Over the last 10-15 years there’s been a shift towards communications which appeal to the left brain (popularly referred to as System 1). This move has presented itself in the form of songs with simpler, and often more repetitive lyrics, an increase in the number of sequels and franchise movies, and fewer sitcoms on TV and more competitive shows and programmes about making things. However, when it comes to communications, it’s the right brain (System 2) characteristics which are proving to be more effective when it comes to influencing shopper decision-making.
Brain Lateralisation– the science of the left and right brain – is key to understanding the visual and language triggers that communicate most effectively to achieve cut-through with shoppers and consumers.
Depth of field, and informal and emotional relationships between figures for example are right brained characteristics, while graphic ‘flatness’, cruder and more schematic figure work, unilateral communication and direct symbolism appeal more to the left brain
In simplistic terms, we can look at the LEFT BRAIN as responding most effectively to…
Abstracted body parts (e.g. hands, mouth)
Monologues (e.g. testimonial)
Adjectives used as nouns
Highly rhythmic soundtracks
…and the RIGHT BRAIN as responding to…
A clear sense of place
Characters with agency (voice, movement, expression)
Plays on words or subversion of language
and music with a discernible melody.
Does it matter?
In 2012, ‘The Long and The Short of it’ by Binet and Field showed that creative communications which take an emotional approach are more likely to create long-term profitable growth than those which rely wholly on a more rational, message-driven strategy. Therefore the simplest way to predict the effectiveness of a creative concept is to measure people’s emotional response to it because more emotional creative concepts have been proven to amplify brands’ share of voice.
That’s why at DECIDE we always recommend applying our d3thinking design measurement tool when assessing creative concepts. It’s an accurate and proven indicator of the potential performance of how a communication will perform in market with shoppers and consumers on both a rational and emotional level. It helps brands ensure that they’re using relevant language and visual imagery to most effectively communicate their message.
Applying d3thinking recently proved invaluable when DECIDE was asked to redesign the Natural Touch Bottles, Breast Pumps and Soothers range for Nuby, the American-owned, multi-award winning baby brand available in 155 countries worldwide. New mothers are in information-hungry mode (i.e. a rational mindset), but it’s important to balance this with emotional cues. Our design solution for the range optimises its right brain appeal by incorporating a sense of depth (the close up of a bottle in the foreground with an out of focus kitchen in the background) and context (being representative of the environment in which the bottles are most often sterilised and filled). It also enhances the communication of connections and relationships and context by featuring a cameo of a mother and baby using the product and is also implicit in its tone of voice allowing the product to actually ‘speak’ to the shopper (i.e. “I Combat Colic”).
The new design, informed by our d3thinking tool and our knowledge of the key triggers in brain lateralisation, has been an impressive success, winning a Mother & Baby Award and experiencing an increase in sales on some product lines of over 400%. On the back of this success, the new identity and design architecture is now being applied to a wide variety of additional product lines globally.