…by Amina AlTai
Designers, marketers and strategists alike pour over brands for thousands upon thousands of hours to cultivate the right images and send the right cues to consumers. When start-ups come to me with homemade clip-art packaging I cringe, not only for their lack of appreciation for the scientific nature of my job, but for their inability to understand the grave importance of selecting or designing the right imagery.
When Evian created a label for their water bottle, they opted for crisp peaks that reflected the French Alp heritage of this pure mineral water. The images are sharp, refreshing and natural and speak to the purity of the brand. The light blue tinge of the bottle creates an ice-cold air encasing the most refreshing water that will ever pass through your lips. Or so they lead you to believe.
Sometimes labels, at first glance, can see to be purveyors of extreme hyperbole. Everybody knows that sipping a bottle of Evian wont whisk you away to the Alps, or make you any more French, but there is a method to this marketing madness. The reason that subtle, even innocuous images can be so persuasive is because of their ability to wreak havoc on our subconscious. What happens is that our brains connect the dots and paint a story based on the loose information it finds of a label. So we see French Alps, we read “natural” and soon our brain starts to draw conclusions about purity, serenity, nature and peacefulness. Soon enough our brain starts to think that if we want water in it’s freshest, most unadulterated form, we have to buy Evian.
Sound a little far fetched? Our brains are hardwired to connect the dots and create associations, even if the writing isn’t exactly on the wall. Thanks to the pattern recognition software we are born with, we often form associations that aren’t there. The claims on any package are, of course, of the utmost importance, but our brains aren’t taking them at face value. Our subconscious takes in the information, paints a picture based on the visual and verbal cues and settles on the functional and emotional benefits of your product, whether it’s there in black and white, or not. So next time you’re deciding between clip art, and a custom image that speaks the value of your brand, ask yourself, what speaks to the ideals of the consumers and will get them to paint the picture you are longing to create?