Very few consumers like advertising. However, most of them do enjoy watching adverts. Well, good adverts. But what is it about marketing that captures the attention of customers and drives them to make a purchase?
Intense research into the mind has enabled neuroscientists to understand more about how the brain works. And the advertising sector is sitting up and taking notice.
How people think and feel has an impact on their purchasing decisions. Fortune 500 brands have taken an interest into the minds of consumers since at least the 1950’s. Politicians have been influencing how people think and feel for thousands of years (ever heard of Trump?).
Thanks to the internet, information about the mind is filtering out to a broader audience, and marketers from businesses of all sizes are taking an active interest in neuromarketing.
Most marketers already know that you have to appeal to the emotions of your audience. This is useful to know, but it doesn’t always help advertisers grasp how to appeal to the emotional state of your audience.
Researchers have discovered that most purchasing decisions are made in the reptilian region of the brain. This is the least evolved part of the brain and is mostly responsible for the survival instincts of mankind.
The key point to note here is that survival instincts are not only physical, they are emotional states as well. This is why people feel compelled to do something that makes them feel good like eat “comfort food.” Humans need an emotional stimulus.
However, emotions are often in a state of flux throughout the day. It is impossible for marketers to convince consumers to buy at any given moment. This is where a knowledge of neuromarketing is significant.
Memory: People Forget 90% of What You Tell Them
Although the brain is a powerful supercomputer, we are prone to forgetfulness. The reason for this is because the neural networks in the brain dissolve information we do not deem useful at any given moment.
Memory is strengthened by repetition. Because we are habitual creatures, the memory only retains information that aligns with our interests and experiences. However, we are able to recall memories fairly easily even if they are sometimes a little vague.
Research conducted on the ‘forgetting curve’ found that people will forget an average of 50% of information they take in within the hour. After 24 hours the brain has dissolved 70 percent of the information, and after a week, most people will only remember about 10%.
The reason for this is because the brain is flooded with sensory information. In order to prevent a system overload, the brain suppresses irrelevant information so that we can concentrate on more important snippets.
Although the brain will purge 90% of the information it absorbs, it does retain all of it in the subconscious – and the subconscious has an impact on emotions. Furthermore, emotions are linked with thoughts and experiences. This is what marketers should be focusing on.
Around two-thirds of the information that filters into the brain comes from vision. Furthermore, neuroscientists have discovered that people remember more information from visual cues than any other format.
Researchers discovered that at least 65% of people are visual learners and can remember more than 2000 images with an accuracy rate of 90% or more.
Words are abstract and more difficult for the brain to compute and retain. Visuals on the other hand are concrete and easier to remember. Not only that, but visual content in marketing is easier to recall.
In short, our brains are designed for looking.
Because the brain is so responsive to pictures and visual information, it is the best way for marketers to communicate with consumers. Colour is arguably the strongest weapon in your arsenal.
A study conducted by Berkeley University in 2009 showed that certain colours have a relationship with moods and opinions.
Blues and greens are often used by medical companies because they are associated with health and well-being. Reds and yellows are used by fast-food chains because they promote a feeling of immediacy.
Have you ever been drawn to a product in the supermarket because you like the packaging? Of course you have. That’s how the brain works.
In today’s marketing landscape, colour psychology is prominent in logos, marketing designs and packaging. The trick in neuromarketing is to combine the right colours with the right images.
Movement is another way to grab the attention of consumers. You will probably have experienced this on numerous occasions yourself. When you see something flash out of the corner of your eye, you are naturally drawn to it.
There are many specific reasons why people respond to visuals that can be scientifically proven, but the simple fact of the matter is that our brains need stimulation – and it is simple ideas that are easy to process that have the most positive effects.
Matching Mental Models
One of the first things we focus on when we are born are faces. Neuroscientists think this is because the brain is hardwired to recognise faces. It is known as the fusiform face area.
In marketing, faces have been proven to capture attention among visual clutter, build familiarity and trust between consumers and brands, and most importantly, make people feel something.
Yes, faces promote emotional cues. Researchers think this is because we naturally empathise with each other and take an emotional interest in people more than we do in objects.
Price is naturally a consideration consumers take into account when making a purchasing decision. In a time when consumer perception is focused on value for money, the product pricing plays a significant role.
The brain not only registers an actual price tag. The perceived value of a product can be determined by how the price tag looks.
A study published by the Journal of Consumer Psychology discovered that prices with punctuation, decimals and syllables appear to be higher in the minds of consumers.
For example, $2,999 looks like a bigger number than $2999. Researchers also found another reason: prices are perceived to be higher when they have more syllables in them because the auditory representation stores the magnitude of the price and makes the brain think it appears higher.
When you include a comma, $2,999 reads as two-thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine. If you drop the comma, consumers read the price as two, nine, nine, nine.
Money symbols can also prompt behavioural patterns. You may have noticed restaurants omit the price prefix on their menus. Rather than using a price symbol ($19), the cost is given as 19 in order to minimise the money aspect.
The mind works in mysterious ways. But essentially people are creatures of habit. If you understand how the mind works and incorporate that knowledge into your marketing campaigns, you should find your ad content is more persuasive.