Mind reading, you may be a skeptic, but rest assured, the knowledge presented here was not pulled from a psychic staring into a magic glass ball. In fact, it reflects an emerging subfield of Marketing, a spin-off of Consumer Psychology, called Neuromarketing. Neuromarketing uses brain imaging techniques such as Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Electroencephalograph (EEG) to better understand consumer buying behaviors and preferences. This area exists to delve into the consumer psyche to uncover the secrets of selling to the subconscious mind.
The process of understanding consumer buying behavior and overall cognition is no simple task. Chew on this, 95% of our decisions are driven by subconscious forces. Considering that little is known about the motivations of the subconscious, further research is necessary to move past the surface of this phenomenon that has eluded marketers in the past.
By looking at the brain’s biological response to various marketing stimuli, as is the case with brain imaging, marketers no longer need to rely solely on their educated guesses when attempting to explain a consumer’s responses. Brain imaging is an indispensable tool and is used in the area of Neurodesign to test consumer responses to product packaging and colors. A focus of Neurodesign could include exposing consumers in a study to two almost identical boxes of cereal. The only difference between the boxes is that the color of the first box is a bright red and the color of the second is a darker blue. Let’s assume this study was conducted and the results indicated that majority of consumer’s tested experienced stronger responses when viewing the red stimulus versus the blue.
Drawing from research in the field of color science, the strong response to the red stimulus can be explained in a few ways. First, the color red evokes energy, excitement, action, and is likely to stand out on the shelf. One of the toughest challenges marketers face in retail is the constant battle with other brands all vying for the consumers attention. When it comes to the moment of truth in the aisle, the package design and color can be your greatest asset in securing the purchase.
To solidify this concept, review the experiment conducted by Shark Tank’s own, Lori Greiner.
Secondly, the call to action evoked by this invigorating color is proven to increase appetite and heart rate. This ability makes red ideal for food retail. Red is most commonly seen in fast food restaurants such as McDonalds where the “speed eating” it produces results in quick customer turn over and more customers served. McDonalds also uses bright yellows as they too stand out and induce energy. Their use of yellow has become signature in the golden arches of their iconic logo, “M.”
Continued research in this field of Neuromarketing holds great promise in tackling the challenge of the unknown. As a discipline, Neuromarketing allows for more specific targeting, offering an excellent return on investment. This area opens the door to subconscious thoughts that were before confined to the limitations of vocal speech, only able to express the thoughts and emotions that made it to conscious awareness. Now, brain imaging tells us that there is more to the story of why we buy.
The brain does all the talking necessary, not with words, but with responses to images that tell a story all their own. A picture truly is worth a thousand words.