Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley
August 4, 2016
I read a LOT of nerdy books #sorrynotsorry. These books often times have great ideas or implications that all of us (white and blue color workers) could utilize in our work. I thought it would be worthwhile to share with you my take aways from some of these books, so you don’t have to take the time to read these books yourself.
This edition of Kathy’s CliffsNotes is on the book Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing by Roger Dooley. The book uses a lot of science experiment examples to back up their info. It’s a good read if you’re interested in the non-CliffsNotes version.
Hopefully you’ll find some of this useful. #enjoy.
Brainfluence explains how to practically apply neuroscience and behavior research to better market to consumers by understanding their decision patterns. This application, called neuromarketing, studies the way the brain responds to various cognitive and sensory marketing stimuli. Analysts use this to measure a consumer's preference, what a customer reacts to, and why consumers make certain decisions. With quick and easy takeaways offered in 60 short chapters, this book contains key strategies for targeting consumers through in-person sales, online and print ads, and other marketing mediums.
Neuromarketing is all about understanding how our brains work, regardless of the science used, and employing that understanding to improve both our marketing and our products.
Marketers need to focus first on appealing to the buyer’s emotions and unconscious needs. It’s not always bad to include factual details, as they will help the customer’s logical brain justify the decision—just don’t expect them to make the sale!
Tempting an individual and getting him or her to indulge (in candy) will actually increase the person’s desire to keep indulging. Even more surprising, the desire to indulge goes far beyond having another piece of candy and extends to high-priced consumer items such as fancy computers and designer shirts! However, if the subjects continued to consume truffles until satisfied, the desire to indulge turned off. Second, those individuals who resisted the truffle also seemed to become more virtuous in their attempts to avoid self-indulgence.
Most of us are willing to spend more if we think we are getting a deal.
We naturally generalize from one example to the population as a whole, and our memories for such inferences are inherently sticky. Individual examples lodge in our minds, but statistics and averages do not . . . Our ancestors lacked access to huge data sets, statistics, and experimental methods. By necessity, we learned from specific examples, not by compiling data from many people across a wide range of situations. Statistics are simply less interesting and relevant to our brains than detailed anecdotes. Our brain’s preference for trusted stories explains why word of mouth is such a powerful tool: if the story is told by someone we actually know, not by a celebrity or paid endorser, it will be even more credible and potent. Note: How can we authentically incentivize/increase word of mouth for our product? E.g. Publically adding to a wish list for a chance to win, easy to post creative, rewards for quantity of reviews?
Succeed With Men Long before neuromarketing and evolutionary psychology, marketers knew that men spend money to enhance their reputation (and their appeal to the opposite sex)—expensive sports cars, costly restaurants, and so on, all demonstrate that the guy is financially well fixed and, because of that, attractive. Marketers who give a man a chance to buy something expensive in a visible way can expect an above-average rate of success
Our subconscious drives our choices, often with minimal conscious involvement.
Customers generally can’t understand or accurately explain why they make choices in the marketplace, and efforts to tease out that information by asking them questions are mostly doomed to failure.
Market researchers should be very cautious when asking people to describe their emotional state. The research showed significant behavioral effects even when the subjects did not notice any change in their emotions. Simply asking people questions inevitably fails to disclose what’s really happening in their brains.
If the price of a product is likely to produce an “ouch!” reaction from your customers, see if some kind of a bundle with complementary items will dull the pain.
Use currency symbols in ads for products consistent with selfish feelings—products that offer financial independence, for example, or even a self-indulgent purchase like a sports car.
Apple’s iPhone introduction is a good example of using anchor pricing to keep demand strong. When they first released the iPhone, it ranged in price from $499 to $599, establishing the initial anchor for what the unique product should cost. To the chagrin of early adopters, Apple dropped the price by $200 after only a few months, creating an apparent bargain and stimulating more sales. When they introduced the iPhone 3G, pricing was as low as $199, and they sold one million phones in three days. There are many reasons why marketers start with a high price initially. One big one is to work the demand curve, that is, to demand a high price from the portion of the market willing to pay that much before dropping the price to reach a larger number of customers. A key benefit of this strategy for new products, though, is that a high anchor price is established in the minds of customers, making each subsequent reduction a bigger bargain.
Discounting may actually reduce the quality of the customer experience.
Tap Into the Power of FREE! FREE! is more powerful than any rational economic analysis would suggest. If you want to sell more of something, use that power. Want to spark sales of a product? Try offering something free with it.
