Neuromarketing: It’s all about consumer insights
Neuromarketing is the meeting point of neuroscience and marketing. It studies how people’s brains respond to advertisements and brands by scientifically monitoring brainwave activity, eye-tracking and skin response. Our subconscious mind decides the way we respond to ads, brands and products and thus influences all our purchase decisions. Customers always do not know why they are buying and what they buying. Neuroscience shows us that the consumer’s brain develops preferences on the basis of the intuitional relation with the product’s brand and not on the basis of the message conveyed through an advertisement.
Our brains are divided into three sections which have very specific functions controlling every choice we make.
What happens when we watch a powerful TV commercial?
There are certain brain waves that correlate with heightened attention and thus become more active, according to researchers who have used EEGs, or electroencephalographs, to study the brain’s electrical frequencies. Brain waves that signal less-focused attention, meanwhile, tend to subside.
Thus the neuro marketing firms measure the attention, memory and attention and try and capture the response of the subconscious to various stimuli. They capture electrical signals which when added together represents the “whispers of the brain”. By watching how different neural circuits light up or go dark during the buying process, the researchers found they could predict whether a person would end up purchasing a product or passing it up.
Quite a lot of neuromarketing firms, like EmSense, Sands Research, MindLab International and NeuroSense, now specialize in the latest mind-mining techniques.
Companies like Google, CBS, Disney, Frito-Lay and A & E Television, as well as some political campaigns, have used neuromarketing to test consumer impressions. And, in 2008, Nielsen invested in NeuroFocus, the largest of these firms, adding credibility to the field.
Neuromarketing is simply the latest incarnation, says Joseph Turow, a professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “There has always been a holy grail in advertising to try to reach people in a hypodermic way,” he says.
Cellphone manufacturers spend millions of dollars in thinning the phones by one little bit. Neuro marketers have found a very interesting neurological phenomenon. When the cell phone is thin, the consumer brain goes-”wonderful, wonderful, wonderful…” Then suddenly, beyond a limit, it shifts to “breakable, breakable, breakable”. When the cellphone becomes thinner than a certain point, your brain says, “I don’t want it, it’s breakable.” Neuro marketing empowers the companies to find this boundary.
For all soccer fans out there World cup football is like a religious festival. One will clearly remember the Nike ad “Write the future”. The hallmark: all players to feature in those ads performed dismally at the world cup. However the commercial can be classified as a classic example of neuromarketing. Three full minutes of soccer superstars, superb football, individual potential and oozing neuromarketing! It is one of the best footballing ads and at first one stands to be blown away. But from the perspective of a marketer one can get new lessons.
Watch the ad and see how your senses and emotions go into overdrive. One FEELS the anticipation as one is expecting the goal to be scored by drogba and then it’s saved at the last instant by cannavaro. As well as FEELING the joy and disappointment. One can EXPERIENCE the passion of national pride as each country celebrates and how they celebrate based on that culture. The ad ENGAGES you, showcasing the place football has in different cultures. The music perfectly synced to the mood and influenced by each culture. It Makes YOU part of it by showing how a single moment of determination by a man can lift a nation. How you can write your history if you decide to Write the Future.
According to NeuroFocus there are 3 things that are key to consumer response:
- Emotional Engagement and
And through the ad Nike definitely opened a few doors.
Neuromarketing work was done by the company EmSense on the packaging of Chip ahoy cookies and used a combination of eye-tracking and EEG. neuromarketing analysis identified specific design elements that work or don’t work. The insights led to significant refinements to both design elements of the package prior to launch.
When consumers were exposed to 2 ads one having the “save money” caption like Wal-Mart and one without it like sears, and were asked to think about a shopping trip, consumers spent twice as much on product with savings slogan than the one without it. A second study found that exposing consumers to a “savings” message caused them to spend more than when they saw a “luxury” message. The Neuromarketing takeaway: have a consistent savings message, and repeat it frequently!
Frito Lay’s has researched women’s feelings about snacking and guilt to produce new packaging, new flavors and a new ad campaign, all in an effort to get women to eat Frito-Lay snacks i.e. baked Lay’s.
Research showed that women are snacking more than men, but are not eating as many Frito-Lay snacks. To figure out how to sell Frito’s salty snacks to women, they turned to pop neurology. The research suggested that the communication center in women’s brains was more developed, leading her to infer that women could process ads with more complexity and more pieces of information. They understood that women feel guilty about a variety of stuffs and hence decided not alleviate that guilt. They want the perception of having something novel, something that is good for her. Hence Baked Lay’s will no longer be in a shiny yellow bag, but in a matte beige bag that displays pictures of the ingredients like spices or ranch dressing. Some of the new Frito-Lay packaging is in stores already.
-By Arnab Guha Mallik (IIM Kozhikode), among the top 5 entries chosen for being published on the blog in the February edition of the article writing competition