90-five per cent of our decision making is unconscious. At SXSW, I took a fascinating journey into the brain.
A panel featuring A.K. Pradeep, Brian Clark, Derek Halpern and Roger Dooley took the room through the unconscious responses that people make on the internet.
They discussed psychological studies that identified how we react to text, imagery, and the reasons we use social media. I’ll share three important learnings.
The first insight (but really no insight at all) was that the visual of an attractive woman “makes a man impatient and short-term oriented,” says Dooley. On a video-game website enrollment form three designs were tested among men. The first version was plain and had no women. The second design featured a headshot of a woman and the third showed cleavage. The version with the female had 65% more enrollment than the first and the boobs attributed to a 95% increase in enrollment from version one.
In fact, the title of this article may have just jettisoned the readership of my blog way over that of my colleagues. So this isn’t really news with Paris Hilton’s Carl’s Jr. car wash ad and the antics of GoDaddy, but it is a reminder, that at the end of the day, stereotypes aside, we are hardwired a certain way.
The second learning was about the Doppelganger effect. Researchers showed respondents pictures of themselves drinking Coca-Cola. The respondents desire to consume Coca-Cola increased simply from the visual. The brain is more receptive to places, people, and things, when we already see ourselves interacting with them. This means that dynamic content isn’t just about tailoring the product messaging we deliver as it does incorporating the personalised details of the person we’re talking to (with permission of course). Check out the technology at St. Bonaventure University’swww.BecomingExtraordinary.net (which actually uses your Facebook picture on a student ID card) andwww.TheDexterHitlist.com.
The brain is more receptive to places, people, and things, when we already see ourselves interacting with them.
Lastly, we are wired for storytelling. Researchers asked subjects to look at an animated drawing of a box that had one circle and two triangles floating out of it. They were asked to explain what they saw. Only a single respondent replied that they saw floating shapes. Every other respondent told a story complete with metaphors, characters, plotlines. Evolutionary psychologists explain that we need stories because that is how we define people and also how we define ourselves. The Wall Street Journal is acclaimed for one of the most powerful direct response ads in ad history.
It is simply 10 sentences and tells the story of 2 guys who went to school together, graduate together, go to work for the same company and ultimately one is running a department and the other is the President. The WSJ then says what made the difference was the things they learned along the way. People inserted themselves into that story and concluded “I need to read the WSJ so I can be the right guy in that story.” How many of the websites and Facebook pages that marketers create tell a story?
Evolutionary psychologists explain that we need stories because that is how we define people and also how we define ourselves.
There is an opportunity to be more explicit with our storytelling and for brands to get into that same state of mind that consumers live in every moment of their day. We have an opportunity through technology to insert our consumers directly into that story and use visuals that interest and motivate them. The more we understand the brain, the more we can successfully engage consumers who are currently only using 5% of the conscious brain to tell us what they want.
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