When researchers from Cornell and Yale Universities tested whether eye contact with the Trix Rabbit influenced choice of cereal, they found that it did.
The researchers painted new eyes on the rabbit and had 63 students from a private northeastern university randomly view one of two boxes.
On one box the rabbit’s eyes pointed down, as if looking into the eyes of children, while on a second box the rabbit stared directly into the eyes of the university students.
It worked. Brand trust was 16% higher for those students who made eye contact with the rabbit vs the students who viewed the downward looking rabbit.
The feeling of connection to the brand also went up 28%, plus the students who gazed into the eyes of the rabbit indicated liking Trix better, compared to another cereal.
This finding shows that cereal box spokes-characters that make eye contact may increase positive feelings towards the product and encourage consumers to buy it.
You and I are not boxes of cereal on a shelf, but we are spokes-characters who cannot outsource our public speaking to a mascot. We have to do it ourselves.
Our willingness and ability to connect with our listeners depends largely on our ability to look at them, to see them, and to let them know that they are seen.
By looking at them we read their faces, we observe their gestures and facial expressions, and by doing so, they send signals to us. Their faces and bodies speak to us. And if we are capable of responding to what we see, we transform what could be a dull monologue into something much richer: a dialogue.
If the Trix rabbit can raise brand trust and connection to a box of cereal, you can raise trust and connection with your listeners by looking them in the eye, one at a time.
Trix aren’t just for kids. They’re also for savvy business presenters who know how to win the day when all eyes are on them.
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