Neuromarketing 101

To start to understand the premise of Neuro CX, it’s worth giving you a quick overview of NeuroMarketing so you get a sense of how marketing and utilities are evolving.

The vast majority of advertising campaigns, media experiences, online content and political propaganda these days directly target the instinctive, reptilian part of the brain that handles ‘instinct’. Fight or Flight. I believe this is why a lot of modern marketing (and I’m sorry to say NeuroMarketing as a whole field) is flawed because it only creates short term bursts of engagement rather than long-term ongoing stimulus. You took the Pepsi Challenge once & after that there was no surprise, right?

Associating good feelings with a specific product makes us more likely to choose that brand over the competition’s. Neuromarketing is based on sensory stimulation, in the hopes of awakening good feelings about a product or image. It does so, however, with solid scientific evidence from brain studies. Harvard psychologists developed NeuroMarketing in 1990 based on the concept of “meme” created by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

Memes are beliefs or behaviors that spread from one person to the next naturally within a culture. With the concept of meme, the belief or behavior is self-replicating, at least while it lasts. Examples of memes are catchphrases people in a particular region use, conspiracy theories, urban legends, Internet slang and even fashions. Memes, or memetics, are used in viral marketing to hopefully catch on and spread from person to person or through the Web. An example is the current use of pink to represent breast cancer. Even if it didn’t start out with that intent, the use of pink in products now associates with advocacy for the disease. The smell of freshly baked bread usually equates to coziness and a loving home. It’s automatic in people’s brains, so marketers can use the smell or image of baked bread to sell a product they want people to associate with comfort and home.

The Zaltman metaphor elicitation technique (ZMET) is a neuromarketing technique designed to entice a response using neuromarketing. ZMET is about image-only ads. Absolut vodka, for example, has run a campaign for years using a picture of the product’s bottle disguised as something else. To understand the ad, viewers need to pause for at least a few seconds and look closely. This affects the reward center of your brain (more about this later!) as you think to yourself: “I solved the puzzle!” and it also forces you to pay attention to the product. A single image can transmit a number of emotions if used correctly. Images also can reach people of different ages and cultural backgrounds, because some pictures can mean different things to different groups. Words, on the other hand, would have to be modified for each group.

Neuromarketers have been using new techniques to measure what happens in the brain during marketing to test the effects of ZMET. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a type of MRI scan that analyzes the response of the brain to different stimuli by measuring minute metabolic changes that occur in active parts of the brain. An increase in heart rate or respiration intensity can also indicate a feeling of excitement, a positive response to the marketing ad.

It’s also been proven that people decide within the first second the ad airs, or more accurately, the first fraction of a second. This is why images are so important in neuromarketing. If marketers know what to show first in an ad, they can grab a potential customer’s attention and hold it. This is the first major difference

Humans are visual animals, and 65 percent of any message has visual cues as its basis. First impressions or opinions about a product are heavily connected to whether we like the “look” of the product. It’s also one of the reasons why a recognizable brand or logo is important.

NeuroMarketing is about a rush of blood to the head or the goose bumps we get when we are moved by great design and advertising… That’s NOT Neuro CXNeuro CX is something very very very different.

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