We’ve all heard of subliminal messages in advertising, although your impression of this technique may be negative considering some of its past uses. Subliminal messages have been used to slip images of sex, money and other seemingly inappropriate or deceptive graphics into logos and advertisements for some of the world’s biggest brands. Subliminal advertising isn’t always so icky, though, when done correctly and in good taste. A few simple choices can help you achieve maximum results from your advertising and marketing strategies in such a way that consumers aren’t even aware of. All you need to do is follow these four simple steps for ethical subliminal advertising.
- Make Your Logo Synonymous with Your Brand
A good logo can go a long way, and ideally should tell current and potential customers as much as possible about your company, products and overall brand identity. A few simple and strategic choices, such as the placement of lines and white space, can go a long way. See what some of your most successful competitors are doing if you need inspiration; just remember your logo must be completely distinguishable from every other company’s logo.
- Use Graphics to Your Advantage
Bold, simple graphics and lifestyle images can be the most effective when advertising a product or brand, whether you’re designing an in-store display, product packaging, magazine ad or any other visual message. While you may be tempted to fill your in-store displays and external packaging with information about your product, the fact is that most consumers won’t read most of the information associated with the product until after purchasing it, if they read it at all. The images consumers see should tell a story without saying a word.
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Color
Color choices are just as important as any graphics or images in your logo, displays, advertising and other branded messages that consumers receive. Certain colors can send specific messages without using any words or images, making this technique even more subtle and effective. Yellow often sends a message of optimism, for example, while blue is known for communicating intellect, coolness and loyalty. Red, on the other hand, can signify urgency, defiance or strength, while green and purple are known for being relaxing and/or soothing. So, read up on the best color choices for your brand identity, and choose no more than two bold colors.
- Use Real People, and Use Them Wisely
Real people in commercials, in-store displays, print ads, billboards and other advertising mediums can subliminally tell consumers what your product is “all about”—but only if you choose the right people. This doesn’t mean you have to use supermodels (unless your product promises people access to the level of class or luxury that supermodels often portray). It does, however, mean that you should make sure that their clothes, hair, accessories and posture portray the kind of image you want associated with your brand. All these little touches can help you send the right subliminal messages in advertising without consumers ever knowing it.