Long gone are the days when customers were faceless consumers for brands.
Today, they are multidimensional shoppers that heavily rely on technology and online media to get advices, make comparisons, set preferences, rate and suggest. They seek brands with similar values as them, meaning intimacy, legacy, and mindfulness.
They look for emotional relationships with brands and, given the huge competition due to the access to unlimited options and information, brands do need to create wowing experiences.
Consumers decisions are driven by the way their brain processes perceptions, emotions, memories and motivations linked to purchase.
"The stronger the positive emotions consumers' brain associates to a certain product, the more pleasure they derive when they imagine themselves purchasing it."
Research calls this “affective forecasting” — that is the tendency to predict the emotional consequences of the outcomes of a certain decision.
This means that if you provide customers with pleasurable experiences with your brand, you increase the chances to get loyal followers willing to spread the news and eagerly anticipating to purchase your products. And, truth be told, it's that anticipation that makes the world go round. From the point of view of your customers’ brain, fulfilment and joy are not coming from actually purchasing your product, but from anticipating this experience.
According to the latest neuroscience research findings, here are three key factors to creating a successful brand-consumer relationship.
1. Senses Engagement
It has been evidenced that people remember better through sensory memories, which is why the most effective way to create engagement is to appeal to the senses.
Take, for example, smell and vision. Responses to odours are mostly automatic and activate the parts of the brain associated with emotional responses, i.e. the limbic system.
Recent neuroscience research says that even reading scent-related words actually activates olfactory, limbic and memory brain regions .
“Even scent-y phrases, such as “tastes like vanilla” or “wild and sensual as jasmine” stimulate imagery and produce effects in the brain similar to the actual perception of an odor.”
In other words, we tend to feel as if we have indeed tasted or smelled something that was just shown as a written word.
Think of ads that use images of, say, freshly roasted coffee or with a fragrant steam rising out of the cup of coffee. Don't you feel an intense need to be part of the experience? That sense of coziness and quality lifestyle infused by the ad is something consumers want for themselves. So, when they’ll purchase that particular coffee brand, they’ll expect the same positive experience triggered by their brain when they saw the ad.
However, brand recognition can also come through the sense of hearing. How easy is it recalling a brand with just a few notes of its jingle?
Some tips: use fast tempo music in your store or in your video, if you want to evoke impulses, speedy choices, youthfulness, and daylight. Use slower tempos if you want to trigger reflection, relaxed purchases, mindful engagement.
2. Delayed Gratification
We live in a world where speed matters the most. Customers demand immediate and easy responses to their needs and find it intolerable to have to deal with slow internet connection, delayed deliveries or time-consuming requests.
The secret to succeeding, though, lies in the ability of the brands to delay gratification. If brands accomplish that, then they got customers hooked for sure.
To achieve that, brands have to weigh the power and pleasure of anticipation. Some tips?
" Don't give your customers chewed food and everything on their plate right from the start. Let them anticipate what will be next, your next deal, special offer, promotion, bonus… Let them imagine what you have for them in the coming week or month."
3. Shocking Approach
And, when least expected, you do something out of the ordinary and help create more intense memories!
Consumers just love every positive thing that they didn't see coming. In neuroscience terms, the unexpected promotes learning.
" So, every time you present consumers with an unpredictable stimulus, their brain will create new, powerful connections that will change their purchase behaviour and beliefs."
Use elements of surprise in your marketing campaign, use unexpected messages that help people overcome their fears, or make them laugh, or lift their spirit on a bad day.
Be unpredictable and let your customers become your next brand ambassadors.
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