Key learnings from the blog:
- Understand the evolving nature of branding and why it is important today to go beyond conventional methods to build strong brands.
- Know how you can create meaningful consumer-brand connections using neuroscience & marketing.
- Uncover new opportunities to connect with customers and strengthen relationship.
- Discover how to gain invaluable insights on consumer behaviour that will help you create successful marketing campaigns and initiatives.
- Learn more about the many neuromarketing approaches you may employ to build brands that people will remember.
The meaning of brand has evolved from just being ‘functional’ to being a ‘social tool’. Brands now hold a special place in consumer’s heart and mind and are means to create self-image and social identity. Brands that succeed at creating a strong emotional bond, and consistent & authentic image across the touchpoints in the consumer’s journey can enjoy more loyalty & market share. To create memorable brands, it’s critical to strike the right chord through accurate insights.
Brands can now forge deep ties with customers and serve as a source of individual identity in society, they have expanded much beyond their original definition as just utility goods. Using the appropriate methods that consider how customers respond to and engage with marketing campaigns and initiatives is crucial for optimising these connections. Leading research tool, Neuromarketing, gives vital insights and, in conjunction with other market research techniques, aids in gaining a holistic understanding of consumer behaviour, enabling firms to establish deep connections through effective messaging. Come discover with us what makes remarkable brands resonate!
Marketers are increasingly understanding the power of branding to stand out in a world where competition is fiercer than ever. From carefully crafting attention-grabbing logos and colours to knowing which marketing channels will yield the best results, brands understand how to make their mark in today’s digital universe. Nonetheless, despite impressive data-driven segmentation and targeting techniques, 95% of new products fail each year, making striking a beneficial balance between sales and long-lasting brand impact an elusive challenge for even experienced marketers! (Emmer, 2018)
Understanding the ‘mysterious’ consumer behaviour
Regardless of how hard we try to justify our decisions, research suggests that many of the decisions we make daily are irrational. Yes, you read that correctly!
According to the famous theory of ‘system 1 and system 2 thinking’ by Nobel laureate and psychologist Daniel Kahneman, humans tend to make every day quick decisions using ‘system 1, which is a fast, intuitive system’ rather than ‘system 2 which is more deliberative and rational. Also, our decision-making is governed by different biases (around 200 of them) and mental shortcuts called ‘heuristics’. (Neal et al., 2022).
Getting a deeper understanding of the complex behaviour and motivations of the consumers through surveys, interviews, and focus groups, therefore can be difficult and biased as most of the times consumers may not say what they want or feel or maybe they just don’t know it.
However, it is much easier said than done.
The main reason why these methods fail is that “We ask: ‘Do you like the brand?’ We ask the consumer to be incredibly rational and we know today from neuroscience that 85% of the decisions we make are made by the unconscious part of the brain” says Martin Lindstrom, consultant and corporate advisor, and the author of the bestseller, Buyology – Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
Source : (S Samuel and Thalluri, 2012)
The secrets of successful brands
We live in a very wired world, where smartphones are becoming increasingly accessible, information is abundant, and brands are becoming more digitally present than ever before. This has made consumer-brand interactions more complex and dynamic with brands moving from “ownership to partnership” (Swaminathan et al., 2020). Today, brands must build deeper connections with consumers through emotional bonding & trust (Chuang, 2019).
Consumers no longer go through the conventional, linear, or systematic purchase decision journey, but rather remain in the evaluation phase for a longer time. Based on the brand experience and strength of the bond built they tend to advocate through positive word-of-mouth and re-purchase (Edelman, 2010). For instance, Apple and Coca-Cola have successfully used emotional branding to differentiate themselves from their competition. Apple has correctly identified four emotions – surprise, delight, connection, and love, that it wishes its customers to experience when interacting with any of the touch points. While Coca-Cola continues to win consumers’ hearts by emphasising “happiness” as an emotion. (Daye, 2022)
Brands are not merely products but social tools for consumers to construct their ‘self-identity’. They serve to denote social status, boost individuals’ self-esteem, and provide a sense of belonging to a specific reference group. (Foxall and Schrezenmaier, 2003)
Understanding how consumers perceive the brand, how and what they feel about the brand, and how they make decisions is critical for developing effective marketing communication and establishing strong emotional connections.
Dig deep for right insights with Neuromarketing
Traditional market research methods can only scratch the surface and provide insights from the conscious level of the brain, unlike neuromarketing techniques which help to understand the behaviours at the unconscious or subconscious level thus providing deeper insights (Bridger, 2017) (González-Mena et al., 2022).
