Our resident account manager, Amy Lloyd, enjoyed a spot of learning and development last week, when she attended a 30-minute workshop all about the human brain.
It, of course, had a link to the world of communications too. ‘Neuro PR: Strengthening the Brain and Brand Connection’ was a mid-morning session that looked at the role of the conscious and subconscious mind in brand building – and here’s a snippet of some of the key highlights…
- The brain is a powerhouse of perception
The session kicked off with a background into the machine that lives between our ears – the brain. Everything we think we know about the world is controlled and stored in this very space, and I learnt that there’s even enough room to store the whole internet inside your head – safe to say I was mind blown at this point.
- A brand is an emotional experience
Anyone in the communications world will know that a brand isn’t ‘just a logo’ – we retreat into our shells whenever we hear this – but one interesting point explored how humans’ emotion sets are linked to a brand, and how they’re a collection of associations that exist in our minds.
The feeling you get when you see a certain company’s product or advert, for instance, is linked to your brain’s ‘collection of associations’. This is where I discovered that we don’t see with our eyes, but rather we see and hear with our brain…
- How to embrace the subconscious mind
So many of our daily bodily functions happen without us thinking about it – breathing being a key one – and this is an area of the brain that’s always tuned in and working hard, even though we might not know it.
This is when we heard an example of the ‘Cocktail Party Effect’ – where if you’re in seemingly conscious, deep conversation with someone, your subconscious is scanning the room and picks up if someone says your name.
We may see an advert, listen to a podcast while doing the laundry, or skim over an article as we flick through a magazine and think we haven’t taken anything in or it hasn’t really impacted us, but in reality, this sneaks into our subconscious and is stored in our implicit memory. And when a brand sends out a regular drumbeat of content – through PR, marketing, social media, email, or digital ads – this is when it has more opportunity to enter people’s conscious and subconscious mind.
- Using neuroscience to build a successful brand
In-keeping with the ‘Cocktail Party Effect’ example, to get a brand noticed, it’s all about generating attention and standing out – as comms professionals, we all know this.
Interrupting the market is one thing, but in order to do this in a positive way – and for all the right reasons – it’s important to think about ‘what’s next’.
It’s crucial to capture an audience’s imagination, letting them know what it’s like to feel and own your product – tapping into and enhancing their emotions associated with it. As humans, we feel emotions before the brain interprets them – it’s an unconscious experience. And that’s how and why the constant stream of brand touchpoints helps to build up one long-term customer experience.
- Injecting some personality
A personality is needed for a brand to be viewed positively. This is because it helps the brain build shared values and create an emotional connection – hence why establishing a key, relatable person of influence within the business is crucial.
But as part of establishing the brand personality, it’s important to decide upon and understand the brand’s story and purpose – and by knowing an organisation’s ‘why’ inside-out, it can help you to recognise how to get into the hearts and minds of the target audience.
But equally important is listening and engaging with customers – while it’s pivotal to communicate with them, this should never just be one way.
- Harnessing the semantic memory
This section of the webinar talked about how marketers are the ‘artists’ of semantic memory networks – i.e. the words we use help to mould brand associations in people’s minds.
This language should always be clear and concise though. As interestingly, we heard that the brain uses 25% energy at rest – so if you confuse someone, you effectively ‘lose’ their brain and aren’t memorable in their mind.
- Meditating regularly
In order to truly understand the connection between brain and brand though, we need to practice what we preach and get to know our subconscious mind – recognising how neuroscience is so closely connected to the work we, as marketers, deliver every single day.