In an issue of Media Magazine, and the subsequent Joe Mandese editorial, were devoted to “The Brain.” I began reading with the hope that the issue’s guest editor, Dr. Carl Marci, would cover the ability of sound to impact the brain. But aside from one article, which touched on the impact of music in advertising, there was very little discussion on the topic.
If, indeed, the brain is the ultimate screen “where everything ultimately plays out,” as A.K. Pradeep from Neurofocus states in the magazine, then what are the various ways for marketers to impact it?
“Screens” are synonymous with viewing and sight. But are visual stimuli required to generate images? The answer is obviously no. Humans are quite capable of creating pictures in our minds by visualizing. This is defined as “recalling mental images or pictures,” which requires no direct visual stimulation. And what happens while we sleep? Every night, our eyes are completely closed, yet we are creating vivid imagery while dreaming. So the human brain is quite capable of ”seeing” without direct visual stimulation.
A fact overlooked by many is that the sound waves that enter our ears do greatly impact what we ultimately see. We hear a voice, a commercial, a song, a movie trailer, a tire screech, a church bell and immediately we begin to visualize, activating our own internal one-billion-cell video screen that’s fueled by sound.
A powerful argument could be made that this type of intensely personal visualization can actually be more impactful than the actual picture. Renowned author and marketing expert Jack Trout came to understand the impact of sound after analyzing hundreds of positioning programs. He said: “We have come to the conclusion that the mind works by ear, not by eye.”
Need further proof of our ability to see without direct visual stimuli? Imagery Transfer anyone? In a recent study we conducted for a major national advertiser, without prompting, consumers continually referenced the company’s television campaign after exposure to its radio commercials.
The Hindus have a saying, “Nada Brahma,” which translates to “The world is sound.” While this might be overstating things a bit, the ability of sound to trigger visual images, motivate consumers and impact our brains is immense. Certainly, this warrants the ultimate sound vehicle – radio — to be elevated from its current “lost continent” status in some marketing departments.
-Bob McCurdy, President