Perceptual Styles

Sensation and Perception Are Fundamental to Consumer Behavior

Today, marketing and advertising are as much an art as they are a science.

Today, marketing and advertising are as much an art as they are a science. This is in part due to scientific progress and increased market competition. Since the late 1800s, revolutions in psychology have rendered both the conscious and unconscious mind into forms of observable behavior. Instead of relying on dry demographics and polls, pure intuition, and “taking the consumer’s word for it” psychology-based advertising geniuses like Edward Bernays and Ernest Dichter—the respective fathers of PR and Motivation Research—and other influential market researchers like Emmanuel Demby, William Wells, and Douglas Tigert—the fathers of psychographics—applied psychology to the business world. 

Their innovations created more accurate and intimate methods for consumer research. In turn, the consumer’s mind became a playground for businesses to probe with the tools of psychology. The results were as good as gold, deepening the pockets of the companies that applied their principles. To this today, most businesses thrive and prosper by using psychology-backed research (APA, 2013). Just ask anyone in a marketing department what psychographics are, and they’ll start to sound like more of a psychologist than a creative.  

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Business owners should be thankful, because in the age of the internet and e-Commerce (and the era soon to come that is the metaverse) it has become easier than ever to start a business and gather customers. With almost one quarter of the global population estimated to shop online, having the right scientific understanding of your target consumer makes the difference between a company’s fortune or failure (Statista, 2021). 

However, the application of science to any business usually comes at a great cost. You need to hire an expert, rent machinery, run experiments, and analyze the results, all before you’ve even received any useful information for your business. Or even worse, you find out that the data you’ve generated isn’t enough, and need to bring in more experts and run different tests to make a more accurate, comprehensive consumer profile. Either way, the results are generally time intensive and quite expensive. 

To help businesses everywhere easily access the various innovations created by psychology, our founder (a PhD in psychometrics) created the world’s first one-stop shop for consumer-focused psychology tools: Inkblot Analytics.

What Is Inkblot Analytics?

Inkblot Analytics is a full-service market research firm. Thanks to psychology-backed technologies—like projective tests, psychographics, psychometrics, and psychophysics—we are able to model and even predict the complex relationships that affect consumers' buying behavior. In particular, we specialize in uncovering consumer perceptions using state-of-the-art, artificial intelligence-powered projective tests. Through these projective sciences and technologies, Inkblot Analytics generates customized psychological profiles for businesses. Here’s how it works. 

Consumers have different psychological profiles that can inform marketers how to build their brands and target their products. These profiles—which are made up of a person's personality traits, cognitive styles, perceptual styles, and motivations—allow you to identify consumers’ tendencies, loyalties, preferences, and even when and where they are likely to purchase. These psycho factors can be detected not only in the ways people act, but also in the types of brands they like and the products they desire. 

Using projective tests, Inkblot can target these various facets of behavior to compute and then predict consumer tendencies. You can even compare your results to our national benchmarks. This allows marketers to “activate” their consumer’s profile in their brand strategies. For example, after implementing a series of projective tests, you find out that one of your psychographic segments has a type of personality trait called “need for cognition.” This means that someone has a tendency to engage with, and even enjoy, complex thinking (Zhou, 2019). With this information, you might create a web ad campaign that invites the consumer to solve a puzzle that eventually assembles an image of your product. That would certainly leave an impression!  

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The underlying science of these projective techniques is built on understanding perception: the ability to become aware of something (e.g., your favorite song) through the senses (e.g., hearing). That’s why Inkblot Analytics expanded its psych technology portfolio to other parts of the perceptual process.

Introducing: Perceivable Thresholds

Consumers make decisions on what to buy and form opinions on brands based on their experiences. The responses that a certain brand evokes depends on how well their ads can stimulate the consumer’s senses, which then influence their behaviors and perceptions (Haase et. al., 2018). When companies use sensory marketing to generate positive brand experiences, it creates a Halo effect which can lead to more loyalty, satisfaction, and a favorable brand image. For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign helped bring the company into the public eye (Nayak, 2017). Prior to the famous three word print, television, and eventual internet campaign, Nike was primarily a shoe for marathon runners. The “Just Do It” campaign—which featured athletes and runners pushing through their struggles to achieve greatness—inspired emotion and action in the viewers. In terms of sensory stimulation, the sight of the pouring sweat, the sounds of the feet stomping stride-after-stride, and sweet taste of triumph left the viewer motivated. After seeing how these athletes conquered challenges through hard work and perseverance, the viewer is left with the thought, “All I have to do is get off the coach, go out there, and do it.” Today, runners, football players, basketball stars, skaters, fashionistas, and every day loungers rock their shoes.

Nike’s story is one in a million, and the reason that they are still a Fortune 100 company. However, their ability to create a noticeable sensory experience rocketed them into the public’s perception and created lasting brand success. The moral of the story is, ads that stand out pass a certain perceivable threshold, or the minimum amount of stimuli needed to trigger sensation. And that’s exactly what Inkblot’s new tool will tell you! 

Perceivable Thresholds is Inkblot’s proprietary artificial intelligence platform for optimizing creatives. We feed our AI a constant diet of modern ads from all over the web—search, social, TV, and more—in addition to tracking consumer’s reactions to them. 

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With all of this data, you can measure how an ad performs against a target audience, and tweak the creatives so they become the most noticeable (ads) for a given psychographic segmentation. 

Be Heard, Be Seen

When it comes to launching a successful ad campaign, make sure that your content is on the right side of the perceivable threshold by using the latest technology in psychology, available at Inkblot Analytics. Be heard and be seen with Perceivable Thresholds.


Haase, J., Wiedmann, K.P. and Labenz, F. (2018), "Effects of consumer sensory perception on brand performance", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 35 No. 6, p. 565-576.

Nayak, T. (2017). “Just Do It” @Ad Campaign: The Case of Nike. Globsyn Management Journal; Calcutta. 11(1). P. 59-66. 

Zhou, M. (2019). The role of personality traits and need for cognition in active procrastination. Acta psychologica, 199, 102883.

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