“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”
This is the 4th iteration of a 5 part blogs series. To read the previous parts follow this link: http://bit.ly/1lidaHR
It is time to take your next step in the psychology of influences. We are taking a look at priming and how it is implemented into your marketing strategy. Priming is an undervalued neuromarketing method but by far also one of the most interesting topic as well. Most marketers don’t seem to understand the impact of priming and have even a smaller clue of how to implement this technique. We have a lot of theory to cover here but ill throw in enough examples to keep it understandable.
Lets start with a definition, priming is: the implicit memory effect in which exposure to a stimulus influences response to a later stimulus. In simpler terms, your unconscious brain/reptilian brain is affected by stimulus like colours or smells, which creates an emotion that, will effect your next action. Let me give an example:
This exercise wants a person to fill in the missing letter to create a word. When you give people an image of a spoon, they are more likely to fill in a ‘U’ to create the word ‘Soup’. However if you show them a picture of a cleaning brush, they are more likely to fill in ‘A’ to create the word ‘Soap’.
The psychologist Malcolm Gladwell has written an entire book based on priming. Even though this book was not created for marketing purposes. His study has had revolutionary results, which can all be applied to your marketing strategy.
John Bargh had created an experiment that grabbed the interest for many Neuromarketers. J.Bargh conducted the following experiment:
Participants of the experiment where asked to enter a room and sit down. J.Bargh measures the speed of the participants walking into the building and sitting down on a chair.
The participants had to take a simple test. They had to create sentences from the words they saw on a piece of paper. All these words where associated with old age like: old, wrinkles, seventy, pills and checkers.
When the participants where done, J.Bargh again measured the speed at which they left the room which was significantly slower then when they entered.
This lead to believe that priming does not only Influence the way you think but also the way you behave. Countless studies and experiments followed by Neuromarketers, eager to find how these techniques can be applied to their marketing and communication plans.
We know that priming can affect both your thoughts and behaviour, but where do we go from here? Lets start with some smaller forms of implementation. Lets start with writing some copy. Copy is the text you write for your advertisement, website or even your tagline to sell your product or service.
Studies have shown that the first significant word in your copy has a 90% influence on the words that follow. Your initial emotion influences how you interpret the rest of the text. Let me show you another example. I am going to describe two people and you identify which person is a ‘saint’ and which is a ‘sinner’
Person 1: Love, Giving, Ordinary, Take, Dark
Person 2: Dark, Take, Ordinary, Giving, Love
Most people will identify ‘Person 1’ as the saint and ‘Person 2’ as the sinner, even though both have exactly the same words. The first emotion provoked in a consumer is extremely powerful and should be taken in to account when writing your copy.
For a website don’t make your homepage full of text. Only use words that provoke the emotion that you want your consumer to experience for the rest of the site. For your brand tagline this is equally important. Your tagline should not just be a description of your company; it should evoke an emotion that will be associated with your brand. For any copy that you write, keep this technique in mind.
Implementation to change behaviour is actually not as hard as it might initially seem. Restaurants and Supermarkets are really good at priming their customers. In the evening, restaurants noticed that if they played French music, people order more wine on average. Supermarkets often display fruits and flowers at the entrance of their store. This leads to higher sales in healthy product and consumer have an impression that this is a healthy high quality supermarket.
Think about the first impression you want to make, whether it is your employees smiling at your consumers or changing your shops layout to change buying behaviour.
Implement & Experiment
What makes priming one of the more difficult techniques for Neuromarketers is that the techniques are different for each individual business. Of course to some extent you can apply the examples used in this blog, but most likely it will not be optimised to your specific business. This is a trail and error process, you will need to experiment with these techniques in order for it to be effective.
In fact for most of the techniques I covered in the last few week there is room for experimentation. In my next and final blog post we will discuss how to experiment and become more familiar with Neuromarketing in general. With a lot of tips and guidelines, I will help you implement everything you have learned into you marketing or communication strategy.