Neuroscience and Branding: Peering into the Brains of Your Customers
Have you ever wanted to look inside consumers’ brains to find out what motivates them to buy one brand over another? Neuroscience can help you do that!
A mind-boggling 95 percent of purchase decision making happens in the subconscious mind, according to Harvard Business School. Neuroscience can help marketers tap into the consumer’s subconscious mind to influence those purchasing decisions and make their brands stand out in a crowded marketing environment.
About Neuroscience and Neuromarketing
Neuroscience has been around a long time. The ancient Greeks were among the first to study the brain; in the 1800s, French physician Pierre Paul Broca was the first to conclude that different areas of the brain did different things. Since those early days, advances in research and technology have greatly expanded neuroscience. Scientists can now use sophisticated imaging devices and other equipment to study the brain’s response to different stimuli – including marketing stimuli.
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. While many neuroscientists study the network of nerve cells and fibers that transmit impulse messages between the brain and the rest of the body, other neuroscientists focus specifically on the brain and its effects on how people think and behave. A handful of scientists is embarking on a whole new type of neuroscience, known as neuromarketing.
Neuromarketing focuses on studying the physiology of the nervous system to gain insight into the preferences, motivations and decisions that drive purchases. This insight into the human brain guides product development, creative advertising, pricing and other areas of marketing.
Neuroscientists use advanced technology to study and measure physiological changes occurring in the brain during the purchase decision-making process. These technologies include brain scanning to measure activity inside the brain, and physiological tracking that measures eye movement and other physical effects caused by brain activity.
EEG and fMRI are the two primary tools for scanning the brain. An EEG (electroencephalogram) features sensors placed on a subject’s scalp. These sensors are sensitive enough to detect activity in the brain and can track changes in brain activity, but they don’t pinpoint exactly where the activity is occuring. EEG also has trouble measuring activity in the deep, subcortical regions of the brain, where much of the interesting purchasing decisions are made. This is where fMRI comes in.
fMRI is short for functional magnetic resonance imaging. This technology uses strong magnetic fields to track changes in blood flow across the brain. fMRI allows researchers to see which areas of the brain “light up” when a consumer considers a purchasing decision, hears certain music, or looks at pictures of items they might want to buy.
No fMRI? No Problem!
As Lisa Yeaton tweeted at the 2019 Content Marketing Conference in Boston, you can use neuroscience in marketing even if you don’t have all the fancy gadgets. She suggests using storytelling elements, measuring deep engagement metrics such as time spent and shares, tracking buying and content consumption patterns to see how many content consumers buy something, and hiring awesome storytellers and giving them the freedom they need to make your brand more appealing to the human brain.
Powerful, intense emotions kick the brain into high gear. Like many other body parts, brains enjoy a positive experience. If the brain thinks something fun is happening nearby, it wakes us up so we can party too. Negative emotions work too – if the brain thinks something bad is about to happen, our brain wakes us up so we can get the heck out of there. Activating the brain this way makes us more likely to absorb and retain the information (and content) in front of us.
Show the item first, price later
Research using fMRI shows that viewing products first improves the products attractiveness or desirability.
Make people feel good about themselves
The human brain is self-serving by necessity; the survival instinct helps keep us alive and feeling confident about our choices and opinions. This means humans will naturally gravitate towards experiences that validate their perspectives and stroke their egos. Content marketing that supports the emotional, physical and mental attributes of their base consumers are more likely to be well-received than content that fills your clients with doubt about their ability to make good purchasing decisions.
Using neuroscience can help your organization peer inside the brain of qualified prospects and convert tire-kickers into clients. For more information about neuroscience and branding, consult with a writer or marketer with a background in neuromarketing.
Lynn H has been a professional writer, providing exceptional content online and offline, for nearly 20 years. In that time, she has penned thousands of articles for doctors, universities, researchers, small businesses, nursing organizations, sole proprietors and more. She writes everything from blogs to white papers; her specialty is putting complex scientific concepts in simple terms. She specializes in medical writing, creating informative and engaging content for professionals in medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medical manufacturing, chiropractics, optometry, emergency care, plastic surgery and others.