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Neuromarketing, genius strategies and underlying disciplines

Have you ever wondered how some advertisements can be so engaging? Almost as if they read our minds? Well, there was probably a neuromarketing strategy behind it.

Neuromarketing is a branch of marketing and market research that uses methods and techniques based on scientific evidence derived from the study of the brain. It is the union of marketing, market research, psychology and neuroscience.

At the center of it all is the brain and the ways in which it responds to stimuli presented to it by its environment. There is no single theory that can explain and help predict consumer buying behavior, but multiple theories borrowed from various disciplines. Consumers choose the product or service that offers them the highest quality by analyzing which market offering presents the greatest perceived value, and act accordingly.

The main goal of neuromarketing is to develop interest in all five senses: for example, think of the success of companies such as Ambercrobie&Fitch or Hollister&Co, whose stores feature music and lighting clearly inspired by the disco environment and distinctive scents recognizable even from blocks away.

Sensory marketing should be at the center of product innovation and marketing strategies. The senses should become the main lever for creating and intensifying brand identity for the purpose of always being recognized and remembered by the consumer.

There are subjective feelings that contribute to the buying process and depend on the sensory stimuli activated in the consumer at the time of his or her decision. The task of the company is to convey the sensory stimuli most likely to convince the customer that he or she needs a particular product. To do this requires the study of irrational emotions, which come from the sensory experience of the product.

Another very famous case is that of Dunkin’ Donuts in South Korea. Dunkin’ Donuts is a U.S.-based chain selling coffee and donuts.The company’s difficulty took over in 2012 in South Korea, specifically in Seoul, a chaotic and busy city where billboards hardly attract attention. The company’s goal was to encourage people to choose Dunkin’ Donuts coffee over other competitors, such as Starbucks. But how to do that?

An unconventional marketing strategy was the ideal weapon to get noticed: the experts understood that that huge city traffic could be used to their advantage. Crowded buses and the subway proved to be the ideal means to spread the advertising message: electronic sensors were installed on every bus and subway that released coffee aroma whenever the company’s jingle came on the radio.

This strategy made consumers match the Dunkin’ Donuts brand with the smell of coffee, generating an intention to purchase that particular product. The campaign increased the number of visitors to outlets near bus stops by 16 percent, and same-store sales were up 29 percent.

The theory behind this unconventional marketing strategy is one of the most studied in psychology, namely Pavlov’s classical conditioning: by associating one stimulus (the smell of coffee) with another (the advertisement), a link is established between the two until the response one normally has when faced with the first stimulus is transferred to the second.

This conditioning often occurs in other areas as well. We are used to associating colored foods with certain flavors, as an experiment by Stilman shows us. In the original experiment, a group of subjects is given a raspberry and orange drink, the color of which could vary between red, orange, yellow, green and colorless. However, these were always the same two basic ingredients, so the color was effectively independent of the flavor. However, the results showed how significantly better the participants were at correctly identifying flavors based on the color of their drink: for example, when the drink had been colored red, a raspberry flavor emerged in their thoughts. So, expectations not only modify our perception of taste, but unconsciously (and only a few times) guide us in the right direction.

The last case we are going to look at shows us how price discrimination can also influence people, through Plassman’s experiment. The subject of the experiment was two glasses of wine: consumers were told that one of the two wines cost $5 while the other cost $45. In reality, the wine was the same. The results were trivial, however: the wine presented at a stated price of $45 was perceived as much better than the same but offered at $5.

Unconscious reaction can alert marketers before they make some very complicated decisions. It is essential to know the mechanisms by which some stimuli are stored in preference to others, because this knowledge facilitates action to optimize, for the purposes of marketers and the companies they work for, emotional shopping.

Mediability, dealing with advertising on a daily basis, is extremely fascinated by all aspects of it, and of course also by neuromarketing and its strategies, which it has delved into. How about you? Contact us if you are interested and put your trust in us!

Image credits by briandcruzhypnoplus.com

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