me kay cooke

Marketing Unconsciously

Have you ever been shopping and found your eyes fixating on bargain signs? Those uniformly simple and brightly coloured images that trick us into thinking we can save money. Over time, how many things have you bought on impulse?


Not everyone succumbs to that automated behavioural response of course, but if you owned a retail store you’d be very keen to understand consumer behaviours wouldn’t you?

Did you know that supermarkets hoodwink our attention by using coloured labels (especially yellow) because research suggests we buy more of those items? And the same is true of product positioning on aisles (proximity to door) and display height (eye level) on the shelves.


Now freedom and choice are synonymous with NLP training, which often delivers that moment of realisation; we are indeed surrounded by emotional triggers and hypnotic phenomena and yes, even people messing with our minds. It’s called marketing, teaching, parenting, managing and many other things. And waking up to how we are being subliminally influenced is a good thing, of course.


Did you know that people buy more food when their olfactory nerves are stimulated by smells of fresh baking/cooking; hence many supermarkets have now installed ovens, and spontaneous café treats just sort of happen to us.


Remember the times you bought a perfumed product (on impulse) after inhaling a particularly delicious fragrant mist, lured by the neuro-chemical reaction occurring within your mind?


And speaking of the brain, let’s not underestimate the impact of music and sound on our mood (and therefore buying behaviour). Background music influences both crowd mood and speed of footfall. Yes we can artificially speed up (move on) and slow down (browse) human movement and mood, on purpose using tempo, volume and genre. A trick so often overlooked by unaware people managers.


Sales promotions are designed to induce an artificial need in us, seducing us to aspire to being like a ‘successful’ celebrity, so you know you’ve ‘made it’ by owning ‘that’ brand. The temporary buzz comes from a shift in identity.


Bear in mind that every basic sales training dictates ‘every customer has a need – find it, and sell them the remedy’ – sales assistants become skilful in building fast rapport to quickly elicit the need e.g. to conform/feel prettier/feel powerful/feel successful/feel attractive/be the same/be different and oh, so many more.


Paying attention to the processes that influence behaviour is empowering. It’s about using your brain on purpose. And if none of this feels relevant to you, remember that temperature also affects our emotional connections – apparently people like people/products/adverts more when they holding something warm, like a cup of tea. Useful to know this kinaesthetic tip when you are selling your house, in a business meeting, or simply making new friends. It’s all in your mind, so make it matter!

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