How to Engage all the Senses to Reach Audiences Emotionally
“Ignore neuroscience at your 2015 marketing campaign’s peril,” says a recent article from Bizcommunity.com. The article cites work by researcher Colleen Backstrom, CEO of neuro-marketing agency Kaleidoscope, who suggests you’ll need more than just words to reach your audience.
We know 90% of decision-making comes from the emotional center of the brain. And we know that storytelling emotionally engages the brain better than language alone. Backstrom suggests that in order to build trust with our audiences, we need to go beyond words and even beyond stories. We need to engage all the senses.
First, she says, you need compelling visuals to make your brand “sticky” in the minds of your audience members. It turns out our brains process visual information better than text. Backstrom cites the infographic as an especially powerful format given that the average attention span of an individual is around eight seconds (roughly the same as that of a goldfish, in case you were curious).
You can incorporate other senses as well. The music you choose in your videos, at your events, and on the web affects customers on a brain-deep level. Consider fast vs. slow music, classical vs. dance tunes, and whether you want your audience to feel energized, relaxed, rebellious, solemn, or something else.
Some companies are even incorporating smell into the mix by infusing spaces with subliminal scents. Sounds crazy? Think about how the scent of fresh-baked cookies makes you FEEL. Textures, too, are important. Consider your business card and the impression heavy card stock makes vs. flimsy paper, smooth vs. textured finish, traditional rectangle vs. die-cut shape.
All these sensory details provide cues about your brand to your audience’s brains. Of course in an increasingly digital word, it can be tough to incorporate tactile, sensory elements in your marketing mix. So use them when you can. Consider the sounds and music in your videos or the paper and printing techniques in your direct mail pieces. Incorporate deliberate sights, sounds, and even smells in your event spaces. These sensory details have the potential to reach your audience where it matters—in the emotional center of the brain.
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