Shoppers Interacting with Emotional Branding

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158794411-1As I aimlessly surfed the web the other day as I often do during commercials of The Real Housewives of Orange County (guilty pleasure, I know)…I came across an old article in a well known UK paper (The Telegraph) that discussed an age-old topic of which I couldn’t wait to dive further into: Subliminal Messaging. Is it real? Are there, in fact, devious advertising companies that secretly sneak words or images into advertisements and commercials in order to subconsciously “encourage” consumers to buy products? Has this or will this lead to big corporate tycoons, or even government agencies “brainwashing” the masses through our own television sets? Well, no. It doesn’t quite happen that way. It does, however, happen to a certain degree in the marketing world, and probably more so than the average shopper may realize. Truth is, the mystery of subliminal messaging takes several forms, and in my opinion has more to do with psychology than anything else.

With a quick glance of your surroundings while standing on any busy street corner in any moderately populated metropolis, you are likely to absorb dozens of advertisements in just your own line of vision. What most people aren’t thinking of, though, is that there is a really good chance that every color, image, font size, line direction, sound and even smell has been carefully and meticulously chosen by trained professionals. It is kind of like professional brain branding, if you will. The human brain is, in many ways, more inclined to make decisions based on emotional responses. If we feel scared, we run. If we feel happy, we want more. Believe it or not, studies have actually indicated that these emotional responses are triggered ever so slightly by various forms of advertising.

474026019-300x300For instance, it is said that the color yellow can actually illicit feelings of anxiety, while the color pink will make one feel calm. In addition, images that appear horizontal to the human eye will illicit feelings of peacefulness while vertical images illicit feelings of excitement. Not to mention the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch, known largely for that “youthful and beachy” scent, sprays that exact iconic perfume throughout their store on the hour every hour. This strategy draws in customers almost as steadily as the half naked models that stand by the front door. We can certainly understand based on these findings and others like them why advertisers would capitalize on this kind of knowledge. It was only a matter of time before big name brands would join forces with psychology in order to make you, the consumer, more likely to purchase their products and services. If a store owner can trigger shoppers to buy beautiful clothing by playing certain types of music or painting the store a particular color, why not?

In actuality, it is a fact that the entire layout of many stores, from super markets to boutiques, is designed precisely to make consumers more compelled to spend money. The positioning of the mannequins, the choice of music and the volume, the paint colors, and placement of displays, even the lighting have all been carefully picked as a way to make you feel a certain way without you even noticing. And this is how “emotional branding” works: The branding causes a reaction, invokes an emotional response, and stimulates a mood or a particular sentiment, thus a connection has been established. The consumer has undergone an experience–they’ve cemented a memory in only a few moments and from there grows loyalty, pleasure and ultimately…a happy buyer.

I guess these findings are what brought about my final question: is all of this ok? Do we, as consumers, mind that the evolving study of the human brain has become a tool used by advertisers to enhance sales? Or is this just a sneaky use of “subliminal messaging,” manipulating the ignorant shopper to buy things he or she probably doesn’t even need? Are we being used, or does all of this just make sense? Furthermore, these questions relate impeccably

ss on www.smashingmagazine.com on this very idea of “emotional branding.” The article explains that globalization in conjunction with low cost technology are making products interchangeable with very little individuality: as a result, today’s brands must go beyond face value and tap into the deepest subconscious emotions of consumers in order to succeed in the marketplace. 465163023-1-300x200

It appears that consumers may purchase items based more on feelings than functionality, after all, humans are creatures of emotion and not just logic. The way I see it is this type of psychological marketing is relatively harmless. Whether you want to call it subliminal messaging or emotional branding, I don’t think consumers will ever be able to avoid it. I suppose the only words of wisdom I can

to an article I came acrooffer are only to think hard about the next time you buy a coffee, cola or even a pair of shoes…whose idea was it really?

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