There’s nowt so funny as folk’ is a phrase much used in the North to describe the intricacies of human behaviour. At some point in the future no doubt we will be able to fully ‘lift the lid’ and take our insights a step further, so reducing mankind to nothing more than a biomechanical device but for now, human behaviour remains something of a mystery.
There have, however, been large strides into this subject which have uncovered much. Of particular interest is the field of cognitive behaviour and neuro linguistic programming. Both detail the links that exist between our perception of the things that happen around us and our internal responses.
What, you may ask, has this to do with marketing?
Put simply, marketing at its very best elicits a positive emotional response from its target audience. This response, when repeated, can become almost indelibly linked with the brand in question, becoming a very powerful tool indeed.
However, people can react very differently to the same ‘event’ be that a piece of music, visual stimulus or a statement of some kind.
One man’s fluffy kitten is another man’s angry dog you might say. So how can you be reasonably sure that your marketing budget is being spent on something that the vast majority will find appealing and which will have the desired result?
The answer? Market like a Timelord.
Throughout time there have been certain movements, or zeitgeist that have held sway over an entire generation of people. The emotions created such as hope, excitement and so on can be powerful motivators to be tapped into by your brand. I am not suggesting that it is possible to recapture emotions in their entirety, but as anyone who has listened to a song on the radio that connects them to time long past knows, the resulting emotions can be hard to shake off, much like the feelings from a half remembered dream.
Clearly there are lots of movements whose outcomes have been negative or that would induce entirely the wrong kind of emotional state. The trick is to do your homework on the demographics first. Who is your target audience? How old are they likely to be? What influences were they under during what was likely to be a happy period in their life (I would suggest age 2 – 12), what music was played, what tv was watched and what were the big films or even popular advertisements of the time.
Capture the essence of this, distil it into your brand and allow these subtle triggers to align with your target audience. Of course not everyone will have a positive experience of the period you are focusing on, but the vast majority will!
For those seeking a more contemporary approach I would urge you to push the boundaries at least one stage further. Stretch your audience so that associations are familiar, but there is something new to be gained/enjoyed as well.
As any true Timelord knows, the future is every bit as exciting a place to visit as the past, so always ask yourself the question, what is coming next and be well positioned to profitably ride on its coattails !
About the author:
Nichola Wilson is a content writer for Alight. Alight are an award winning digital agency based in the UK.