Have you ever wondered why you see sedan cars pull up impressive stunts at high speeds in ads when in reality you can never peak it above 80?
Why do you think Maggi opted for a bright yellow packaging & consequently sells more than any other instant noodles?
Why do McDonald’s and Burger King troll each other every day?
Why does Horlicks promises to make you tall even when the phenomenon is purely biological?
Every brand named here have achieved marketing success by striking the right chords with our brains. They triumphed by playing with our emotions, studying our reactions with gadgets & displayed their products accordingly to boost sales.
I agree that all these may seem like science fiction or highly unethical to you, but believe it or not, this concept has been around since the 1990s & is famously known as Neuromarketing.
What’s that now? Let me break it down for you.
Neuromarketing Definition – What is it?
When you combine neurosciences with marketing, you get neuromarketing.
Technically speaking, it’s a form of marketing that scans & images our brain’s reactions to various parameters of a product which then helps in designing the innumerable marketing elements.
For instance, Nestle concluded that selling Maggi in a bright yellow package & splashing the words “2-minute noodles” will increase the product’s sales & it did. Compare it to Knorr or ITC, we always tend to pick up the yellow because our brains react positively to the vibrant packaging.
So, the obvious question that follows the Neuromarketing definition is – how do people read our brains?
Well, we are still far away from actual “mind-reading” but there are technologies that can detect our brain’s reaction & decode what it means. Currently, two techniques are majorly used:
- FMRI – Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging that detects brain activity according to blood flow & gives us access to deeper parts of the brain.
2. EEG – Electroencephalogram, where we are to put electrodes on our heads to detect electrical signals in response to the external world.
Companies bring in consenting people to read their reactions to the products & hence the design or ad we see. Although the concept may seem futuristic, it is massively in play today & brands are increasingly recognising the effectiveness of neuromarketing.
To give you a clearer picture (and open your eyes to a whole new world), let me discuss a few Neuromarketing examples where the top companies have, time & again, employed this technique to catch our attention.
Every technique has a scientific reason & every strategy will make sense.
So, let me do the hard work of explaining things while you sit back (definitely relax) & read on.
Neuromarketing Examples – 8 Clever Techniques that Work
1) Packaging Colour and Text – Lay’s redesign of chips packet
Application of Neuromarketing for packaging design is not confined to Nestle only. Almost all big brands take input from their Neuromarketing team & devise their marketing strategies accordingly.
Another big example is Lay’s chips, the one which you may have also noticed, where it shifted from glossy packets to a matte finish.
Frito lay applied the EEG technique to find out that human brains responded negatively to the glossy packaging that it had previously maintained but received appreciations for matte packets.
They changed their packaging within a month & we still buy Lay’s irrespective of what the trolls say.
Chips Ahoy also followed a similar suit with a similar successful response.
2) Humour is always appreciated – Cheetos’ washing machine prank
Chips brand Cheetos brought in a group of people, fitted them with EEG machines & made them watch one of their ads that the brand intended to use for marketing. The advertisement clip showed a nice lady empty a packet of Cheetos into her friend’s washing machine which was full of whites.
None of the test people verbally accepted that they enjoyed the ad, in fear of appearing cruel to others, but EEG scans showed that all of them actually received the ad well.
A bit of humour (prank in this case) always works.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, BMW and Mercedes, KFC and McDonalds, you will always find them fighting in ads when they may not be sworn enemies in real life.
Humour triggers the right parts of the brain & definitely boosts sales.
3) Speed preferred over Security – How Android annihilated Blackberry
Neuromarketing examples where the customers are more concerned about speed than security talk highly of PayPal’s marketing technique.
The brand used EEG to find out that people’s minds responded positively when they were shown that PayPal is fast, than it did when the ad was highlighting security.
It seems we are less concerned about our money being safe!
Google followed a similar process in a market dominated by Blackberry. Android phones highlighted the speed of the software that made the posh black phones go extinct.
This is the very reason why you will see rockets and planes in advertisements while brands rarely opt for the unfortunate turtles.
4) Eye gaze is important – Johnson & Johnson & the Baby Boom
Neuromarketing research over the years has shown that we are attracted to baby faces and immediately look at a billboard with a baby in it. And if the baby happens to point in a particular direction, we will and definitely will look there without hesitation.
This is why when you hear the name “Johnson & Johnson”, their baby products come to your mind first when they sell a whole lot of other things as well.
Babies draw so much eye-gaze that even Smirnoff, the famous vodka brand (information for the uninitiated), uses a baby in a devil attire.
Even Heinz shows a baby eating ketchup, which should never be the case, but it does the trick with us.
Our brains react to babies and brands are applying that to marketing.
5) Rewards and Punishments – The Cashback system of Paytm
Paytm came into existence amidst the popular banking system but reaped success due to its brilliant marketing strategies. From day 1, the brand vigorously promoted its cashback offers where you get money by spending money.
We all like rewards for our actions & neuromarketing case studies have shown it as an effective marketing strategy.
Contrary to rewards, punishments work to a similar extent as well.
Games like Splinter Cell or PUBG have gained famed solely based on the fact that your character is killed if you make a mistake.
Highlighting rewards & punishments while marketing a product have worked for the top brands & more companies are looking into more giveaways.
6) The FEAR of Missing Out – Limited Edition Ferraris
Did it ever occur to you? Why are there limited-edition Ferraris?
If a car is selling like hotcake, why not continue its production?
Well, the Ferrari sold like hotcake in the first place because its production will stop soon. When you declare that a certain product/offer is available only for a certain amount of time, the fear of not being able to obtain the product finds the customers & they act in panic.
Our brain shows us the bright side & we make the purchase.
Starbuck’s policy of selling its coffee for Rs.100 for a day or McDonalds’ happy meal toys for a month, all are Neuromarketing examples of creating the fear to lose.
Brands may extend the offer later, but setting a deadline initially boosts sales like crazy.
So, the next time you see such an ad, trust me you won’t analyse the situation. You will make the purchase.
7) Hippocampal Headlines – Patron Tequila’s jumbled words
The tequila brand attracted quite a bit of attention by writing “Practice Makes Patron” on its billboards.
The company tweaked the well-known phrase about practice (practice makes perfect), substituted “perfect” with its brand name (notice the smartness?), all of which awakened our hippocampus – the part of the brain master in comparing.
People immediately joined the dots & the ad stayed in their minds.
No matter who says what, catchy headlines still rule the marketing industry.
You connect with Tinder when you read “Great Expectations” under it or Apple with “Think Different”. Our brains love it when the normalcy is broken & we simply can’t think about any other brand.
Neuromarketing research has established this & soon you will see more wordplay.
8) Anchoring Tendencies – Flipkart’s approach to the Budget Tension
Now, which family isn’t losing their sleep over their monthly budget?!
And Flipkart has managed to make Virat Kohli talk on this very issue for promoting its “Big Billion Days”. Budget may not be an issue for Kohli, but it is for us & Flipkart makes sure that we hear that piece of information first.
This process of Neuromarketing is known as anchoring tendency where our judgement is influenced by the first thing we hear.
Neuromarketing examples on this line are visible everywhere whether its Dhoni promoting Dream 11 or Priyanka Chopra advertising asthma pills.
The trick is to make sure that the first statement resonates with the audience and addresses their daily issues.
The past, the present & the future
While neuromarketing has always been employed as a marketing technique, it is now gaining scientific validation.
These neuromarketing examples go on to show that the top players of every industry are investing in its research and application. Just like any other, the concept will soon become deep-rooted in our marketing strategies & brands will play with our emotions even more.
Till then, sip your coffee & enjoy marketing!