Within the skull lies the most complex organ known to mankind -- the human brain. With a mass of only 6 kilograms, the brain contains over 100 billion living cells and 1 million kilometers of interconnecting fibers; but, exactly how does it function? Marketing and sales managers would love to know why consumers are attracted to certain advertising, packaging and brands. Martin Lindstrom, author of Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, explains the marketing challenge, “When we walk down an aisle in a grocery store, our purchasing decisions are made in less than four seconds…there is no way we can think about that in a complete way. Those decisions take place in the subconscious part of ...view middle of the document...
Ale Smidts, Professor of Marketing Research, at the Rotterdam School of Management. Word spread to Baylor Medical School in Houston, where, in April of 2004, they organized the first international symposium dedicated to the use of marketing in neuronal imagery (Lewis, 2010).
Branding the Brain
Three Brains One Decision Maker
As Figure 1 illustrates, our brain can be categorized into three parts: The old, middle, and new Brain. The new brain thinks and processes rational data. The middle brain processes emotions and gut feelings. The old brain takes into account the input from the new and middle brain and ultimately is the part of the brain that triggers the decision. The old brain is our “fight or flight” instinct; it is also referred to as “the reptilian brain”, because it still exists in reptiles today. “According to leading neuroscientist Robert Ornstein, our old brain is concerned solely on survival, as it has been for millions of years” (Renvoise & Morin, 2007). Essentially, neuromarketing is trying to figure out what the consumer’s old brain wants or perceives to need. “Much evidence now indicates that the old brain is the main switch determining what sensory input will go through the new brain, and what decisions will be accepted” (Renvoise & Morin, 2007).
There are six stimuli that the old brain comprehends. First of all, the old brain is self-centered. Its only concern is its own well-being and survival. A marketer’s message should be 100% on the target audience. The consumer must hear what will be done for them before they will listen. Secondly, the old brain is sensitive to contrast, such as risky/safe hot/cold, fast/slow. The brain is hard wired to proactively scan the surroundings for disruptions or changes of state. These disruptions signal important clues as to what is going on in the environment. The old brain does not like to “think” about making a decision. “Avoid using neutral statements such as “we are one of the leading providers of…” (Renvoise & Morin, 2007). The old brain needs tangible input; it is constantly scanning the environment for what is concrete or recognizable. The old brain also has a short attention span. It likes beginnings and endings and tends to drop the information in the middle. Therefore, placing the most important context in the beginning and restating it at the end is a must to grab the consumer’s old brain’s attention. The fifth stimulus is visual. The old brain is very visual; this may be because the optic nerve is directly connected to it. “About 70% of the body’s sense receptors are in our eyes. To a large degree, we understand our world mainly by looking at it…we have evolved to put our visual senses at the top of our sensory hierarchies, and therefore, visual components tend to trump all others” (Pradeep, 2010). The old brain reacts to an object before your new brain physically recognizes the object. The last stimulus is emotion. When consumers experience...