The Limbic System Part 4

11 Minute Read

By Siegfrid SchmahlMore from this author

A match made in heaven: platinum and diamonds. As humans, we are in the habit of blindly accepting our visual environment as the real world, because after all, 80 per cent of the information we receive is absorbed through the eye. This is also the reason why marketing specialists love using advertising media, PowerPoint presentations and videos because they are targeted at what experts refer to as Level One (the conscious mind). The success of a business, however, depends 70 per cent of the time on manipulating the subconscious (Level Two: the subconscious mind).

Limbic system part 4

Due to the process of human evolution, it has been possible to successfully track the development of our subconscious mind. In 70% of cases, everything we do is heavily influenced by the limbic instructions of balance, dominance and stimulation. Only 30% of our decisions are made consciously, and even then, we are not fully free from the influence of our subconscious. The unspoken laws of dos and don'ts significantly inhibit our flexibility even further. "Design jewelry with a computer? I can't do that". The balance instructions are the driving force of preservation: avoid all danger, strive for stability. Therefore, if you should come up against a brick wall in times of change in your company (e.g. computerized jewelry design), it is not the fault of the older colleagues, but that of the balance instructions. "Ethnic jewelry is not modern": the dominance instructions are the driving force of expansion and encourage us to be brazen. After all, rather you than the others. Retain your autonomy. Should colleagues be debating whether certain jewelry is up-to-date or not, then less importance is being attached to facts and significantly more to issues of dominance. In other words, I want to impose my views. The stimulant instructions are the source of discovery and innovation and represent the need to break away from the norm. Avoid monotony at all costs. Every innovation arises as a result of leaving the beaten path and looking for something new. And now take a look at your jewelry advertisements. Try and match your printed messages with the various limbic instructions. Are you trying to entice with innovations from Italy or by using Tendence Lifestyle (stimulant instructions)? While selling jewelry are you promising success, elation and self determination (dominance instructions)? Are you reassuring your older readers that you are family friendly, trustworthy and rooted in tradition (balance instructions)?

A potential source of frustration: Acquiring customers

"11 a.m. and still no sign of customers and the last advertising ploy was a flop". No other part of business is such a potential source of frustration than that of trying to attract new customers. On the one hand, you don't want to create enemies among the competition and on the other, you have to survive slumps in the economy and avoid job losses. A further problem is that society is so diverse in its make up that it is recommended to target individual customers. But are we really all that fragmented? If you consider the subconscious mind of your customers, you will find that many similarities are shared. Thus, a special tip: so as to ensure an end to hard times and that more potential buyers will come to you in future, you should develop your very own limbic consumer typology.

For example:

  1. The adventurer is unconventional, likes taking risks and looking for something new (stimulant instructions: young design).
  2. And how about the hedonists (the quest for pleasure)? They have a taste for unusual fashion trends and spend their holidays in exotic places (stimulant instruction: elegance coupled with exceptional espresso).
  3. The connoisseur leads a more conservative life and enjoys his peace and quiet (balance instructions: tradition and quality).
  4. The disciplined consumer has his own set of rules (balance instructions and a lower price range).
  5. But does the careful customer always buy a shock-proof watch and will the adventurer continue travelling each year to the Caribbean?

The different sets of instructions are present in each individual to varying degrees, but on principle, the connoisseur will afford himself more pleasure than the disciplined consumer. You will be convinced by the results: the more tightly you tailor your messages to the different limbic consumer types, the more success you will achieve in business.

Do feelings and images take precedence in the brain?

If you are honest, then you will find this to be true. First there was light and then came the word. Do you associate 'poison' with the word 'adder' and 'party decoration' with the word 'snake'? Both these words are very closely related, yet provoke very different reactions. What is actually happening in the brain? Feelings and images take precedence in your mind (ability to react swiftly). The word 'adder' is immediately registered by the motor-sensory part of the brain. Given that the image is coupled with movement (evocative of the fight or flight instinct), the hammer receives priority. A further reason in favor of the fast reaction is the fact that the word 'hammer' is short. The brain loves messages that can be grasped within three seconds. Emotional, visual, up close and short: together these encapsulate the basic principles of advertising jargon tailored to meet the brain's needs. Has your advertising medium been designed accordingly? "Place your trust in our hands." Do you now notice how insincere, dull, dispensable and meaningless such statements appear? Try using "Up-to-date designer jewelry", and the (un)interested party begins to yawn. "Move forward in your career": Are you throwing money out the window when it comes to motivating your colleagues? You will find that there are plenty of advertising slogans balanced on the tip of your tongue, for example: "Vorsprung durch…", "A Mars a day…" or "Because you are worth it…". You will also find that a matching image will immediately spring to mind. Is that not so? "Have a break…": this example is somewhat more difficult because there is a lack of clear differentiation "Hits that burn". You might not know this radio station, but you will know in an instant who it is targeted at. "Take off for hit off ". The flight departure for a golf tournament couldn't be announced more clearly and precisely. "Sorry, didn't quite catch that?" We all learn at a slow pace. What is more, we forget at an equally slow pace, a fact which has been proven. Do customers retain your advertising slogans in their long term memories? Stimulant instructions: "A whirlwind of emotions (diamonds)". Dominance instructions: "Personalities". Lovers become more intimate with the exchange of individualized engagement rings. Balance instructions: "Eternal love captured in red gold".

Images excellently convey feelings: when slush softens the shoes in January, this image of spring causes passers by to dream

Do you often avail of signals of strength as part of your marketing strategy?

