Neuroscience In Business- The power of Marketing
Updated: Sep 15
Do you believe you are the one who makes all of your decisions? That you have complete control over what you purchase, eat, wear, and sleep. Let's put an end to this deception.
Neuroscience is the study of the brain and its impact on behavior and cognitive functions, or how people think. What happens inside our brain when we behave and feel certain way.
But how does this relate to business? Companies are now utilizing neuroscience to better understand human behavior in order to provide a better product and service experience.
Let's take a look at why corporations are turning to neuroscientists instead of standard survey methodologies.
One of the studies looked at People came to the lab to drink wine, and they were asked to sip wine from five different bottles and rank them according to how tasty they were. There were bottles priced at $5, $10, $20, $40, and $90. It's hardly surprising that consumers find 90-dollar wines tastier than $5-dollar wines. Prices had a significant impact on how people ranked their wine. But here's the fascinating part: when scientists looked at people's brains while they were consuming wine, they discovered that they not only ranked the wine depending on price, but they also experienced that the wine that cost $90 was significantly superior. This is when the twist comes in. The wine in all five cups in this experiment was the same.
Let’s say you go to a supermarket and you want to buy a bottle of wine. You see on the shelf there are lot of bottles and you have to make a choice, so how will you make a choice? mostly what people do is to look at the bottles on the shelf and find there is $5, $20 and $50 wine so they are like I will not go for too cheap and don’t want to buy too expensive so I will go for the middle one i.e 20$ wine. But if I am seller and I want you to get a $50 wine, all I have to do is to add one more thing on the extremes and shift the prices as $20, $50 and $100 and since $50 looks like a middle one and affordable among all so I will choose it and then I am going to say that I made a choice, it was me who chose it but the reality is someone created spectrum for us and make us think that we chose for ourselves.
How brands influences Our emotions
Trader Joe's is a well-known supermarket in the United States. It is a high-end supermarket catering to those who enjoy eating nutritious foods. Trader Joe's has figured out a way to get you to purchase more, and they've realized that consumers are aware of the prices of some things, such as a gallon of milk, pasta, breads, and other fundamental items for which you have a general sense of the pricing. So what they did is for each item, they figured out that most people know the price roughly, so they reduced the price of all these products a little bit lower than their usual price, and everything else is three times the price, and you end up thinking you bought stuff for less money because all those products whose price was known to you were cheaper, and rest were all expansive and this is how they balance their checkbook.
Coca-Cola vs Pepsi
Since the late 70’s Pepsi has been running something called the Pepsi challenge, in which participants are invited to consume Pepsi and Coca-Cola in both blind and branded formats. When consumers are asked to drink these drinks blindly, they consistently choose Pepsi over Coca-Cola. However, when shown the brand people always tend to prefer Coke. Now what is this tell us. The branding and connection of coca cola is so strong that they want to associate with their brand irrespective of what their taste buds are telling. This is how marketing influences our brains and emotions without our awareness.
When scientists examined the brains of iPhone users, they discovered that they had a strong emotional bond with their phone, similar to that of a family member, which is uncommon among other cell phone users. In my personal experience, iPhone owners never seem to move to another cell phone not coz others are not good but coz of the feeling that they have for it.
McDonalds from the very beginning rather than spending money on marketing chose to invest on kids toys collection to attract more kids which eventually make them visit more with their families and friends. Not only that but the price and the smell of the food, their burger composition everything is designed considering human behavior that make us addictive to it.
These were few examples of how we associate ourselves with brands.
Money for us is just the measure of things, for example if we are buying a T-shirt of $20 and someone tell us to register on their website and we will get a coupon of $5 for the T-shirt so we will readily go and fill that long form to get $5 off and now let us say you want to buy a iPhone 12 pro which cost 999$ and now if someone will tell us to go and register to get the coupon of $5 we will say let it be, who is going to fill such a long form for only $5.
In spite of the fact the value of $5 is same, but we treat it differently in our head. For us $5 are different in different form. We all have these biases in our heads, and we constantly compare things to one another in order to determine their worth.
One of the shop in Las Vegas wanted to open its branch, so they did a survey and asked people how likely they would be to spend a little more money if a store opened up in their zip code that was a little more expensive but completely organic and healthy. People instantly respond, "Of course, we'll purchase it," since they're all into healthy, organic food, so they open their branch based on the survey and failed within a year coz somehow when it comes to buying, we go and buy something else.
People can't tell you what they want not only because they lie to you, but also because they lie to themselves.
You asked consumers what they wanted to do in the future, they responded, and you did something in response, but sales didn't go as well as they should have. Companies are beginning to recognize that asking customers questions isn't the most effective way to learn what they want. People can't tell you what they want not only because they lie to you, but also because they lie to themselves. They tell themselves they'll get skinnier and purchase jeans for the skinnier versions of themselves, they sign up for the gym and promise they'll go every day, but it never happens because our brain has a far more complicated decision-making process and we only have access to a few parts of the brain.
Every day, businesses spend more and more money on digital marketing in the hopes that a personalized ad experience would lead to more direct connection. However, on social media, people's attention spans are incredibly short. What it does is it challenges marketers to a massive extent and forces advertisers to grab the consumer's attention within the first second or risk losing them altogether to scrolling.
You can influence purchasing behavior of consumers
1. If you're building a website, the colors, icon, and pop-up images (google did so much of research just to figure what shade of blue color would make people to click more on the links.)
2. When you're advertising travel ticket costs, you may choose whether to include a convenience charge before or after since it influences the price.
3. What time of the day people are more likely to buy the product or services?
4. The time it takes for your website or app to load. Amazon increased their speed by 1/10 of a second, resulting in a $1.7 billion gain in sales.
5. Music played in the background of some stores completely change customers mood and buying choices.
We can never imagine that subtle changes like color, increase in 1/10th speed, background music in store, perfume smell can influence our decision making.
"Asking questions or observing behaviors gives you a fraction of reality but not the whole story… but if you look at the brain you can see what people want, what triggers people, what will change their mind…” — Moran Cerf
Moran Cerf, neuroscientist and professor pointed out that the available research focuses on having a better look at the brain to help people make decisions more efficiently, improve marketing strategies, management, and interacting with people effectively.
The whole point of writing this article is to encourage you to be more aware about the choices that you make and whenever you take a piece of information or knowledge and store that in your memory ask yourself if it is true or do you really believe in it or someone else has implanted that in your brain. Since we are consuming so much of information in this digital world that it’s so easy to get manipulated if we are not conscious about our own thought behavior, feelings and what we really want.
Note- This article is not intended to offend any brand or company. Most of the above information is a verified work of neuroscientists “Moran Cerf”, “Terry Wu”, “Shikher Chaudhary” and many more. I have just shared my own experience and the research-based facts for better understanding of the concept.