By G. Race
Chief among the value of marketing is its ability to create brand trust. One great way of doing this is to turn to the latest in science for help. As the blog below illustrates, keys to branding success can even be found in something so seemingly trivial as a scientific inquiry into the eyes of cereal box characters.
Study Shows Eyes are Windows to Branding Success
The first to encapsulate the idea that “the eyes are the window to the soul” is hidden in the mists of history. Some claim it as on old English proverb, others hail Shakespeare as the bardic originator. The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, however, are the ones who have proven that the eyes, along with possibly revealing our inner selves, are most certainly windows to branding success.
The Cornell researchers recently conducted a study on how cereal box marketing techniques work on consumers. Specifically, they set out to discover whether or not cereal box characters make eye contact with consumers. If so, does that influence the choices made by both adults and children?
They began by evaluating 65 different cereals, 86 different characters, in 10 different grocery stores on the East coast. Initial findings revealed that children’s cereals were, on average, placed on the bottom two shelves in stores while adult cereals were typically found on the top two shelves. This becomes important when considering that, in both cases, the respective levels of the spokes-characters allowed incidental eye contact with the target consumer.
Just how “incidental” is this eye contact? The characters on children’s cereal boxes, 57 of the total studied, gazed outwards from their boxes at a specifically effective angle of 9.67 degrees, slightly downwards. Adults, on the other hand, are treated to a fairly straight-on .43 degree upward gaze.
Researchers then turned their attention to what effect this might actually have. They wanted to discover, much to the jubilation of marketers everywhere, to what extent this eye contact with cereal box characters influences feelings of trust in connection with a specific brand.
Adult participants were shown one of two different versions of the same brand of cereal. On one, the character was looking straight at the viewer, while on the other the character looked down.
Findings show an impressive 16% jump in brand trust and a whopping 28% increase in feelings of connection with that brand when the spokes-character made eye contact. Subjects reported actually liking that brand of cereal better, the eye contact promoting positive feelings and encouraging consumers to buy it.
According to the scientists at Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, what these results boil down to is,”If you are a parent who does not want your kids to go ‘cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs’ avoid taking them down the cereal aisle. If you are a cereal company looking to market healthy cereals to kids, use spokes-characters that make eye contact with children to create brand loyalty!”
Saying that “the eyes are the window to the soul” may be neither original nor new; the marketing methods of shelf placement and the psychology of advertising spokes-characters may not be a big secret. However, with these studies, Cornell researchers have given marketers and businesses in all industries a glimpse into how we might use the eyes as windows to branding success.
Blogging for marketers is really about communicating your abilities to create brand trust. Contact us to find out more ways that we can help you do just that!
Editor’s note: This blog is an example of the kind of writing you can get for your blog. The only thing that’s different is that it has the name of the writer. For your blog, you can say you wrote it. That’s fine with us. We’re happy mutts. Click here for more explanation of this series of posts. — Scott