"This ring belonging to the Katarina-Meier-Collection costs 75 euros less in the Internet", Competition is becoming increasingly cut-throat and the products and services on offer are becoming increasingly homogenous. Selling at lower prizes is simple, but the very act of selling itself is turning into a form of art. The success of your business depends more on how you distinguish yourself from the competition than on the special offers you make. In order to achieve such distinction, it is necessary to constantly come up with new ideas such as those relating to signals of strength. Such signals sell well and outmaneuver the bargain hunting urges of your smart shopper. "Precious platinum: there's nothing more resilient". "The Legendary Collection X", and "Avantgarde" Such examples allow you to define your goals without appearing too aggressive. Strong communication is indicative of a clear position and does away with such ineffective, empty phrases as "quality", "innovation", and "expectation". Marked shopping routes are another effective marketing strategy: to encourage your customers to move right around your premises. The longer they stay, the more they will buy. And have you tried to sell using the "bundling" technique? Rich in ideas, this method of bundling products together makes it difficult for buyers to compare prizes and encourages them to purchase more freely: the cost of the collier includes the silver ring for that darling daughter. And how about marketing by means of tapping into the idea of establishing friendships? The institutions of marriage and family have lost their meaning as the norms and ideals of what it means to live together with somebody. As a result of this development, many people live outside of relationships and exclusively on their own. A solution to this problem can be provided by establishing a network of good and lasting friendships. This is why you should consider turning your commercial premises into a meeting point for golfers, motorbike freaks, hobby pilots and madrigal singers.

Will your advertising slogans be forgotten?

Yes, because catchphrases such as "Multifaceted Art" or "Glamour on your Wedding Day" have no staying power. The processing of abstract information costs energy, but our brains, which are constantly trying to save energy, prefer to operate at low throttle. Hence, of all the stimuli that we are bombarded with, only a tiny percentage is allowed to reach our conscious mind. The rest of it lands in our subconscious mind. The eye delivers 10 million bit (the smallest unit of information) to the brain per second while simultaneously 1 million reach the ear and nose. Estimates assume that we only experience 40 bits at the conscious level. Our conscious mind, therefore, is primarily responsible for sifting through information and although millions of consumers ignore billions of advertising signals, at the subconscious level they are experienced and retained. This is particularly the case when messages trigger emotions. Effectively, all advertisements are successful despite the fact they reach only a small percentage of the population and this is due to how the consumer brain imperceptibly registers experienced feelings. Most decisions regarding purchase are made at a subconscious level, where the limbic system is responsible for the emotional appraisal of a product. With this in mind, you should use your advertisements to activate the balance instructions. Take the example of security: "You are acquiring a commodity which is particularly durable." "According to our expertise, the risk factor is practically non existent." "The best quality for money you can imagine." "Hearty congratulations on.. "Stability: "The 5 year guarantee will be given to you in writing." With regard to dominance instructions, only approve the following messages: Enforcement: "Your partner will agree with this decision". Power: "This will afford you membership in a special group of…" And do not forget the stimulant instructions. Allure: "The perfect present for your outfit." "Your word of recommendation would be a compliment of the highest order." Risk: "This secret is only between us." Attraction: "Your charisma will spark much enthusiasm."

Have you raised the value of your services…

Or lowered your prizes? In the long run, it is certainly more profitable to upgrade your products and services. The buyer derives pleasure from an attractive added value which cannot be measured in specific terms. Furthermore, it costs less to enhance the value of a product than it does to set lower selling prices. Every consumer loves the idea of receiving more for the same prize. For example, You could include earrings to accompany a new necklace made of cultured pearls and brilliants without any extra charge. The creativity of added value: Your business can develop an individualized added-value strategy by posing the right questions. The security of added value: food scandals, resignations, war and bird flu. The consumer has had enough. He is plagued with fear. Fellow citizens are subjected to crippling anxiety, two thirds of which are women. In today's industrial society, fear has become intangible and sinister. As a successful decision maker, you promise your buyers security (certificates, honesty and reliability). Evidence such as verification of professional competence and technical test certification should hold a place of honor on your premises. The tradition of added value: In moments of indecision, the customer will buy conservatively. Particularly if a consumer is careful of how he spends his money, he will resort to what is tried and trusted, which is why classical products of traditional value stemming from the locality are quite popular. Celebrating a city s anniversary: traditional necklaces; first day at Kindergarten: a present to mark the occasion; in appreciation of an honorary citizen: tasteful men's jewelry made of stainless steel.

Brands ease the burden of comparison. Brands offer constant quality. Brands trigger inner images in onlookers

Does your company brand push the right buttons in the brain?

Brands fascinate people and they spend more on them as they are fascinated in brands which invest more in their fascination. That sounds complicated, but is in fact quite simple. Successful brands address Imbic instructions. If the benefits of the buyer and the brand positioning correspond, success will be guaranteed. Positioning determines which limbic instructions are appealed to.

Balance: You want the traditional customer?

Stimulant: A young and cheeky design is in keeping with your company's image? Dominance: Your customers are proud of their purchases? In the next stage of your brand strategy, the consumer groups should be decided on. And on the brand foundation of positioning, you must erect a super structure of brand content.

  1. Which hopes and desires are being fulfilled by the brand?
  2. What distinguishes it from the other brands?
  3. Which benefits are being guaranteed by your corporate brand?
  4. With which images is the brand depicted (logos, key optics, graphics, texts, materials, forms)?

We people have loved success for as long as we've had the power of conscious thought. Nowadays, market leaders have succeeded monarchs and the people are drawn to their brands (coat of arms) (Mercedes, Coca Cola, Adidas). Why is that? In the past, strong and crafty tribal leaders improved the life expectancy of their clans; nowadays, consumers simply wear and drink brand name potency and wear it on their ring finger.

by Siegfrid Schmahl

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Siegfrid Schmahl

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