Attention marketers: Forget consumer focus groups and surveys. Instead, increase your market research budget and go for a little neuromarketing research. It might just save you a costly failed product launch or teach you why interacting with your brand needs to be equal to a religious experience.
- Like me, you are fascinated by how brands are built and how they influence our purchase decisions
- You're a marketing leader who, like me, has struggled to convince your fact-based executive team about the importance of building an emotionally powerful brand
- Like me, you're a shopping enthusiast who wonders why shopping makes you feel so good or why you bought those shoes that you'll never wear
After years of extensive (and yes, expensive) neuromarketing research, Lindstrom is able to reveal how our subconscious brains respond to marketing messages (or not) and how purchase decisions are made. Over 90% of consumer buying decisions are made in the subconscious, says Lindstrom, so understanding how the subconscious works is the key to the cash register.
Yes, they did indeed strap research volunteers up to all kinds of machines and watch their brain activity while they watched commercials, looked at brand imagery, listened to ring tones and even smelled things.
While the book is chocked full of findings, it's an easy and enjoyable read that never overwhelms with the academia. The findings are in some ways validating to all of us who believe in the power of strong brands, but are in just as many ways humbling, as we see example after example of marketing execution that falls flat with the brainwaves.
Among my favorite takeaways from this research, in no particular order:
- Brands and religion are a lot alike. Strong brands produce brain activity patterns identical to religious images. And no wonder, says Lindstrom, since powerful brands adopt the same foundational pillars as religions, such as the use of symbols, storytelling, rituals, a sense of belonging, a clear vision,grandeur etc.
- Shopping is sensory, and pictures aren't enough. Brain activity swings in the favor of a brand if there are associated smells and sounds in addition to familiar visual cues. For those of us in retail,it's a rallying cry to up the ante on the sensory components of our e-commerce sites and stores.
- Customers say no when they really mean yes. As we all have witnessed, what people say they do and what they actually do are two different things. In one memorable chapter, research subjects say that they don't like a TV show they just watched, while their brain activity indicates that they really do like it. The show turns out to be a hit.
- Subliminal advertising is not only alive and well, it's marvelously effective. In a case of true irony, the cigarette companies have become masters at this, given that they can't advertise in "normal" ways. And guess what? Those warning signs that they're required to put on the packages? They actually make smokers want to smoke more, not less.
- Mirror Neurons. You've got them. Sure, everyone wants to be an individual, but whether you admit it or not, you like to buy what other people are buying and do what they are doing. Mirror neurons. You've got them, and they cause you to mimic other people's buying behavior. Maybe a reason why "best sellers" and customer reviews are so popular on our e-commerce sites?
Oh, and don't worry. In case you were wondering, Lindstrom does have a chapter on the use of sex in marketing. I'm sure you're dying to know whether or not it really works. In the spirit of continuing Buyology's research, let's see if that's enough to entice you to buy the book.