In the previous article, I elaborated on what implicit processes influence our behavior. But more important for us as marketeers is: how to respond to these implicit processes to get inside the minds of the consumer? This article will provide a framework that explains how to respond to the implicit processes of the brain. This blog is the second in a series of blogs about neuromarketing.
Create a strong foundation
This is one of the most important ingredients to establish a successful brain positioning. It’s essential that the basis of your company is strong. These elements define what company you are, where your company stands for, what it does and why it was founded in the first place and where your company strives for. To formulate this, you first have understand the customer and find out what drives the customer and how the customer wants to interact with you (Avery et al., 2009). Based on these insights, you build your value proposition and develop your business model and marketing strategy. Furthermore the ‘behavior’ of the company has to be consistent with the identity. Only if the foundation of your brand is strong and you communicate from who you really are as a company (identity) you are capable to get into a sustainable relationship with your customer and inspire your customers to buy your products or services.
‘It’s really about understanding the customer and what kind of interaction he desires to have with you’
If your foundation is clear and you have developed a proper value proposition, it’s essential to communicate this positioning on every touch point and be consistent in this message. It’s important for the credibility of a brand that you really communicate how you really are (real identity), so to be able to fulfill the promise you make with your positioning. Furthermore, there has be cohesion between your intern and external communication. This ensures that your brand will be reliable, which is one of the most important to be as a brand if we must believe neuromarketing.
There has to be a reward for the user in the future, so that the reward centre of the brain (nucleus accumbens) will be activated. The potential customer has to ‘long’ for the product or service and his desire and expectation has to be answered in the future. When a product or service/experience stimulates a certain pleasant feeling, there will be created a kind of addiction what causes your product will be a ‘must have’. You will stimulate desire to link your product to positive emotions such as happiness, trust, empathy, relevance, pleasure and joy. Furthermore, you have to make sure your brand is linked as little as possitble to negative emotions such as disgust, fear, anger and frustration.
Communicate your added value
As stupid and primitive it may sound, the brain is mainly focused on surviving and behaves primarily from self interest. Therefore you have to put your customer central in all your communication activities. In what way will you help the customer if he chooses your brand and how you will solve the ‘problems’ of the customer? The brain selects the products that will be able to best serve his needs and help to reach his goals such as making a good impression and look good or having fun. Furthermore, you can also respond to the fear of a customer to lose something. Therefore, it is more effective to talk about the advantages of your product or service (and what he will miss not choosing your brand), than to talk about how amazing your brand is.
Everywhere around the world, people find it important to belong to a group and people imitate each other to be able to belong to a group. This is also reflected in our purchasing behavior. Social status and social acceptance play a major role in this. For example, when people see how popular your brand is, people tend to choose more often for that brand.
For example, you mention on your website how many people have bought a particular product or organizations which have already chosen your product. Additionally, you can make your product by other people and let them tell how satisfied they are with it. When customers are positive about your product, they are the ones that should carry this out and persuade other customers. By referring to positive references from clients in advertising and marketing messages, it is more likely (potential) customers will be convinced to buy your product. It is important that you associate your brand with positive emotions and show that your product is a worthy addition to the consumer's life.
Another way to ensure that customers have confidence in your brand, is to use the authority principle. People are more inclined to believe authorities than laymen. From birth we are taught that obedience to authority is right and disobedience is wrong. This message resonates in what our parents, stories in our youth, and teachers teach us, and later on this is extended to the legal and political system that we have to deal with as adults. Around the world, a great importance is attached to obedience and loyalty to legitimate laws and other authorities. As a result, we often automatically trust a person who shows authority and we greatly value the opinion of an authority. We hardly think consciously about it. So make use of this when you promote your product.
Built associations and focus on senses
Build recognizable and positive associations with your brand in order to people associate your brand with positive emotions and experiences. Try to respond to all senses of the consumer. Your senses are directly connected to the brain area where the purchase decisions are made, so it would be a good idea to make use of this. Your brand will be recognized better in the brain. For example, try to make use of a lot of images in your promotion. Visual information is much better stored in our memory than text. When your brand is better remembered and the potential customer associates your brand with positive emotions, it will be choosen over the brand that he doesn’t know or doesn’t like. So think about what positive associations you want potential customers to have when they think about your brand. What kind of music, smell, touch, taste, and images fits your brand? Below an example of McDonalds.
Keep it short and simple
Our brains are all day exposed by advertising and therefore respond well to short, relevant and clear messages. Keep your text therefore short, plain and simple. Also limit the number of choices. Less is more! The more choices, the more difficult it is to choose, with the result that people often drop out or choose to more easy alternative. This is caused by the fear to choose the wrong alternative. When there are many alternatives, the chance is bigger that they will choose the wrong. Thats why too many choices will cause choice stress and will demotivate the customer to buy a product (Iyengar et al., 2000).
Stimulate customer loyalty by customer interaction
To ensure that potential customers choose your product and loyalty to your brand, it is important that you interact with them. The activation of a brand in the brain stimulates the creation of new connections in our brains. It is more likely that your brand is better remembered, customers will attach to your brand and your brand will be the first that comes in mind. You can take advantage of this by creating a positive customer relationship and establish an intense interaction with your customer. An example of customer participation through social media is for example that Lays chips allows customers to invent a new flavor. Nike also lets customers design their own shoes through its website. Nike even has built its own ‘community’ for its customers. Brand usability is also doing well. A good example is the washingmachine of Wrangler at Lowlands, where people can wash their dirty jeans.
When the same credible and relevant message repeats consistently, the message in the brain wears out. Through consistent repetition of a relevant message, combined with a lot of interaction with the brand and positive emotions, this will ensure that the customer associates your brand with fun and relevance. In this way customers get ‘addicted’ to your brand and your brand will become a 'must have' is. It is recommended to use many different channels so that customers often interact with your brand.
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