Over the past decade, a lot of research on branding and other marketing issues has been done using neuroscientific techniques like fMRI, eye tracking, EEG, Galvanic skin response & emotional analysis. To name a few, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, and The Weather Channel have all used neuromarketing to develop marketing strategies and brands that resonate with their target audiences. (S Samuel and Thalluri, 2012)
Techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) employs magnetic field and measures the neural activity in the brain through blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals (Huettel, Song, & McCarthy, 2014) Although while fMRI allows for deeper brain penetration, it is a cumbersome and expensive technique that only records neural activity for a very short time and so is not a viable choice for most businesses. Simple and less expensive alternatives like EEG, Eye tracking, Galvanic skin response, Emotional analysis give better insights at a much affordable price. Eye tracking can help measure the eye gaze or fixation point on exposure to a particular visual or advertisement. The eye movement and frequency of blinking can provide in-depth, meaningful insights into emotional reactions. On the other hand, EEG, Galvanic skin response, Emotional analysis can help to understand the neural activity and physiological changes. (Harrell, 2019)
Neuromarketing can be used to understand the feelings, emotional engagement, attention, and reactions of consumers on exposure to brands and advertisements, product designs and other marketing stimuli. It can enable marketers to look inside the chaotic brains of the consumers and observe how the sensory inputs like imagery, smell, touch is processed by the brain which can help them to fine-tune their brand messages, campaigns, advertisement and improve product designs to create positive brand associations and perception (S Samuel and Thalluri, 2012) (Santos et al., 2012).
The figure below summarises few consumer reactions various parts of the brain involved’.
Figure 1: Representation of how different parts of the brain process the sensory information
Source: S Samuel and Thalluri, (2012) (14)
Combining these neuromarketing techniques with traditional marketing methods can provide a holistic and sure-fire view of consumer behaviour.
Probably every marketer or marketing student knows about old taste war between Coca-Cola & Pepsi and the Pepsi challenge. In 2003, neuroscientist Dr Read Montague conducted a taste test between Coca-Cola and Pepsi and studied the responses using fMRI. The study found that people preferred Coca-Cola in general, but when they were blindfolded, they chose ‘Pepsi’. This proved that people preferred Coca-Cola over Pepsi due to the brand equity or influence of the brand rather than the taste. This study also is a classic example that proves ‘what people say or express may not be the same as what their subconscious brain thinks’ (McClure et al., 2004)
Yahoo evaluated its 60-second commercial featuring happy people around the world before airing it online and on television. The brain waves showed activation in the limbic system and the frontal cortices, the parts of the brain responsible for memory and emotional thoughts. The ad was a part of Yahoo’s $100 million brand campaign and was successful in bringing more users to the search engine. Similarly, through neuro-testing, PepsiCo’s Frito lays found that their matte packaging was associated with less ‘guilt’ feeling compared to the shiny one and decided to switch to the matte beige pack (Burkitt, 2009)
Having said that, neuromarketing also had its share of criticism from academicians and institutions due to a few handful neuromarketing research companies who failed to adhere to the rigorous scientific standards in research and oversold what they could deliver.
However, with excellent scientific knowledge, marketing expertise and use of evidence-based methods, it is much superior to the conventional market research tools in empowering marketers to create better brands and offer superior experiences to consumers. We at the Institute for Neuromarketing, are a team of experts including neuroscientist and neuromarketing specialists who can help you establish strong brands in today’s agile and competitive environment. If you are ready to give it a spin, contact us to know more about our services.
In conclusion, brands must tap into their consumer’s psychology to identify the most effective way to engage them. As brands are no longer just ‘functional’ products but an emotional expression and a personification of self-image and social identity, it is especially important for marketers to understand the consumer’s needs beyond demographics & conscious responses. Neuroscience offers an unconventional way to uncover consumer insights that can be used to create more personalised and memorable service experiences. Neuromarketing techniques such as EEG, eye tracking, and facial coding can help marketers find out what really resonates with consumers in order to build strong brands with high loyalty & market share. With Neurobranding, we can finally unleash unconscious consumer behaviour and create stronger, more memorable brands that stand out from the crowd! So, go ahead and take the plunge today: Unleash unconscious consumer behaviour and strengthen brands with Neurobranding!
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- Bridger, D. (2017). Neuro Design : Neuromarketing Insights to Boost Engagement and Profitability. London, England: Kogan Page
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