‘Good/Better/Best Strategy and Product Range:
Relativity is the key element in decoy marketing. Our brains aren’t good at judging absolute values, but they are always ready to compare values and benefits. When used proactively by marketers, a decoy product (i.e. a nearly identical product with clearly a better value) or offer can make another product look like a better value.
Next time you are creating your “good, better, and best” packages, consider tossing in a “not-so-good” package that’s similar to (but not as good as) the one you’d like to drive the most traffic to. If that boosts sales of that item, you’ll know your decoy is working.
A few cautions. First, the customer may not be comparing your products only against each other; keep an eye on competitive offerings, too. Second, you should avoid having too many product variations. Research shows that having too many choices reduces sales, due to a sort of paralysis of analysis.
Adding more choices because you want to have what looks like a large selection is a bad strategy; if poorly selling choices are axed, sales may actually increase. Perhaps because the merchandise could be better organized and displayed
Choices are less daunting when the items are quite different and offer the consumer meaningful variation. Sales-killing choices are those that appear very similar and offer the consumer no shortcuts in making a decision.
Brands that appeal to multiple senses will be more successful than brands that focus on only one or two.
Marketers need to think beyond their logo as the sole consistent element in their branding efforts.
Most firms won’t change their corporate identity willingly, and often logos last for decades with just minor tweaks. If companies were equally reluctant to change their audio branding elements, far more would have sonic branding that consumers actually recognize (e.g. Intel).
The presence of familiar things, even when we are unaware of the exposure, makes us feel better. Later work has suggested that this effect is related to fluency, the ease with which our brains process things that are more familiar. This shows the importance of repeat positive exposure through seeding, resulting in positive impressions and associates with the target (through magazines, tv, etc.)
Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world . . . What people really want is the ability to connect to each other, not to companies. So the permission is used to build a tribe, to build people who want to hear from the company because it helps them connect, it helps them find each other, it gives them a story to tell and something to talk about . . . People form tribes with or without us. The challenge is to work for the tribe and make it something even better.
Novelty attracts us; the routine bores us. Magic Strategy #4: To get your customers’ attention, surprise them with an unexpected move, a novel sound, or an unfamiliar image. That will cause them to look at and analyze what they are seeing. That’s true even with text—“New!” is one of the most attention-getting words in advertising
Surprise the Audience This research underscores how an advertiser can get a reaction by doing something unexpected. If you present a viewer with a familiar image or situation, that person’s brain will automatically predict what will happen next. If the advertiser inserts an unexpected image, word, or event, it will grab the audience’s attention to a much greater degree than had the predictable occurred
“Misuse” a Word Take a lesson from the bard and shake up the way you use your words. Take a word that people know, and use it in an unexpected way. Neuro your copy
Tell a Vivid Story To engage potential customers, write a vivid story involving your product or brand. Include action, motion, dialogue, and other aspects that will activate different parts of your customers’ brains. This approach has worked for the best copywriters and most successful ads in history.
Pepsi’s Billion Dollars One company that saw how attractive a big prize could be is soft drink giant Pepsi-Cola. They ran a sweepstakes with a top prize of $1 billion, certainly one of the biggest prizes ever. Like the organizers of your local charity hole-in-one contest, Pepsi took a variety of precautions to avoid financial disaster. They structured the contest as a play-off event, in which first-round winners qualified to continue in a second round and only one contestant ultimately had a chance to match a six-digit number (chosen by a chimpanzee rolling dice!) to win the billion dollars. They also insured the prize via Berkshire Hathaway, the financial powerhouse founded by Warren Buffett. In the unlikely event that the billion-dollar prize had to be awarded, Pepsi wouldn’t take a huge hit to the bottom line.8 The hoopla surrounding the contest included reality-TV show coverage of the final stages. Of course, the final contestant didn’t win the billion dollars. He did walk away with a million, though, and Pepsi garnered a publicity windfall.
An important fact: the customer’s real experience with the product will be shaped by his or her expectations and beliefs about the product.
Campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31 percent versus 16 percent) with only rational content, and those that were purely emotional did a little better (31 percent versus 26 percent) than those that mixed emotional and rational content
Retail and Grassroots Events Implications
Smell is particularly potent in bypassing conscious thought and creating associations with memories and emotions. In one experiment, two pairs of identical Nike shoes were evaluated by consumers: one in a room with a floral scent and one with no scent. Fully 84 percent of the subjects evaluated the sneakers in the scented room as superior.
In any retail setting, controlling the olfactory environment is important. People will associate smells with the store and products. Caution: never overdo any kind of scent-based marketing.
