Consumers have always suspected marketers. Of something.
But this “something” has always been elusive. Hard to pin down.
In the back of the mind of most consumers, there is a small voice – a remnant of our evolutionary instinct – that warns us of a potential risk, a trap. The limbic system is part of our pre-verbal brain that we commonly refer to as “gut instinct”. And because it works without language, we are often challenged to put these feelings into words. As a result, we are left with a sense of mistrust. Something vague. Indiscernible.
But the limbic brain is also the space of creativity. It is the place of imagination and symbolism. And it is the essential playground of the marketer.
Each day, as consumers are bombarded with 3000+ messages, it is the limbic brain that acts as a first level of defence. Most droll pieces of advertising or communication are discarded – with only the most creative and most relevant breaking through.
These days, marketers have to work even harder to cut through the noise and confusion. It’s not just about creativity. It’s also about psychology, human behaviour (change) and analytics. We need to cover all four.
Over the last few years, Australian TV show, Gruen Planet, has peeled back the layers of the mysterious advertising onion. It has laid bare the role of planning and strategy, creative, copy, image and production. Blogs like Adam Ferrier’s Consumer Psychologist provide insight and analysis into what people buy and why they do so.
Infographics like the one below, provide a neat way of understanding some of the techniques used in advertising – but my limbic brain also tells me that we need a different approach now. Sure these approaches will continue to work – but we need to go further. We need to build a different kind of marketing – one that does not set off the limbic alarm bells. We need to address the deficit of trust experienced by consumers.
What if we could create marketing with a purpose (not marketing with a cause). Imagine what that would mean for our customers. Imagine what it would mean for our employees.
And imagine what it would mean for the marketing industry.
Sound dangerous? Don’t worry, it’s just your limbic system acting up.