The mind thinks not in terms of language and words but pictures, feelings and metaphors. Decisions are born from the struggle between the conscious and unconscious minds with the unconscious often winning this battle. If you frequent this blog, you might note previous pieces on the role of cultural perceptions, consumer emotions, memories and the role they play in determining brand impression.
Regardless of your product or service, your customer will very likely have stored in his subconscious, an embedded perception based on the culture from which he hails, his experience with this type of product and the feelings experienced during his interaction… an imprint. For example, you’re a new company manufacturing coffee. The customer might have no opinion of your company, your brand… but will certainly have stored in his subconscious an impression of what coffee ‘IS’, what it means to him and the attributes that reinforce this definition (Read More About Imprints Here).
This imprint for the rest of his life will strongly and subconsciously guide the decisions he makes in the coffee section when making a purchase. Ask of him his thoughts about coffee and he might respond describing its taste, flavor, smell, strength… these answers emanate from his rational mind, his cortex and doesn’t represent how he truly ‘FEELS’ about coffee. Ask him how he FEELS about coffee and his response might be quite different. As then he is better able to connect with the subconscious. Even then his true opinion will be masked. Look beyond his words and connect with the metaphors he uses and therein lies your answer and therein lies your potential creative concept for your next advertising campaign.
Gerald Zaltman has pioneered this field of metaphor elicitation and communication. In this clip he delves into the concept and offers a few great examples.
Gerald Zaltman – Metaphor Marketing
This article was written by Marc Narine.
Marc works with companies to elevate marketing performance and profitability by going beyond the feature/benefit approach to instead assessing the consumer’s emotional and cultural imprints and subconscious attachments to a product. He is the primary author at 3Brain Marketing.