Reading The Signs

Signs have become such an inextricable part of our life that although we might not realise it, even if we are not responding to them on a conscious level, deep down our subconscious is aware of them and will nudge us gently or profoundly to follow the instruction we have received.

Take road signs.  When we are driving we see road signs and respond more or less without thinking.  Our eyes might flicker to a red triangle and note a man at work sign but we do not have to consciously decode that message and ponder its meaning in the same way a newly qualified driver might.  We simply react.  This is because we have reached the level of ‘unconscious competence’ or auto pilot.

This is actually a trance like state, in which our subconscious mind runs things in the background, leaving our conscious mind to think about other ‘stuff’.

We don’t have to consciously think about changing gear, indicating or even breaking.  We do it almost as instinctively as breathing in and out.  The big question is, what other signs are we responding to instinctively without even realising?

Take a billboard advertisement or display stand for example.  A subtle or not so subtle visual cue is all we might need to remind us to buy something, or to prompt a discussion which might then encourage us to remember that brand.  It today’s age of communication, we might even tweet about what we have seen so that the information we have received then gets re-hashed (if you’ll pardon the pun!) to reach a far wider audience.

This turn-key style of marketing is big, big business.  None of us are surprised by that fact, and we make think ourselves immune, after all we are above all that aren’t we?  Perhaps, but only if we are consciously aware of it at the time.

Tapping into the’ instinctive layer’ has given birth to a whole new style of marketing by association.  Whilst it is still scatter gun rather than rifle shot, a large, even unbranded picture of a juicy burger that appears five or ten minutes before we are likely to drive past a corresponding outlet, may have been dismissed by our conscious mind but is working away at our instinctive layer, reminding us that we may, in fact, be hungry and that now might be a good opportunity to eat.

The hunger then gnaws away at us, just in time to reach its peak as we see branding for a restaurant we recognise appearing on the horizon.

Sure, our hunger might take us to a different restaurant than the one the marketers intended, but consumers will go where they are ‘told’ often enough for this type of advertising display to be a very profitable.

Small scale savvy businesses on a budget would do well to employ similar tactics.  For example when pitching a stand at a seminar or conference, there may be a premium charge to be close to a coffee or refreshments stand.  This is expected.  However, there may be no charge for being in the line of sight of the same stand.  A bold display strategically positioned display can net the same footfall as a premium pitch, for none of the added cost!

So really we are none of us immune to signs, but at least knowing we are not can help us to override our instincts and make our choices more conscious.

Author Bio:
Nicola Wilson is a keen blogger based in the UK, she runs a small copy writing business, she is currently working for Merit Display. Nicola has a keen interest in business marketing and design.

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