For marketing tactics to truly work, they must be built around a brand identity that is recognizable, coherent, and likable. Simply put, a brand’s personality must make sense. (Cognitive dissonance is just bad for marketing.) We humans are wired to organize information into categories and narrative formats in order to make sense of the world. Our brains literally plug in missing info, info we’ve been led to expect from our experiences. We like order, and we will create it even when it’s not really there.
If you can read this, your mind is plugging in
missing information. We’ve been organizing
information into palatable forms since the dawn
of time. It’s called storytelling.
Of course you can’t create a coherent and likable brand without some dedication to consistency. Consistency is at the heart of any good relationship (both personal and professional). True brand consistency creates a corporate identity as strong as the identity of people you really know (and hopefully like). Authentic storytelling requires consistency and attention to detail. Great brands are easy to spot at a glance. They make their stories easier to understand quickly by utilizing color, font and language consistently. They also pay attention to the details, because buttoning up the details conveys authenticity and builds better brand awareness.
Even small details, such as a brand color palette,
communicate subtle messages about the brand.
This matters because people truly love brands. One neuroscience study found that people love brands more than friends and family.1 But the brands people love most are those that make emotional connections. And brands that make emotional connections can motivate action (that means ROI folks!).
People have been creating emotionally compelling narratives since the dawn of time. We call this storytelling. Using storytelling for better brand communications is hardly a new idea—many savvy PR and marketing professionals have been telling stories for a long time. These brand stories are made up of multiple parts: Message (what you say about your brand), Voice (how you say it), and Visuals (what your brand looks like). And while much has remained the same, the role of visuals in how these stories are crafted and shared has shifted. Visuals are now at the heart of brand identity, storytelling and content creation to a greater degree than ever before.
Brand visuals are so important because we humans are visually wired. Our eyes are our most important sense: Almost 50% of our brains are involved in visual processing and 70% of our sensory receptors are in our eyes.2 In addition, we process, understand and retain visual information better as well. We can get a sense of a visual scene in less the 1/10 of a second.3 This also affects recall. People remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they SEE and DO!4 And visuals make any claim more convincing. Wharton recently conducted a study that found 50% of an audience was convinced by a purely verbal presentation but 67% of the audience was convinced by a presentation that was verbal but accompanied by visuals.5
Think about how quickly you understand the image on the left:
It probably took you about 150 milliseconds to process even this unfamiliar symbol and another 100 milliseconds to understand it, versus a few seconds to read the written version on the right.
The fact is, we humans don’t live our lives in jargon or bullet points. So jargon and bullet points don’t really sell a story…or a product… or a service. We live our lives in color and narrative. We understand stories that have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Emotions are what make stories stick. Visuals trigger emotions. And emotions trigger dopamine (logic doesn’t). Dopamine is like a sticky for the brain—a sticky that tells our minds: “Remember this. This matters.” Reach out anytime if you want our two cents on tactics for telling customer-centric, audience-aligned stories that move an audience.
2: Merieb, E. N. & Hoehn, K.(2007). Human Anatomy & Physiology 7th Edition, Pearson International Edition.
3: Semetko, H. & Scammell, M. (2012). The SAGE Handbook of Political Communication, SAGE Publications. http://neomam.com/interactive/13reasons/#sthash.NcYLxwYn.dpuf
4: Lester, P. M. (2006). Syntactic Theory of Visual Communication. http://neomam.com/interactive/13reasons/#sthash.NcYLxwYn.dpuf
5: Wharton School of Business. ‘Effectiveness of Visual Language’. http://neomam.com/interactive/13reasons/#sthash.NcYLxwYn.dpuf