We all pride ourselves on being rational, but the truth is we are all affected more by our sub-conscious minds than we realise. Here are 5 key tips about the psychology of marketing that you should integrate into your everyday work.

1. Be Human

Did you know your brain’s temporal lobe lights up when you see a human face? – We are hard-wired to see human faces everywhere – even Mars! This is a simple way to get into the psychology of marketing, by understanding these nuanced changes, whether it’s through content you share on social media, or images you have on your website.


Face of Mars

ACTION: Don’t just show product shots – show people too. Don’t just show people – show their faces too.


2. Color Counts

We all have favourite color preferences, but how do you look at the global averages? We took some research on the most liked and least liked, and then consolidated this into a single score based upon the overall net sentiment of positive minus negative.

Color Acceptability


We also added some positive and negative emotional sentiments that people typically attach. Of course there is still value in standing apart from the crowd. Orange is associated with cheapness, but that hasn’t seem to have affected the luxury brand Hermes too much. What do you think our favorite color is?

ACTION: Avoid “mud” colors and stick with the primaries – red, green, blue.


3. Use the Right Words

What’s the difference between a waitress who politely takes your order, versus one that repeats it back to you verbatim? About double in tips. Now imagine what that might mean for your lead generation efforts.

ACTION: Use the exact same terminology that your customers use.


4. A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

Do you know how astronomers detect new comets and unknown planets? The mark one eyeball. They look at photographs (taken with billion dollar kit) over the period of a few days and look for signs of movement. Despite  all the technology, the human eye still can’t be bettered – it’s a direct path to the brain.

OK, so let’s say you’re not trying to find new planets – how does this pan out when it comes to the psychology of marketing?

Buffer found that tweets with images got retweeted 2.5 times more!

image retweeting

Skyword found an across the board increase in articles views that contained an image.

increase in views with image


The search term infographic has grown almost 20 times in the last 5 years, and with good reason.

Infographic growth

Last year we decided to start a thing called ‘StockSeek‘ with the purpose of providing free, royalty free images to anyone, no strings.

ACTION: Visualize!


5. Story is King

When I was still a student, I spent the weekend with a friend and tapped her father, a senior executive, for professional advice. He said “if there was just one thing, it would be to pop your head around your manager’s office before you leave in evening and ask him or her if they needed anything before you go”. I thought about that for a minute, and thanked him but without putting much store by it. Some years later, I had just started working. I wanted to get off fairly sharpish, but remembered that piece of advice – so I popped my head into my manager’s office as told him I was about to go, but was there anything he needed before I did?

The look on his face was priceless. He was like a 7 year old at Christmas. I have never seen a grown man look so happy. In fact he did need me to do something. To be honest, I was a bit irritated at the time, since I did want to get off to meet some friends, but I duly did the task. Once completed, he asked me if I needed a lift home – we both lived in the same suburb. We spent almost an hour in commuter traffic, and with nothing else to do, spent a lot of time taking and getting to know each other.

The net of it is that I was able to build a strong professional relationship with my manager in short order, resulting in both an easier ride and promotions for myself. But the true measure of this advice did not come to me until some 20 years after that, when an employee of mine did in fact slope off before letting me know, causing some considerable inconvenience and getting in my bad books. If only that employee had been given the advice I had.

Now think how much more effective this story is than the simple bullet point – “tell your boss when you leave”.

An interesting piece of research here compared two presentations, one statistics based, and one story based. Whilst only 5% remembered the statistic, 63% remembered the story.

ACTION: Make it personal, credible, understandable and memorable with stories.

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