Humans are complex creatures. We like to think we’re in control of our decisions, preferences and actions, but in reality, we are constantly influenced and manipulated by things out of our control.

Take marketing for example, many brands that are privy to psychological influences that can sway consumers towards their preferred responses and emotions through their marketing. But it’s not as nefarious as it sounds. Simple hacks like colour, language and the placement of your designs can be the difference between a conversion and a lost contact. So stay with us while we run through some of the most common psychological hacks used in marketing

The psychology of language

Language is used to guide and shape our perception of the world. It’s how we process the situations taking place around us, and articulate our own feelings and emotions. It’s how we connect, communicate and build relationships. And it’s a powerful tool for persuasion and influence. So it’s only right that marketers should pay close attention to linguistic factors that can influence our relationship with a brand. 

Your language and voice are huge players in your brand positioning and brand persona. A brand that doesn’t speak your language can instantly put you off. Can you imagine a fast food brand talking in Apple’s tone of voice? Or Disney talking in the voice of Rolls Royce? Of course not, because those brand’s designed their language nuances around their targeted audiences. Ultimately, people connect with brands that speak their language.

Successful brands pay attention to how their target audiences and demographics speak, but also, which communications they engage with. Are your audiences more active on social media platforms, or do they engage more with your longer-form content? Do they indulge in colloquialisms, or do they prefer to remain professional and corporate when researching your product or brand? There’s a lot to break down when considering the psychology of language, and it’s also important to consider the tone of your language. Positive language evokes excitement and inspiration, while the active tense evokes action.

And how about putting the reader at the centre of your copy? Look at the difference here:

If getting more customers is a goal for 2023, install the ‘insert product’ to increase conversions. Find out more here.


If your goal for 2023 is to get more customers, you should install the ‘insert product’ to increase your conversions. Find out more here.

The second version instantly connects with the reader as it’s telling a story that puts them at the centre, using the words ‘you’ and ‘your’. Storytelling is a great device for connecting with readers since stories are more memorable and more emotive!

The psychology of colour

When buying a product, 93% of customers say they focus on the visual appearance. Packaging, PoS advertising and marketing campaigns must all take note of the influence colour can have on a buyer’s decision.

Colour therapy has been used by businesses for years. We know from observation that colours such as red and orange can evoke a sense of vibrancy and warmth, whereas blues and greens are often associated with calmness and nature. 

Each colour carries with it its own connotations. Orange promotes enthusiasm and is often used to entice impulsive shoppers, whereas purple is associated with wisdom, and is frequently used for anti-aging and beauty products. There are biological markers too, red for example, is known to physically stimulate the human body, increasing blood pressure and heart rate. It’s often associated with passion and excitement, as well as creating a sense of urgency.

But it’s also important to know the impact colour can have on accessibility and readability. A lack of contrast between fonts and backgrounds can strain users’ eyes and make it harder for those with visual impairments to focus on your content. Consider how your users will react to the colour choices of your branding and marketing material, and resist choosing colours you think ‘look nice’.

The psychology of placement

Headline, graphic, subheading, call to action. There is an interesting pathway our brains take when digesting marketing content. And graphic designers are all trained on those psychological influences. Design plays a crucial role in guiding readers and users throughout a campaign or advert, ensuring the message is delivered in the right sequence. 

Just take a look at the example on the right

Need we say anymore? Make sure graphic designers consider the placement of copy and images and always test your campaigns on focus groups or peers to ensure the messaging is digested correctly. Often, we can become blind to our own creativity!

The psychology of call to actions

Email subject lines and call to actions (CTAs) are excellent places to start experimenting with psychology in marketing. Studies have shown that changing just one word or even a word tense can have a huge impact on conversions. Why? Because of the role of language in influencing our brains. 

Certain words such as ‘scheduled’ or ‘call’ can cascade a range of unwanted emotions including anxiety or urgency. To make your CTAs and email subject lines irresistible to clickers, consider the feelings they evoke. Opt for action verbs, personalisation, and keep them short and snappy.

Content Verve writes how tweaking just one word can instantly double your conversion rates. They found that by replacing the word ‘schedule’ with ‘watch’, their conversion rates soared. They concluded that the word ‘schedule’ prompted a negative thought process involving too much effort; having to consult their calendar, and find a time to schedule. Whereas the word ‘watch’ was more active, to the point, and required little effort. Remove any potential pain or negativity from your language and see how it impacts your conversions and click rates! 

Our brains really are so complex and it’s only right we consult psychology when building a marketing campaign or developing a brand. Market research and data-driven decisions will of course play a huge part in helping you define what works and what doesn’t, but by staying aware of the psychological factors that influence our decision-making and relationships with brands, we can propel our marketing strategies and connect with customers on new levels.

If you’d like to learn more about working with a strategic creative agency, look no further than Stratos. Find out more or contact a member of our team.