Magnify Your Website Persuasion With the Science of Branding

December 28, 20111 Comment

Learn how to implant an associative memory with a recall cue and your product and/or company will dominate the minds of your customers.

Where were you and what were you doing when you first heard about the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center towers?

More than nine years later, you still remember that moment vividly.

That’s a stark example of procedural memory, the deepest of three levels of memory in the brain.

Procedural memory holds the key to the treasure chest of branding and website persuasion. Unlock that chest and your business will be swimming in booty.

Branding isn’t simple name recognition. It’s much more than the color scheme of your logo and website.

It is the complex mental imagery and emotional associations triggered when a prospect or customer hears your name or sees your logo.

  • Harley-Davidson: Rugged individualism, freedom, confidence, toughness.
  • Apple: Innovation, imagination, energy, art.
  • Coca-Cola: Joy, good times with friends and family, refreshment.

So how can you consciously implant mental images and deep emotional associations into the minds and hearts of your customers to increase your website persuasion?

It starts with understanding the three levels of memory.

Working Memory

Working memory is the most shallow level of memory.

Working memory is short-term and electrical. It is imagination, conscious awareness, the thought you are thinking now. It can roughly be compared to computer RAM.

Working memory has three components, or functions:

  1. visuospatial sketchpad
  2. articulatory loop
  3. central executive

Imagine a pink elephant with white stripes running in a field of wheat.

That image was projected onto your visuospatial sketchpad, which is responsible for the manipulation and temporary storage of visual and spatial information, thus allowing you to “see” things in your mind.

Ever had a song stuck in your head? That’s the articulatory loop at work, a phonological memory store which holds acoustic or speech-based material and rehearses sounds in the mind.

The central executive is a messenger that determines which sensory information is important enough to be relayed to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for planning, decision-making, and judgment.

In other words, it is the brain’s screen for relevance.

When you go to sleep, working memory is erased.

Declarative Memory

The intermediate level of memory, declarative memory, stores memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts and events. It’s what you remember from the day before when you wake in the morning.

Declarative memory is divided into two categories: semantic memory, or factual information, and episodic memory, which stores specific personal experiences.

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory is the third and deepest level of memory. Long-term, chemical, involuntary, and automatic, procedural memory consists of three categories:

  1. Conditioned reflexes (swerving when a car encroaches onto your lane on the highway)
  2. Skills and habits (playing the piano, tying your shoes)
  3. Emotional associations

Procedural memory is the product of salience, or relevance, multiplied by repetition.

Information of extremely high salience can be implanted into procedural memory with a repetition factor of only one (think 9/11/01).

Implant Your Brand

Here’s where the rubber hits the road for website persuasion. Roy H. Williams explains:

“Branding is the implantation of an associative memory with a recall cue. It occurs in procedural memory, and causes the public to immediately think of your name at precisely their moment of need.
“Having successfully created an associative memory through your ads [or website copywriting], the recall cue of ‘need’ triggers a chemical, involuntary reaction and your name will pop into their minds unbidden.”

Remember that information enters procedural memory through salience and repetition — increase one and the other is less important.

The challenge for advertisers and website copywriters is that repetition costs money. Want to save money and accelerate your branding and increase your website persuasion? Increase your salience. In other words, say something people actually care about.

Roy Williams calls this the “Impact Quotient.”

“The average message needs to be heard about three times a week, every week, to have a shot at being transferred from short-term, electrical memory to long-term, chemical memory. But that’s the average message. The higher the impact quotient (saliency), the less repetition is required to store it.”

Add the Secret Sauce

Want to turbo-charge your salience for even greater website persuasion? Add a spark of adrenaline.

Adrenaline is the bio-chemical adhesive that switches electrical, short-term memory to chemical, long-term memory.

  • Surprise
  • Laughter
  • Sexual stimulation (Can you say “Hello ladies”?)
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Awe

(Remember: In your creative attempts to induce adrenaline, relevance and credibility trump creativity. You can make someone laugh, but if the humor isn’t relevant to your product and their felt need, it won’t increase your website persuasion or sales and strengthen your brand in their minds.)

And now you have the key to branding and long-term website persuasion. Ready to cure your gold fever?

One Response to “Magnify Your Website Persuasion With the Science of Branding”

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