Inception marketing: Planting ideas in the minds of consumers

“Once an idea has taken hold of the brain, it is almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.”


When it comes to marketing, we often fall into the trap of thinking we need all singing, all dancing, in your face tactics to ensure that people cannot escape your message, but what Dominick Cobb and his team in Inception discover is that there is nothing more powerful than planting a seed into somebody’s brain and allowing it to grow.

The power of the subconscious

Our brains tend to be made up of the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious are our waking thoughts that we are aware of and in control of, but the subconscious is the much murkier place that Cobb chooses to focus his attention on.

Inception is effectively the implantation of someone’s idea into the subconscious of somebody else, and Cobb has made a career out of this. Whilst he expertly steals secrets from the subconscious, the new challenge of planting something there seems irresistible, but this is something that those of us in the marketing world have been doing for years.

By aiming your marketing at the subconscious brain, there is a lot more room for it to expand and take root. Cobb explains that “an idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow.” This makes for a more convincing argument, without the subject even knowing there is an argument at all. Suddenly, your marketing is not about creating adverts, it is about getting inside somebody’s brain.

The inner voice

Most traditional forms of marketing involve trying to speak to a potential customer in a way that they will understand and resonate with. However, the hard truth of life is that many of us really do not like being told what to do, and a rebellious spirit might even try to push us in the opposite direction. We all tend to think that we are too savvy to fall for typical marketing stunts, and so we move away from them, and fail to respond in the desired way.

The voice that most of us tend to prefer (whether you like to admit it or not) is our own. We all tend to think that our own ideas and conclusions are the best way forwards, and so this is where inception marketing comes into its own. We are no longer trying to push an idea down somebody’s throat, we are becoming an Architect. Just as Ariadne builds streets and office blocks, we must build ideas and solutions ready for the audience to put together for themselves.

“In the dream state, your conscious defences are lowered, and makes your thoughts more vulnerable…”

Implanting the benefits of what you offer, rather than a simple sales pitch, will be something that stays within the brain longer. Much like the dream state, it will take on a life of its own, growing and blossoming until it feels more organic, and the person will feel as though it was their own clever idea all along.

“You create the world of the dream. We bring the subject into that dream, and they fill it with their subconscious,” Cobb explains to us.

Building the dream

Just like Inception, this type of marketing can be complicated, but in a crowded marketplace where it becomes harder and harder to be the one who shouts the loudest, it can be very effective. It is most successful when you aim to plant the big ideas rather than detail. Look at the main benefits of what you offer and explain these using an undeniable truth so that there is only one logical conclusion that can be reached.

This type of marketing can be a longer strategy, but it is also a more sophisticated one that requires the years of experience that we have at Koobr. We can help to create an effective marketing strategy that can work like a dream even when you’re not actually in one. Just call us today on 01332 419803.

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