Neuromarketing – new marketing trend or scientist gimmick?

Have you ever wondered why your marketing campaign is not effective and the audience is not connecting to your brand? Why the brands like Coca- Cola or Apple are still the top choices for many consumers and the situation hasn’t changed for years?


The scientists from all over the world have come up with an answer. All the big players have something in common; they invest a lot of money in marketing research, including neuroscience before they decide to enter highly competitive market with their product, and they are not afraid of using science in their favour. Neuromarketing has been used in strategy planning processes for at least 10 years, proving that brands can imbue the product value unconsciously by improving their sensual features, as well as influencing consumer’s choices by inducing certain emotions related to the product.

The neuroscientists involved in creating neuromarketing are certain that all we experience around us is just an illusion, which we naively believe is a true world. But in fact, our perception of the products or brands is different and varies for everyone and can be easily manipulated. Neuromarketing seems to be a key to consumer’s heart and loyalty. Marrying science with the power of marketing is definitely a future trend for organizations to watch, although it is not controversy free. By observing brain activity, researchers can predict whether you prefer Pepsi or Coke more accurately than you can. According to the studies, brand preference relates to brand image, rather than product features itself. Coke vs Pepsi experiment performed by scientists showed that in blind test people preferred Pepsi due to its sweeter taste, but once they’d been told that they drink Coke they automatically preferred it. It is believed that key indicator of their choices was linked to emotional connection with the brand.

Evaluative judgement in the sense of liking or disliking brand can be modified – say neuroscientists. For example, if a company wants their electronic device like TV to be perceived as a quality product, they add weight to the remote control because it signifies quality. The same principal applies for example to the tools like drills or hammers. Adding aluminium to the cover of a phone or laptop automatically enhances its features and is being perceived as a better product than any competitive brand which uses a different type of material. Surprisingly, visual features and tangible features are not playing a key role in consumer’s choices. Saying that, however, in a digital era, we have to pay particular attention how is the brand perceived in a digital world where visuals take the lead.


Show me, tell me

Neuromarketers use very specific measures when it comes to checking consumer’s focus and attention. It is emerging discipline in which researchers use medical technology to determine consumer reactions to particular brands, slogans, and advertisements. Neuroimaging has recently gained popularity. It provides marketers with information that is obtainable through conventional marketing methods. It might provide hidden information about the consumer experience, helping to match products with people. What is the difference between traditional focus groups or surveys and using neuroimaging tools? Neuroimaging provides more accurate, efficient information about consumer behaviour, based on the assumption that people cannot fully articulate their preferences and their brain contains all the hidden information. It can show consumer preferences before a new product enters the market, allowing marketing team to adjust product design and strategy. To name a few indicators grabbing consumer attention at the visual level are: contrast, density of the image, its brightness, movement, composition.  For example, colours like red, black and white usually grab attention when they are composed together much better than any other combinations of colours. Also, any unusual lines, distractions, angles tend to be more noticeable. Our brains usually work on autopilot when it comes to choosing particular brand or product. Therefore, most of consumer’s behaviour is unconscious. That is why it is so important to stimulate visual attention and part of the brain related to emotions before the product is even introduced to the market. The longer they audience is exposed to the brand, the more likely they are going to choose it.

Smells like action

The same principal applies to the brands which heavily rely on their smelling features, for example, leather shoes brands or bakeries. As processed leather does not smell, the quality leather shoes POS use leather smell sprays to enhance the brand experience and influence customer brain by appealing to the smelling sense. The bakeries very often use fresh bread smell to influence consumer’s actions.  Casinos or other gaming places which rely on fast reactions are very likely to use lemon odour which naturally stimulates fast action. According to the scientists, the more odours is being been used, the better response from the audience should be. The scent has a particular impact on consumer viewing time. It is related to our brain construction and the way how the information floats around its structures. Sensing smell believes to be human’s warning system. But in human’s environment, strangely enough, it does not really matter what it is, as long the odour is pleasant. Even the most distant memories can be brought back with a smell. It is a key to open consumer memories system. For example, if you think of a soldier who was involved in a war. If you expose them to the smell of burning meat, it might be particularly upsetting to them, causing the whole body reacting with a high level of stress and bring back traumatic memories. If you are made to believe in something, it will influence how the customer perceives the reality.

Sounds like success

Then sound. Take your mobile device, or computer mouse, even the drawers. Everything has its specific sound when used and every sound causes a particular reaction in our brain and causes action. The more predictable the sound is, the better reaction might be expected. For many years scientists were measuring brain, heart rate and sight response to the certain stimuli. In fact, we only interact with the brands with our senses; it is the whole body reacting to it.

It is vital to know how your brand is perceived. Therefore marketing without neuroscience is like lurking through a key hole, seeing just a tiny piece of reality instead of the whole, wide picture. It is noticeable, that relying only on our experience, not on the facts which might result in better sales and brand loyalty, can lead every organization to marketing disaster. That is one of the big hidden secrets of marketing teams behind the most successful brands. They are very likely to rely on science, not only on statistics, myths, and universal knowledge. They are very specific, consumer orientated and checking every aspect of their New Product Development carefully before they introduce anything to the market. Without knowing how the consumer is going to choose the brand among the others, we are very limited when it comes to preparing effective marketing strategy.



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