees. Instead of marketing small, frequent interactions to attract buyers to your brand, you need to target job seekers and sell your EVP.

Use the rule of 7 to design employer branding strategies that increase your visibility on job sites and social media. Create unique content that helps you stand out from your competitors and stick in the mind of candidates. Design outreach campaigns that help you develop trust and credibility in the job market. Boost your employer brand presence on as many social media platforms as possible. When a potential employee gets in touch, connect with them and follow up regularly. 

Essentially, you can use the rule of 7 to continuously remind the public why you are such a great place to work.

FAQ about the rule of 7

1. What is the Rule of 7 in marketing?

The Rule of 7 is a marketing principle suggesting that customers need to see a brand at least 7 times before making a purchase decision.

2. How did the Rule of 7 originate?

It originated in the 1930s from movie studios, realizing the need for multiple exposures to advertisements before influencing audience behavior.

3. Why is the Rule of 7 effective?

It enhances brand visibility and memorability, building trust and credibility through frequent, positive interactions.

4. What’s the psychology behind the Rule of 7?

Based on George Miller’s 1956 research, it suggests humans effectively process information in small chunks, making frequent brand interactions more memorable.

5. Has digitalization changed the Rule of 7?

The core principle remains the same, but digitalization offers more tools and platforms to create memorable brand experiences and stand out among competitors.

6. What are some examples of tools to apply the Rule of 7 in marketing?

Tools include TV adverts, social media posts, influencer marketing, online reviews, emails, online banners, and product launch events.

7. How can businesses grow using the Rule of 7?

Businesses can grow by understanding their customers, using social media effectively, sharing stories, and using visual content like videos and images.

8. Can the Rule of 7 be applied outside of marketing?

Yes, it’s useful in education, technology, project management, quality control, and enhancing employer brands for attracting top talent.

9. How can the Rule of 7 enhance an employer brand?

It can increase visibility on job sites and social media, create unique content, design outreach campaigns, and establish a strong presence on various platforms.

Cat Symonds is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Originally from Wales, she studied Spanish and French at the University of Swansea before moving to Barcelona where she lived and worked for 12 years. She has since relocated back to Wales where she continues to build her business, working with clients in Spain and the UK.  Cat is the founder of The Content CAT: Content And Translation, providing content development and translation services to her clients. She specializes in corporate blogs, articles of interest, ghostwriting, and translation (SP/FR/CA into EN), collaborating with a range of companies from a variety of business sectors. She also offers services to a number of NGOs including Oxfam Intermón, UNICEF, and Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership.  For more information or to contact Cat visit her website ( or send her a message through LinkedIn.

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