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Wall Murals – Impact and Emotional Branding

Signage advertising comes in all shapes and sizes, but probably the last thing in the mind’s eye of Vancouver businesses is wall murals. They should be, though. For impact on brand and visibility, there are few forms of indoor advertising that get as much attention, and, for your business getting attention is everything. In the competitive world in which we do business, we see hundreds (perhaps thousands) of brand and sales messages in our daily travels. Much of the messaging we see, we subconsciously filter, letting it fade into the background. So how do we ensure that our messages are seen, and moreover, how do we ensure that once seen, they have the desired impact? That’s where unique forms of signage, like wall murals can help.

Remember the Sesame Street song “One of these things is not like the other”? In advertising signage, differences can be powerful attributes that make your signage and its messaging stand out from all the other signs would-be consumers see daily. When done well, being different in terms of scale, positioning, materials, imagery and messaging will inspire and emotionally impact the viewer. And rather than relegating your signage to the advertising fog bank of forgettable ads and signs in their minds, your “different advertising” jumps out at them, earning the desired attention. That’s what wall murals do.

Impact of Wall Murals

While brand power may bring people from the mall corridor into the store, most retailers are not household names and don’t enjoy a steady stream of walk-ins based on their brand name. For most Vancouver and BC businesses, increasing visibility is a vital element of successful marketing. If you remember your last trip to a mall, you won’t remember much about signage, but, we bet you can remember where you saw an impactful wall mural. That’s power! If you remember a Vancouver retailer’s wall mural, weeks, months, or years after a trip to a mall, that advertising has done its job a thousand times over. Wall murals, because they are so different than most signage that surrounds them, have that kind of staying power. They can contain larger than life images that resonate in memory because of their uniqueness and scale, but moreover, because of the emotions they elicit.

Wall Murals as Emotional Branding

This melding of space, brand and image in a wall mural is more than mere marketing — it builds an emotional bridge. Murals may still convey explicit messages (sales, services and the like), but their power is in the more subtle, evocative messages that reach our emotions and create lasting impressions about the kind of business you are running, the kind of dreams we just might realize by purchasing your products or services: the underlying promise of self-actualization. In other words it’s emotional branding. We sometimes think of marketing and branding as explicit: a business’s logo, slogan, colour scheme and other design elements, but studies have shown that to win a consumer over, a brand must make an emotional connection. A study of data from the UK’s Institute of Practitioners in Advertising revealed that purely emotional advertising performed twice as well as those ads which contained purely rational content. Wall murals are an excellent vehicle for emotional branding that creates that bond.

In Marketing Profs “Five Tips for Effective Emotional Branding’“, Jeannette de Beauvoir reminds us that what we now call “emotional branding” is not new. de Beauvoir’s article mentions Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – the seminal book that teaches people how to understand and leverage human nature to foster effective interpersonal relationships. Carnegie advised business people to “appeal to their customer’s emotions”.

In the book, Carnegie says two important things about emotion: “Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way”. He also stated that “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion”. Emotional advertising then, “arouses an eager want” by remembering that people are “creatures of emotion”.

What all people desire is to become the person they aspire to be — to self-actualize. Abraham Maslow put self-actualization at the top of his Hierarchy of Needs for a reason. Achieving our full potential and becoming our best true selves is the driving force of human life. In Maslow’s hierarchy, all other needs — shelter, safety, love, self-esteem — take precedent, yet, we all continue to strive for the pinnacle, and more easily if our other more basic needs are met. This tidbit from psychology 101 tells us something about why emotional advertising works — why the humble wall mural can have such an impact. Emotional advertising helps us envision the person we want to be and keeps our innermost, subconscious life goals alive.

In Psychology Today’s “How Emotions Influence What We Buy“, Peter Noel Murray, Ph.D. writes that “The influential role of emotion in consumer behavior is well documented…”fMRI neuro-imagery shows that when evaluating brands, consumers primarily use emotions (personal feelings and experiences) rather than information (brand attributes, features, and facts).” So, marketers have learned that emotional content helps us connect, but it isn’t just manipulation for the sake of the almighty dollar. That emotional image on a Vancouver store’s wall mural may have been designed to evoke an emotion in us, but, it is what we desire. We have spoken, or at least our buying habits have. We respond to emotional content. Many would rather have their emotional heart strings tugged a little than be hit over the head with “EVERYTHING MUST GO! SALE! SALE! SALE!”.

While all of this may seem like  a weighty discussion if you’re a Vancouver, BC business considering a wall mural, remember that their emotional impact lingers long after a person leaves the mall, long after all the other signage has faded into the abyss of signage they see (and likely  ignore) daily.

When it comes to wall murals, the reasons described above are the “why”. Contact Sandbox Signs + Graphics and we’ll help you with the “how”.