New research proves that seeing a recognized brand image provokes positive emotional responses in viewers. Get your firm’s brand image out there to be recognized!
Radiologists at the Ludwig-Maximillians University Hospital in Munich, Germany conducted a study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to explore responses to brand images. Study participants were shown images of familiar and unfamiliar logos and asked questions to gauge their perceptions of the brand while attached to fMRI scanners. The researchers found a startling correlation between the degree of familiarity of the brand image and the location within the brain in which the images were processed. The results of this study indicate that
“strong brands activated a network of cortical areas and areas involved in positive emotional processing and associated with self-identification and rewards. The activation pattern was independent of the category of the product or the service being offered. Furthermore, strong brands were processed with less effort on the part of the brain. Weak brands showed higher levels of activation in areas of working memory and negative emotional response.”
So if your accounting firm has a strong brand image that is used consistently, any communication with your audience has an advantage over firms that don’t from the outset. Prior to reading any content, the brains of your readers are already primed to receive it in a positive light. In contrast, if your brand image is unfamiliar or inconsistent, your messages are irritants and negative emotional triggers.
While this was the first study of its precise kind, there have been a few others examining the relationship between brain and branding. The study tested only a small group (20) of right-handed, highly educated adults. There is plenty of room for extensive additional research, but even so, the results are a wake-up call for firms that rely on word of mouth to the exclusion of more visually oriented types of marketing. No matter how positive the firm’s reputation, if you’re working against the brain’s own response you’re putting yourself at an unnecessary disadvantage.
The lesson here for accounting firms and those who market them is clear: create a strong visual brand image and then use it, use it and use it some more. Create a well-branded website, include your branding on everything you do as a firm. Put it on your brochures, letters, invoices, proposals and business cards. Your brand image should be everywhere you can possibly use it, without being invasive, of course. It should be well-designed and recognizable at any size, and distinctive enough that it’s never confused with other logos. After ensuring that your brand image meets those standards, do everything you can to let it be seen. If the brain loves what it knows, then become a known image to as many delicious brains as possible.