Tuesday, 24 April 2012 10:51
Considering background feelings
Following a revolution in brain science, someone invented neuro-marketing.
The theory, broadly speaking, is that working out how people think can greatly help marketers, because it gives insight into how we consider brands. If neuro-science can give us more information about the structure of the brain, and how different parts of the brain interact, it should contribute to marketing and brand-building strategies.
Erik Du Plessis, chairman of Millward Brown South Africa who has also taught at Copenhagen Business School is skeptical about reckless claims for what neuromarketing can achieve. But he does admit it has opened up some interesting avenues to explore – as long as we don’t react two enthusiastically by throwing out tried and and tested methods at the same time.
As it contains interesting research carried out by Millward Brown, Plessis’ book The Branded Brain is a fascinating insight into how background feelings influence our emotions and therefore our buying decisions. Plessis considers a wide amount of empirical work, and gives man examples of how neuro-science can work in both marketing and market research.
A much given example is how smokers, who have been deprived their drug for several hours, actually crave cigarettes more if bombarded with anti-smoking messages. This research has led to the current policy of hiding cigarette branding altogether, even the warnings.
Another example is how subliminal advertising is explicitly banned in many countries. There is no concrete truth that it works, but what is clear is that the environment around a product is vitally important, so no advertiser has dared associate themselves with what people would perceive as brainwashing. Banned or not.
The brain lays down memories all the time and does so involuntarily. We remember not only what we were doing, but also how we felt as a result of what we were doing. This feeling good memory is created by the dopamine that is being released. It now seems that when you see something that gives you pleasure (or just think of something pleasurable) dopamine is released as if you are consuming the thing. In fact, the evidence is that more dopamine might be released by thinking of something than is released when you consume it.
For this reason, the shopping experience is as important – if not more important – than acquiring the item.
Much to ponder in the context of customer loyalty.
The Branded Mind by Erik Du Plessis, published by Kogan Page, price £24.99.