What is Neuromarketing?
Neuromarketing is a relatively new field that combines neuroscience with marketing to understand how the brain responds to various marketing stimuli. It is a discipline that delves into consumers’ subconscious reactions and emotions to help marketers create more effective advertising campaigns and optimize their overall marketing strategies.
To give you a clearer picture, here are a few academic definitions related to neuromarketing:
- According to Professor Martin Lindstrom, a leading expert in the field, “Neuromarketing is the application of brain science to understand, predict, and influence consumer behavior.”
- In their book, Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer, authors Leon Zurawicki and Thomas Ramsøy define it as “the systematic collection, interpretation, and application of knowledge about the human brain and how it reacts to different marketing stimuli.”
- In a paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Professor Ellen R. Auster and Professor Andrei G. Kirilenko describe neuromarketing as “the study of consumers’ cognitive, affective, and sensory responses to marketing stimuli through the use of various neurological techniques, such as brain imaging.”
20 Examples of Neuromarketing
Google’s Micro-Moments (2015): Google invested in a neuromarketing campaign called “Micro-Moments.” They used electroencephalography (EEG) technology to measure consumers’ brain activity during their instantaneous interactions with online devices. These moments often involved a strong intent to purchase, learn, or travel. By understanding the neural pathways that are activated during these moments, Google was able to tailor their advertising strategy to better meet the needs of the user, focusing on immediacy and relevance.
Frito-Lay’s Sensory Study (2011): Frito-Lay hired NeuroFocus, a neuromarketing firm, to conduct a sensory study of their potato chips. They used EEG technology to understand consumers’ subconscious responses to the crunch of the chip. They found that a noisier crunch triggered more positive responses in the brain. As a result, Frito-Lay worked on their product and packaging designs to emphasize the sound of the chip being bitten.
PayPal’s Emotional Messaging (2017): PayPal used neuromarketing by collaborating with Neuro-Insight to analyze people’s responses to their advertising messages. By using Steady State Topography (SST) technology, they discovered that advertisements with emotionally engaging narratives resonated more with the audience than product-centric ads. They shifted their advertising approach to focus more on the emotional benefits of using PayPal.
Hyundai’s Virtual Showroom (2018): Hyundai used virtual reality (VR) to create an immersive neuromarketing experience. They collaborated with eye-tracking specialists Tobii Pro to study which car features consumers looked at first and spent the most time studying in their virtual showroom. This information was used to prioritize which features to promote in marketing efforts.
Pradeo’s Website Optimization (2019): Pradeo, a mobile security company, used neuromarketing techniques to improve their website. They used eye-tracking technology to understand what parts of their website visitors focused on the most, which helped them to reposition important content to ensure it was being noticed.
Spotify’s Discover Weekly (2015): Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” feature uses neuromarketing principles. By analyzing listening habits and neural patterns, Spotify curates personalized playlists that are likely to resonate with each user, encouraging greater platform engagement.
Ebay’s Buy-It-Now Feature (2019): In response to a neuromarketing study that showed the human brain is drawn to immediate gratification, Ebay introduced the “Buy-It-Now” feature. This allows customers to purchase items instantly, playing into the consumers’ desire for immediate satisfaction.
Campbell Soup’s Packaging (2011): Campbell Soup used neuromarketing research to make changes to their soup can labels. Research revealed that consumers had a strong neural and nostalgic connection to the original labels, so the company decided to retain elements of the old design in their new labels.
Daimler’s Sound Logo (2022): Car manufacturer Daimler used neuromarketing research to develop their “sound logo.” Recognizing the power of auditory memory, they used sound that evokes positive associations in the brain, strengthening brand recognition and connection.
Netflix’s Thumbnail Testing (2016-2017): Netflix used neuromarketing techniques like eye-tracking and engagement analysis to determine the most compelling thumbnail images for their shows, resulting in increased click-through rates and viewer engagement.
PepsiCo’s Doritos X-13D Flavor Experiment (2007): PepsiCo tested the X-13D flavor of Doritos by distributing mysterious black bags of chips and asking for consumer feedback. Using neuromarketing principles, they found that naming the flavor “Late Night Cheeseburger” elicited a more positive response, likely due to pleasant memories associated with late-night dining.
Facebook’s Like Button (2009): Facebook’s “Like” button, introduced in 2009, is an example of neuromarketing. The instant gratification from receiving “likes” triggers a release of dopamine in the brain, a “reward” neurotransmitter that encourages continued use of the platform.
Nike’s Just Do It Campaign (1988): Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign leveraged neuromarketing by using a powerful and concise message that triggers a motivational response in consumers’ brains, leading to increased brand loyalty and product purchases.
Apple’s iPod Launch (2001): When launching the iPod, Apple focused on how the product made consumers feel rather than the technical specifications. By connecting the product with positive emotions and self-expression, they effectively used neuromarketing to differentiate their product.
Microsoft’s InPrivate Feature (2021): Microsoft used neuromarketing to introduce the InPrivate feature in its Edge browser. Recognizing the concern for privacy among consumers, this feature provided a sense of safety and control, tapping into basic neural instincts.
Coca-Cola’s Share a Coke Campaign (2011): Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign was a huge neuromarketing success. Seeing one’s name on a product can trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward and pleasure, thereby increasing the likelihood of purchase.
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Ad (2018): Cadbury used neuromarketing principles in their “Mum’s Birthday” ad. The narrative of a child buying a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for their mother’s birthday triggered strong emotional responses and neural connectivity with viewers, leading to increased brand affinity.
Amazon’s 1-Click Ordering (1999): Amazon’s 1-Click ordering feature plays into the neuromarketing principle of reducing friction. It provides instant gratification by making the purchasing process quicker and simpler, thereby enhancing the user experience and increasing sales.
Burberry’s Sensorial Store Experience (2022): Luxury brand Burberry redesigned their stores to include a multisensory experience, which was developed through neuromarketing research. By creating an environment that appeals to all the senses, customers are more likely to have a positive, memorable interaction with the brand.
Volvo’s Car Safety Campaign (2019): Volvo conducted a neuromarketing study to understand the consumers’ neural response to safety. They found out that safety was a primary concern for car buyers, so they focused their marketing campaigns around the safety features of their cars, connecting with deep-rooted instincts for self-preservation.
Samrat is a Delhi-based MBA from the Indian Institute of Management. He is a Strategy, AI, and Marketing Enthusiast and passionately writes about core and emerging topics in Management studies. Reach out to his LinkedIn for a discussion or follow his Quora Page