Marketing is All in The Mind: Using Neuro-Marketing to Make Your Message Stick

By: Catherine Plano

“Logic will get you from a to z… imagination will get you everywhere.”

This isn't just a quote by Albert Einstein, but it is a clever tactic used all the time by the world’s greatest novelists, movie-makers, world leaders, orators, advertising execs, and marketing gurus.

Now, with the help of new discoveries in neuroscience, you can make more than just a compelling proposition — you can learn how to speak directly to the brain. These new discoveries help you to connect with a person’s emotions through storytelling, which, when connected to emotion, is one of the most powerful human motivators.

For years, advertising executives have relied upon inducing fear as their greatest weapon by:

  • Identifying a problem customers don’t know they have
  • Creating angst around the problem
  • Selling the solution

But now, advertisement and marketing can go substantially further in resonating with customers by taking advantage of the advancements in modern neuroscience, social psychology and behavioural economics — all components of neuro-marketing​.

Understanding Neuro-Marketing

Neuro-marketing helps us create a message that resonates with our customer’s brain through a deep understanding of how the brain prefers to process information.

From cave drawings to campfire tales, society has used fables, myths and narratives to connect communities and create movements. Even in a digital age, stories continue to be committed to memory and passed on from generation to generation. Storytelling is an essential component of marketing for your brand. Stories affect us at an incredibly deep intellectual and emotional level, and neuroscience is just beginning to understand how it all works. Scientists have discovered that fictional stories affected the same region of the brain that activates when you are engaged in a real-life event.

Stories, therefore, create a bonding empathy that causes you to strongly identify with the characters, as if you were actually a character yourself. Stories have such an impact because your brain gets a little mixed up as to what is real and what is not real.

Making The Message Stick

But, how do we make our stories stick? By getting to the heart of the matter and creating an emotional hook that reaches into your audience’s unconscious mind. This way, you are forming a deep connection so that the information will be better remembered.

For your marketing to have a successful impact, you must market towards feelings. Mind you, this is not the only way your customers make decisions. There is also the rational mind: the prefrontal cortex that looks into the facts, data, numbers and statistic. The stronger part of the mind that elicits the pull towards a decision, however, is  the emotional part of the brain: the limbic, which speaks the language of pictures, stories, and any form of emotional response. This is why storytelling with neuro-marketing is a simple and effective process to use. By using visuals to help tell your brand story, you will help your customers immerse in the story, triggering an emotive response

Engage The Limbic

We know this much about our brain:

  • It can’t easily remember a large amount of data with no context
  • It can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds at a time
  • It can hold attention for 10 minutes at a time before it tunes out
  • It requires to be told the same message repeatedly in order to analyze the information and store it into memory

Did you know that ​95% of decisions are made by the unconscious mind? So, how do we tap into the unconscious mind to understand your customer’s behaviours, attitudes and motivations?

We know this much about our unconscious mind:

  • It is driven by basic primitive instincts for survival
  • It is fundamentally tied to emotion
  • It is visually orientated, speaking the language of pictures and symbols
  • It is driven by senses
  • It is influenced by beginnings and endings

This is how we grab attention and make our message memorable for our customers to engage emotionally and, most importantly, drive purchase and referral intent.

Everyone remembers a good story, whether it is a book, a movie or a personal story. In fact, personal stories and gossip make up to around ​65% of our conversations. Imagine the incredible result you can achieve by working with our biology to deliver a brand story that engages with customers by directly connecting with their brain.

Influence As Many Senses As Possible

The stronger the sensory experience, the greater the overall impact. If you engage your customer's sense of sight, sense of hearing and even a sense of smell, yes smell, you’ll be more successful.

It’s not a well-known fact, but the human sense of smell is the only sense that is ​directly hardwired to our brain. Individual scents can trigger strong feelings and memories because smell is connected with the part of our brain that handles emotions. Our sense of smell is a strong mood shifter, and it can definitely impact our decision making process.

​Neuroscience studies have shown that people can recall smell with 65% accuracy after a year, while the visual recall of photos sinks to about 50% after only three months.

And… on a final note. Repeat. Repetition works. Express the most important information at the beginning and repeat it at the end. Remember, you have 30 seconds to drive action and engage with the emotional reptilian brain, and it is possible to do this so long as your story is powerful enough to engage emotion.


Catherine Plano is an International Keynote Speaker and Executive Coach, Leadership Development Professional, Queen of Transformation, a Creative Soul Adventurer, a Theorist and Provocateur of Change, and … an Agent of Philosophy

Ellevate Network is a global women’s network: the essential resource for professional women who create, inspire and lead. Together, we #InvestInWomen.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.