Would you know if you did?
The first ever type of learning in a human being is through the senses. A child goes through the phase of crucial development in the ages of 1-2 because that’s how they explore the world. This is the kind of learning that never really goes away. We interact with the world through these senses. Our first points of contact; sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, all send signals pertaining to the world around us. And, that in turn, greatly influences our core beliefs enough to drive our wants and needs. Marketers have since capitalized on this learning, using our own senses to drive their sales.
Neurons in the brain are responsible for transferring information throughout the body. We quickly feel emotions, form opinions, associate feelings, and pass judgments from our first interaction with a product or service.
We know instantly whether we like or dislike it.
Even though the brain is the first organ to interact with the outer world, our final decision is not based solely on logic. It is, in fact, how a brand experience makes us feel, that ultimately shapes our decision.
In the world of business, where conventional marketing is focused on sight and touch, we have seen an increase in sensory marketing.
Dunkin Donuts was able to change their perception of being just a donut shop to becoming a place where people can get their morning fix. They achieved this by installing coffee scented sprays in public buses
These were only designed to function when the commuters would hear Dunkin’s radio ad. The result? There was a 29% increase in coffee sales in South Korea during that campaign. One reason why famous celebrities are selected as brand ambassadors is for aesthetics, for example, Tiger Woods used to represent Tag Heuer. A difficult category where other senses couldn’t do much, sight helped to relay a status symbol.
The recognition of just the logo of any particular brand isn’t enough. Brand recall and how well customers understand distinct brand personality is important. It should also bring in positive associations during the customer interaction with a brand. It can be a very distinct tune such as Intel ring tones that made its consumers feel happy. It can be the iconic Coca-Cola bottle, the shape universally recognizable with just one touch even in the dark. As the customer steps into the store, the experience should be able to transform their reality. Like going to an Apple store was almost a special experience. According to a 'Harvard Business Review' article, touch is a forgotten sense since most people associate it with just the packaging. Touch creates “symbolic connections between people and products… Physically holding products can create a sense of psychological ownership, driving must-have purchase decisions.”
Many brands now utilize high-tech methods to attract customers. Our senses are a major driver in decision making. But we can observe how technology plays an important role in sometimes deceiving our senses. For example; Virtual reality, holograms, 4d cinemas, etc. are all designed to fool our senses into experiencing something that’s not there. But they are just a means to an end, and that end is to turn their target market into actual consumers.
Emotions are an integral part of how we behave. They give meaning to our mental processes and in turn, affect physiological changes. Brands focus on basic primary emotions to affect the brand experience, either by using sensory marketing or other conventional methods (as we discussed previously). When we watch a sad advert, it raises empathy and that’s why many charities and other NGO's have used this tactic to raise awareness for their causes.
Similarly, when we step into Bath and Body Works, it's calm and soothing.
To understand the relation between the brain and human behaviour, Neuromarketing became famous with many marketing agencies. It was used to understand how attention-grabbing these campaigns were, because, the brain’s electrical activity would actually vary while exposed to such adverts. However, Dr Vaughan Bell from 'The Guardian' argued that neuromarketing did nothing to unravel the mysteries of the brain to help understand the consumer's hidden desires. Most companies used poor EEG (electroencephalogram) equipment that took into account the muscles electrical activity, and, finally, because the result is ineffective and ultra-focused. There are better methods to test such measures than through the brain. Another field of consumer neuroscience also exists for the purpose of understanding the consumer’s behaviours. A study suggests that a TV advertisement is more effective if it is 1 minute and 30 seconds longer. Some people experience more activity in the left hemisphere of the brain after watching an advertisement. This has been beneficial for the brands as consumers were able to recall the advertisement and that too in the long term.
Maybe the marketers who are experimenting with brain activity are the pioneers of the next 'California Gold Rush'
For now, however, the practice is in its premature stages. But studies in the past cannot be disregarded either: how consumers feel about certain external aspects of the product or service has been extensively documented and researched upon. How we take this information and bring in new elements while staying true to the core benefits for customers is the real key.
Or perhaps Simon Sinek is right when he says that the product should explain to the customer it’s why, before it's what.
What do you think?
This post is part of the Jampack thought leadership initiative to inspire professionals worldwide
Plan B is part of the Jampack group. We are a group of diversified companies delivering all the P’s of marketing under one umbrella.
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