How Psychology and Imagery Can Affect Your Brand

Here is a post by a guest contributor, JonJon Yeung of the award winning TUG Agency. This post speaks to why and how you can alter your marketing to trigger emotional responses in your targeted prospects. His article is highly illuminating and insightful. Enjoy! – TCW


How Psychology and Imagery Can Affect Your Brand

A team of psychologists from the University of Missouri are revolutionizing the way we go about advertising. Until recently, much of the perceived wisdom embraced by marketing companies was an offshoot of the theories espoused in a book called The Hidden Persuaders. The main thrust of this book was that somehow sneaking a message into audio and visual content would practically programme consumers to buy your product.


It’s All in the Packaging


However, new research by Esther Thorson has revealed that a brand marketing strategy doesn’t have to rely on underhand methods to achieve its aims. In fact, her findings suggest that the up-front approach is far better – as long as you know how to deliver your message properly.

In one experiment, viewers were asked to watch an advert in which a sausage was rolled from the back of the screen, towards the camera, until it filled the screen. Once the image was static, a voice-over kicked in. The results seemed to be that the viewers’ learning curve was broken into two parts; firstly, they absorbed the image in its entirety and remembered it in vivid detail. Once the image was frozen, they entered another learning curve, one in which they were able to absorb the marketing message and repeat it accurately at a later date. The lesson here is that you need to grab a viewer’s attention, first and communicate their message, second. In your small business you can adapt this strategy through an eye-catching moment before communicating your message, in this sense selling your product.


Colouring your Message


Picture of color emotion guide

(source: thelogocompany)


As a result, it’s easy to see how this rule of thumb can be incorporated to all forms of advertising; even logo design. There is extensive research into how colours affect the buying habits of shoppers. Impulsive shoppers tend to respond to brands that incorporate red, black and bright blue into their logos and adverts. Shoppers on a budget respond better to Navy Blue and Teal, while habitual shoppers are more influenced by pink, Sky Blue and Rose.


Words and Pictures


Psychology behind brand loyalty

A great example of getting it right can be found in the Nike brand marketing strategy. Until the 1960s, many companies would end their adverts with the company name, written in plain text. However, it was discovered that the part of the brain engaged in processing the visual aspect of a commercial tended to ignore or fail to process any written text. Huge brands, such as Coke and Pepsi fell foul of this technique, spending vast sums on straplines that provided a full-stop to the advert – straplines that were in fact being completely ignored.

Nike was one of the first brands to rely on a logo, rather than text; the Nike ‘swoosh’ is an instantly recognisable brand logo that doesn’t require the vital part of the brain to process it as text. Instead, it’s a symbol that can be quickly absorbed and registered. In some ways, logos pack much more of a punch than snappy phrases and strap-lines.

In deciding upon your logo or brand marketing strategy, knowing how your target audience responds can help you build a relationship with them. An example would be MINI creating a Guinness World Records by targeting their product to a specific demographic and doing this in a viral way. You can incorporate this in your small business by targeting niche and specifically on a specific type of niche with your products. Ultimately, you want your consumers to trust your brand and for it to be their first port of call when they need a particular product. Knowing how people respond to advertising and marketing can help you avoid all the potential pitfalls.

About the Author: JonJon Yeung

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  • Interesting article … I really enjoyed the color emotion guide. I look forward to wandering around your site for other good tidbits.

  • I don’t know if I’m choosing the right colors for my brand. Black, white, and red. I’m a freelancer writer and editor, and these are the standard colours of pens! What is your opinion?

    • Hello Lorraine,

      I am sorry but, from a professional perspective, don’t know the answer! From my unprofessional perspective: I like that color scheme and use it for this blog. I’ve read that black and white work well, and red works, when it’s not too overpowering. From the color emotion guide, you would be blending bold (red) with black and white (calm). This sounds like a good combination.

      This article was a guest post by JonJon Yeung of the TUG agency. You can check out his site at He really knows his stuff. I’m sure he’d be glad to help you.

      TUG Agency.

  • I love this idea of an almost subliminal effect with our branding. Great post that will help me move forward in my business.

    • Thank you Connie! I really appreciate the feedback. Glad to be of assistance.