When we say "subliminal marketing," the image that probably comes to mind is of sci-fi brainwashing and an Orwellian 1984. You’re probably also thinking that it’s a myth created for just those fictions, and not something that could affect you and your business.
However, we’re going to say subliminal marketing again, and this time we want you to think of a new image. We want you to imagine an effective, ethical marketing technique that could help you change the way your customers feel about you. Interested? Keep reading.
Subliminal messages stopped being the stuff of myth and sci-fi in 1999 when a Harvard test confirmed that words which flashed on a screen too quickly for our conscious mind to notice were still registered unconsciously. This was a huge breakthrough, because it meant that consumers didn't need to register that they’d seen an advert in order for that advert to be effective. Further research went on to show that subliminal advertising really does work.
Of course, there is a dark side to subliminal marketing. Methods that use flashing words and images can put ideas in our mind even without our realizing where they’ve come from. The connotations of these aren't very pleasant to think about...and luckily, many countries have banned this form of advertising altogether.
However, there are some ways to use the ideas behind subliminal messages to enhance your marketing methods and better control the subconscious judgments your customers will make about you.
If you’re looking for a way to get ahead of your competitors with an innovative marketing technique, these four subliminal marketing tips could be just what you’re looking for.
1. Rethink your logo design
Your logo is a key tool for branding your business. Whether or not your customers are aware of it, they will all judge your company based on the logo and other graphic branding you use. In order to get the best out of this, why not use your logo to say as much about your company as you can?
Certain shapes can imply a lot to the unconscious mind, and a lot of clever logo designs use strategically placed lines and white spaces to portray hidden meanings. For inspiration, take a look at these 15 corporate logos that contain subliminal messages, then think about how you could use your logo to say more.
2. Use color to your advantage
While we’re on the topic of graphic elements, color can have a huge impact on how you’re perceived by your customers. All colors have different unconscious connotations, and using them carefully can change and enhance your image.
Here’s an insight into the subliminal messages you might currently be giving off without realizing:
- Red - An urgent color which stands for energy, courage, strength, and defiance.
- Yellow - An optimistic color that implies youthfulness, friendliness, and creativity.
- Green - A relaxing color that’s connected to balance, health, restoration, and the environment.
- Purple - A soothing color that has a spiritual side; also reflects luxury and quality.
- Blue - An intellectual color that stands for loyalty, communication, logic, and coolness.
3. Use product placement
Product placement is when a company pays for their product to be used during a film or TV show.
An example of this is when the characters in a sitcom drink Coca Cola, or when a TV screen on set shows a real advert. This is effective as we subconsciously attach the product in question to the lifestyle of the characters.
Admittedly, getting your product into a film or TV show can be a bit of a budget-buster, and it’s not usually an option for smaller businesses or startups. However, you might be able to adapt this practice and benefit from it on a smaller scale. Why not look into working with local media outlets or bloggers?
4. Choose the people that appear in your marketing campaigns carefully
When you shoot video or photographs to be used anywhere in your marketing campaigns, think carefully about the people who appear in them. It may be superficial, but we all infer a lot about companies and their services or products in this way. Many of us subconsciously connect the thing being advertised with the inspirational nature of the people in the ads, which is why most advertising campaigns use attractive models and actors.
We’re not suggesting you only photograph "gorgeous" people, but we are saying it’s wise to think carefully about how the people you’re photographing best encapsulate the ideals of your target audience. Small changes to outfits, accessories, or hairstyles can make a big subliminal difference.
Leave the hidden flashing words and barely-audible messages to sci-fi, and try out these four ethical methods instead!