How Marketing Affects the Brain

Posted by: Matt Thompson Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Do you know how to engage your target audience’s brains and emotions simultaneously? A catchphrase in the marketing world is ‘neuromarketing’, which refers to the process of scientifically determining why people purchase certain items and what things affect their decision making process when it comes to the things they purchase. If the reasons people buy certain items can be pinpointed, that information can then be used to create positive and meaningful mental and emotional connections in order to create successful marketing campaigns that specifically appeal to consumer’s heart and mind equally. Great marketing campaigns appeal to a target audience on a level that is subconscious. People have a gut reaction to inputs from outside sources in three seconds or fewer. Emotions process inputs five times faster than your conscious brain. That’s why appealing to emotions makes a much more lasting impression than appealing to rational thought alone.

Marketing that is compelling and influential affects the brain through more than just perceptions and rational thought. Powerful marketing targets consumers by emotional persuasion and creating mental connections to products and services. When you hear a certain jingle or phrase or even see colors paired together in a certain way, your mind automatically goes to thinking of a particular brand. It happens to us all every day, whether we realize it’s happening or not. When you hear “I’m lovin’ it” or see red and yellow paired together in just the right way, you automatically think of McDonalds. You can use this same technique to engage your target audience and help them to make subconscious mental and emotional connections with your brand too.

Humans and Their Perceptions

Before we delve into neuromarketing, it is important to understand how the brain works and how we gather information. The human brain processes images faster than any other medium, and it is estimated that we process up to 90 percent of all our information visually. In fact, the human brain can process an image in as little as 13 milliseconds, according to an article by MIT News. This rapid, subconscious processing is what allows us to form a gut reaction in less than three seconds, and when it comes to advertising and marketing, it’s that gut reaction you should target. Using photos, videos and even brand mascots can help you reach your target audience to build visual connections to your products and services.


Neuromarketing uses neuroscience techniques to study the brain and delve into how it is directly affected by product advertisements. In these studies, images or products are placed in front of individuals while they are connected to an MRI or EEG machine, which then records the activity in the brain.

One such study involved Frito-Lay and Cheetos, and was reported on by Forbes. The study found that the mess created by the orange powder coating on the Cheetos was pleasurable to the individuals as indicated by increased activity in the areas of the brain responsible for pleasure and fun. In response to the results of the study, Cheetos created an advertising campaign that directly targeted audiences through these senses in order to create mental and emotional connections to their product.

Using Neuromarketing to Promote Positive Experiences and Drive Sales

Good marketing appeals directly to the emotions and the subconscious minds of potential customers. Here are a few ways you can promote positive experiences and emotional and metal connections to your products and services in your advertising campaigns:

  • Get Visual.When creating marketing campaigns, use captivating images and videos to relate to and draw in your target audience. Brand mascots can also help humanize your brand by allowing your target audience to associate your business with a familiar face.
  • Sounds Like Success. Using music in your tv, radio, and online advertisements that conveys your brand's essence and values is an extremely effective way to grab your target audience’s attention and leave a memorable imprint.
  • Focus on Relating More Than Selling.Truthfully, your approach to sales matters just as much as your products or services. Consumers are more likely to be driven to purchase if they feel connected to your business, products or services. Relating to your target audience through emotions and mental connections is far more effective than hard selling. Hard selling often comes across too strong and can be seen as aggressive. By focusing more on relating to customers, you are actually focusing on building, maintaining and enhancing customer interactions in order to create long-term customer satisfaction and repeat sales opportunities.
  • Color is everything. Different colors evoke different thoughts and emotions in consumers. For example, red can mean anger, frustration, love or passion. Many restaurants use red in their logo and product packaging because red is attention grabbing and is thought to make consumers feel hungry. Trust in a comprehensive marketing professional who can help you decide what emotions you want your business, products or services to evoke in your potential customers and determine which colors will fit best with your brand.

The Total Package

It is estimated that potential customers need to hear your message an average of seven times before they remember it and respond. When developing a marketing strategy, incorporating neuromarketing across all platforms, like TV, print, radio, social media and your own branded website will create a powerful association with your brand in the minds of your customers.

To create your next successful marketing campaign,focus on creating positive experiences in the minds and hearts of your viewers, readers and listeners. This can be accomplished by using a color scheme that evokes certain feelings, utilizing actors and models with positive facial expressions and incorporating captivating visual and auditory elements.

At Splash, we know just what it takes to help you use marketing to appeal to your target audience’s brain and emotions and to build lasting relationships with your customers. To get more information on creating a positive marketing campaign and to get help reaching your target audience, contact us today!