90% of Communication to the Brain is Visual


They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s actually a lot more valuable than that.

Humans are visual creatures. We’ve created art galleries and museums to explore and view priceless treasures of our history. We developed effective colour and marketing strategies that appeal to our eyes and psychology. We even invented makeup and clothing styles that ensure we can look our best for ourselves and others. With the dawn of social media; the visual components in our lives are even more readily available. At any point, we can pull up pictures of kittens, supermodels or landscapes to help feed that visual drive.

Dr Albert Mehrabian has conducted several studies on nonverbal communication, with findings showing we process images 60,000 times faster than text and specifically 93% of all information transmitted to our brains is visual. Mostly surprisingly, as we always hear “Communication is Key”; the words we use only made up the remaining 7%. The non-verbal component of this study was made up of 55% body language, and tone of voice was 38%.

Whilst the findings are surprising, they make absolute sense when we look at humanity and its development, and as humans are visual by nature; by utilising this knowledge we can improve our data processing and organisational effectiveness.

The great Oscar Wilde put it most poetically, “Meaning is not in things, but in between them”. Whilst we are hearing the words being spoken to us, subconsciously our mind is processing a million different factors in one interaction. What is this person really trying to say? Why am I feeling uneasy speaking with this person? I like the coat this person has on.

Therefore, this determines why our own physical personal presentation is so important. It’s our non-verbal way of telling the world what we stand for and why. You wouldn’t go into a business meeting in your pyjamas and expect to be taken seriously (unless your company culture is super chill!). The suit makes the man or woman and as humans we’ve evolved to recognise personal presentation stimulates that part of our minds which makes us pay attention. When we see a Police Officer in their uniform, our brains automatically feed us responses of “Authority” and “Safety”.
A man in a suit may invoke feelings of “Professionalism” or “Business”.

Taking this over to a marketing or branding standpoint, many of us know that colour prompts the receptors in our brains at 80% of the visual statistics. Red is often associated with energy and has even been known to stimulate hunger. Using red within your branding prompts “action” or “sale” which excites our minds; whilst colours like blue have come to be associated with technology, and green with health.

Taking this into account, we can effectively start to use these statistics within your own branding and marketing. A pleasing logo with complimenting colours is one of the most effective ways to get your company out there. As humans, we look to brands we can trust; and looking at larger corporations and taking a leaf out of the visual elements they have taken on board across their branding; we can see how many of them have grown to be the successes they are now.

And there you have it. If 90% of our brains are most effectively processing visual stimulus; perhaps we could all be saying a little less and presenting a little more.
After all, it’s human physiology!

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