One of the keys to the long-term success of Starbucks has been that its stores offer a consistent and appealing sensory experience. The music, colors, and lighting are all important, but the wonderful coffee aroma is what dominates one’s senses on entering
Not many brands have taken as many steps to improve the sensory appeal of their products as Nespresso has. Not only did they modify the product itself to improve the sensory experience (increasing the amount of coffee smell coming out of their machines), they launched an entirely new channel (their branded coffee shops) just to address the perceived sensory gap in the home environment.
Find store music that works. Would we want to change music at retail based on the flow of different types of consumers? Stay at home moms and college kids during working hours, high school on weekends, etc.?
Our brains actually change with our experiences, a phenomenon called neuroplasticity. This demonstrates the impact our retail and grassroots experience can have on kids
If a customer is consistently pleased by a product or service, that pleasurable experience will become attached to the brand. Conversely, bad experiences will also stick. Once these associations are established, they will be difficult to change.
To create a passion brand, you must hire “passionistas.” These employees bring their own passion for the category and the brand. Your customers can sense the passion of your people, even if they don’t process it consciously. The body language, the speech patterns, and other cues will give your customers the confidence that the person they are dealing with truly believes in your product.
Motion Attracts Our Attention
What a customer knows about a brand will similarly affect the product experience. Lexus traditionally ranks near the top of customer satisfaction surveys. Certainly, the actual quality of the vehicles plays a role in this. But there are a host of other factors—the reputation of the brand, the premium price, the unusually well-appointed dealerships—that create the expectation of a superior-quality product. As long as the product itself doesn’t disappoint in some major way, the Lexus buyer is likely to really be more satisfied than had he or she purchased a comparable Toyota.
Viewing information on paper causes more emotional processing in the brain than viewing the same information on a screen.
A heavier document will create a more serious impression than a lighter one. Since tactile sensations so clearly influence our subconscious perceptions. Rigidity, texture, embossing, die cuts, and so on, can all have an effect.
If you are selling a costly product, describing it using a hard-to-read font will suggest to the viewer that more effort went into creating that product. The additional effort required to read the complex fonts (also called disfluent fonts) leads to deeper processing, and ultimately better recall. Use Complex Fonts and Big Words to Enhance Your Product.
Use Simple Copy for Guys Wordy copy is rarely a good idea, but especially if you are aiming at a male audience, in which case, keep the prose simple. Typically, guys process language in a less abstract, more sensory way, and excess verbiage will get in the way of your message.
Numbers imply real people. A 2 percent chance of misfortune sounds low, but if you hear that 2 people out of 100 will be harmed, your brain imagines two actual people suffering an injury. Brainfluence Takeaway: Use Real Numbers for Impact If you want to convey a positive message, use real numbers, not percentages. If you are describing a benefit of your product or service, expressing it in terms of absolute numbers will maximize its impact. Good: 90 percent of our customers rate our service as “excellent” Better: 9 out of 10 customers rate our service as “excellent”.
Give Buyers a Simple Reason to Buy Your Complex Product. A simple message, like “#1 in customer satisfaction” or “more safety features than any car in its class” will go farther in steering the consumer down the intuitive decision path. After all, if the car I’m buying is #1 in customer satisfaction, do I really need to sweat the details? Maybe not. An even simpler approach is a nonverbal emotional appeal, such as showing the car in a setting that exudes wealth, glamour, and luxury.
Pictures of babies grab the attention of readers more effectively than any other kind of image (e.g. the long running eTrade commercials)
Brainfluence Takeaway: Sexy Women Affect Male Purchases
As a more subtle strategy for ads that you hope will appeal to men, be sure the model’s eyes are visible and her pupils are dilated.
If you have a loyalty program, or are planning one, be sure to evaluate how it will function with mobile targeting.
Since we perceive progress as a percentage of completion, providing someone with the goal partially achieved can be an effective boost to a loyalty program.
Building Trust with Customers:
If you want your customers to trust you, remind them that they can trust you. Try it. It will work. Say “You can trust me.”
Show Trust to Get Trust
Establishing rapport with another person really does alter behavior.
Schmooze First; Bargain Later
Don’t be in too much of a rush to get down to business. Time spent chatting about kids, golf, or the upcoming weekend may seem like a waste of time, but it’s laying the groundwork for mutual respect and trust. The likelihood of reaching a deal that satisfies both parties will increase.
Job applicants with good handshakes were scored higher on employability. The best handshakes include “a complete, firm grip, eye contact and a vigorous up-and-down movement.”
Smiles, Even Smiling Images, Help Sales
Displaying confidence even trumps past accuracy in earning the trust of others. If we want to close sales, get projects approved, and achieve other objectives requiring persuasion, we need to communicate ourconfidence to others.