Monday, September 19, 2011

The brain loves stimuli - Use more words, tell stories rather than spead some stats and sloans

If we sell stories rather than facts, people will be more engaged, according to the Neuromarketing blog (who´s author is releasing his new book Brainfluence in November!).

The research presented shows how important it is to touch the viewers hearts and not just tickle their brain. Based on the insight (and fact) that we are all the centre of our own world, marketers can use people´s self centrism to make them involved in a message by pretending to be there.

"A vivid story can put us in a more altruistic mode, a study shows. UK researchers looked at the two ways people think about death – abstractly or specifically. They used a detailed story which placed the reader in a burning apartment to activate specific death thoughts. A second group of subjects answered more general questions about death, while a control group was exposed to non-death-related material. They then gave subjects a second item to read, an article about blood donations which came in two versions, suggesting that blood donations were either at record highs or record lows. Finally, all subjects were given the opportunity to express an interest in donating blood.

The results of the experiment were interesting. The subjects primed with general thoughts of death were the most altruistic, but only when the need was high. The subjects who were primed with more specific thoughts about death (the vivid apartment fire) saw an increase in altruism compared to the control group even if the need was low. 

We also know that our brains find stories to be particularly engaging (see Why Stories Sell, Your Brain on Stories), and you are much more likely to hold a reader’s attention with a descriptive story than an abstract discussion.

When our senses get involved, we are drawn in like flyes to honey. Another study showed that people who had seen an ad printed in high resolution on fancy paper actually believed they had eaten the product in the ad.

A Millward Brown study suggested that "material shown on cards generated more activity within the area of the brain associated with the integration of visual and spatial information (the left and right parietal). This suggests that physical material is more “real” to the brain. It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks. [From Millward Brown Case Study - Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail.]

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