In our experience of researching people’s engagement with brands, it seems to us that strong relationships are formed with those where there is a visual force. Psychologists and behavioural scientists have, for decades, talked about the power of visual appearance and body language over verbal communication.

It is often quoted that 80% of effective communication is non-verbal and that how things are presented can, therefore, be even more important than content. We have even heard that people who are perceived to be more attractive earn more. We believe that the same probably applies to brands, although we wouldn’t advocate the view that style matters over substance; our experience suggests the best branding has both.

Here are 4 tangible branding tips when trying to attract the attention of new buyers:

1. Visual memory is crucial in brand recognition. Most people hate to hang around in supermarkets, when they are walking up and down high streets or shopping online it is shortcuts, signposts and encoded messaging that works. That’s why in all of our design research it is often distinctive symbols, strong ownable forms and colours that are at the root of successful ideas. In other words: Wear a hat and they are less likely to forget you. But make sure it suits you so they remember for the right reason.

2. First impressions do count. People are conditioned to form a first impression instantaneously, within 1/10th of a second, which is much faster than we can read or comprehend words. So your brand needs to make an impact and the fastest way is a physical presence or appearance. For this reason, simplicity is crucial. In other words: don’t leave your best assets to be discovered. Get the big guns out from the outset.

3. Eye contact matters when seeking engagement – we know this from any sales or presentation training we have ever been through. But enable your brand to make eye contact with buyers and you are operating at a different level to competitors. Where experiential brands have human interventions this is straightforward. For inanimate brands or buying situations where there isn’t a human interface how can we replicate this? The answer, according to design experts JKR is brand charisma. Think of it as an eye into the soul of a brand – what we would describe as its purpose. If this is clear and visible, there’s a greater chance of engagement. In other words: look them in the eye and give them the whole brand truth.

4. Smiling and positive reinforcement increases engagement. People like a happy story and in most cases a positive, optimistic, warm and energetic presentation is mirrored by the recipient. Ads, designs, logos, fascias and packaging which accentuate the positive, with human, or human-like features not only encourage greater engagement, they also encourage a more positive response. In other words: smile and, if they are interested, they will smile back.

Get in touch if you want to see more about brand body language.