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Six inspiring examples of neuromarketing done right

Relevant topics Neuromarketing Fundamentals, Archive

With neuromarketing gaining increased popularity in recent years, the examples of companies using neuromarketing are quite diverse. Whether you’re going for sensory marketing techniques or a choice architectural approach, the possibilities are endless – with a bit of creativity.


To cast some light on the wide range of different applications for neuromarketing, we present six interesting examples in this article.

Neuromarketing Example #1: Using sound and color to sell more products


Some neuromarketing techniques lead to immediate results. We start off with something psychologists and neuroscientists have known for years, which is that sound and color can have significant impact on the human brain. Moreover, sight and sound appear to be strongly intertwined.


Music with a powerful bass makes people subconsciously attend to dark objects, whereas music leaning more towards the high frequencies shifts attention to light objects. To illustrate this fact in the context of neuromarketing, this study done in a supermarket serves as a fine example.


Researchers collaborated with a large supermarket to see if the sale in bananas could be influenced by manipulating shelve lightness and audio frequencies. The color lightness was manipulated by creating both white and black shelves to stock the bananas on.


The audio was manipulated by mixing the same supermarket music with either prominent high- or low pitched frequencies. The results? You might say they were ‘bananas’.


It turned out that the high pitched music made people buy almost twice as much bananas from the white shelf as opposed to the black shelf. The reverse effect was found with low frequency music and black shelfs.

Neuromarketing Example #2: The most persuasive way to frame scarcity in advertisements


Of course, neuromarketing is also being used to influence people through advertisements. Neuromarketing in advertisements generally relies on more psychological concepts to persuade consumers. Fine examples of this are advertisements showing a limited edition like a bottle of coke with special packaging.


Limited editions rely on the concept of scarcity. When things are scarce, people are more eager to buy them because they fear the item might sell out. It feels like a chance that we don’t want to miss.


For many marketers, the power of scarcity is nothing new. It is a well-known principle borrowed from social psychology. But there’s more to concepts like scarcity. A good neuromarketer understands the conditions in which these concepts are most effective.


Research has shown, for example, that the way scarcity cues are framed matter as well. People with a high need for uniqueness prefer to hear what they will miss when they don’t buy the product, while people with low need for uniqueness need to hear what there is to gain from buying it.

Gain frames are sentences like: “get the new edition now”, while loss frames are sentences like “be sure not to miss the new edition”. As certain brands tend to serve consumers that are in general seeking conformity or uniqueness, it’s good to match scarcity cues to the target audience.

Neuromarketing Example #3: Using subtle rewards to influence consumers online


Besides advertising, neuromarketing can be of great benefit in the online environment as well. All sorts of ecommerce shops have discovered that rewarding customers is a great way to keep them coming back. A lot of shops focus on delayed rewards, like a certain amount of points which each purchase that can be converted into shop credit at a later point.

While this a good strategy, the power of rewards can be used even more effectively when long term rewards are combined with short term rewards as well. Short term rewards help people stay on track during the time they need to reach long term goals.

But how do companies use this knowledge in their online web shops? It’s often the subtler, and perhaps overlooked details that practice short-term rewards. Ever saw a company congratulating you with a checkmark or even exclaiming ‘great choice’ after putting an item in your basket? Or have you ever received a free gift if you order before tomorrow? If you did, you witnessed a small, but effective feat of neuromarketing first hand.

Neuromarketing Example #4: Creating an efficient product design process


Even the product and their packaging themselves can be designed using clever neuromarketing research.


While it can be useful to ask consumers what they like about a certain product, it is even better to measure it without asking them directly. And it works for all kind of products. For example, some researchers compared different packaging options for things like chocolate-chip cookies.


Using eye tracking and EEG data, marketers can locate design elements that don’t work; like the ones people have trouble reading or that they simply don’t get excited about.


And while an enjoyable chocolate-chip cookie packaging is surely important for all of us, some brands take it a step further. Companies like Volvo and Hyundai have used similar methods to figure out which elements of new car models spoke to consumers; sometimes even changing entire sections based on research results.

Neuromarketing Example #5: Creating a multi-sensory mismatch


It’s also possible to integrate neuromarketing tactics within the overall brand strategy, in order to facilitate a brand’s perceived identity. We have all come across products and packaging that makes material looks like something else. For example, a plastic cover that looks like metal or glass, or a paper bag that looks like it’s made of linen.


A lot of successful brands engage consumers in multi-sensory stimulation. What that means is that they offer a brand experience on more than just visual aspects alone, like smell and taste. If two sensory cues don’t match, it’s considered a mismatch.


Although it doesn’t sound like any consumer is going to like such a mismatch, it actually can work in favor of a brand when the brand wants to establish an exciting personality. A sensory mismatch comes as a surprise to most consumers and, depending on the brand, is seen as authentic to the existing nature of the product.

Neuromarketing Example #6: Predicting future successes with neuroscience


Last but not least is an example that illustrates the power of using modern day neuroscience tools to make predictions about consumer behavior. What if I told you neuromarketing can even be used to predict which movies are going to be big box office hits?


Two marketing researchers from Rotterdam made subjects view some trailers of movies while hooked onto an EEG headset. They later chose which of these movies they would like to see at home. They were also asked about their preference regarding the movies based on the movie trailers.


Both the EEG data and the self-report data predicted their individual movie choice equally well. The interesting fact here is that when looked at the box office results, only the EEG data of these subjects could actually predict the success of the movie.


Knowing this, it’s hard to imagine the limits of neuromarketing in the future. As researchers learn more and more about the human psyche in the context of consumerism, more fascinating and inspiring examples of neuromarketing follow.
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Further Reading

  • 5 Neuromarketing techniques every marketer should know about

    In modern day neuroscience, it’s easy to get confused over all the different neuromarketing techniques out there. While virtually all of the techniques used in the field can be valuable to marketing, it’s good to understand the difference between them and how they work.


    In this article, we’ll have a closer look at five regularly used neuromarketing techniques to see how they work and in what kind of context it’s most suited: eye tracking, brain imaging (EEG and fMRI), facial encoding, sensory marketing and psychological techniques.

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