Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sensation Transference: the term coined by the grand-daddy of brand marketing, Louis Cheskin. He observed that people’s perception of a product or service is inextricably linked to aesthetic design.  In other words if something looks expensive/exclusive/chic/cheap and cheerful we believe it will be expensive/exclusive/chic/cheap and cheerful.

Have you ever observed people when they are buying wine? For most the choice is not based on an extensive knowledge of wine: sometimes it’s based on the country or origin; sometimes based on the grape variety. My observation (and personal experience) is it’s based on the shape of the bottle and how attractive the label is!

Thanks to Louis Cheskin margarines (non-butter spreads) are yellow. Who would fancy spreading their bread (or crispbread if you are being good) with something that looks like lard (yep, it should be white)

This is why building a business brand or developing a personal brand (same process: different ‘product’) must be based within reality. Authenticity.

So what’s this got to do with email marketing? Well a lot, actually, and is essential when you consider the 2-2-2 Principle!

What’s the 2-2-2- Principle?

  1. The first two is for the 2 seconds you typically have to compel your reader to pay attention.
  2. The second two if for the first 2 words of your email subject line or headline. This is not a decision about whether to read your email, but as to whether or not they will bother to read the rest of the subject line.
  3. The third two is for “why does this email or message matter today2day (get it? 2day!). If you can answer that question in your subject line or headline, as close to the first two words as possible, more people will stop and at least open your message.

Perceptions vs. Reality or Perception is Reality

Let’s go back to Louis Cheskin and the concept of aesthetic design and the fact that his research led him to conclude that people trust what they see before they trust what they hear, taste, touch, smell etc.

You have worked really hard on the subject line; it’s compelling, they are going to bother to read the rest of the subject line AND they are going to read the email today – hurrah!

What happens when they open the email and start to read?

Does the email ‘look’ like it comes from you – is the template the right one for your business, are the colours, images and fonts #appropriate? Are you visually authentic?

Does the email ‘sound’ like it comes from you – is it written in your style, are you using your words and turn of phrase, are you writing about something appropriate to you and your business? Are you verbally authentic?

In marketing they talk about the problems that occur when perception (the idea about your product or service you have built in the minds of your clients/potential clients) does not meet the reality (what they actually experience). In this scenario, if the reality does not live up to the expectation there is a double-dip in the perception.

However, perception is reality in most cases – isn’t it?

  • The high end restaurant with dirty toilets – the restaurant (and particularly the kitchens) is dirty
  • The interviewee who arrives late for an interview (albeit late by 10 seconds) is a bad timekeeper
  • The person who uses their mobile phone handset while driving is a bad driver

So, when people on your list open that email from you – is it really from you? Are you in it? Is it authentically you? How can you be sure?

Well, over the next few months I am really looking forward to engaging with you via a series of blogs looking at all aspects of ensuring you, and your brand, are fully, authentically, really embedded in your email marketing.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.