brainfluence

Review From User :

A fascinating glimpse into the marketing sneakiness. If even 20% of this stuff is real, the mind is truly dark.

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Bundling minimizes pain. (c)
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...for many consumers, the credit card takes the pain (quite literally, from the standpoint of the customer's brain) out of purchasing. Pulling cash out of one's wallet causes one to evaluate the purchase more carefully. (c)
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Even a simple currency symbol in front of a price can make a difference. ()
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Here's a scenario: You decide to venture into a cell phone store (despite your reluctance to deal with a bewildering number of phones, options, plans, and confusing pricing). As usual, you find you'll have to wait a bit for a salesperson. The greeter hands you a card with a big "97" printed on it and says, "It should only be a few minutes. We'll call your number, 97, when a salesperson can help you." You notice that a large digital display on the wall is showing "94." You see it click to 95, then 96, and finally 97. The receptionist says, "Number 97, please," and a salesperson arrives to assist you. You thought nothing of the numeric ordering of customers, but it's possible that the store had an ulterior motive: they could have been attempting to manipulate the price you would pay. Sound bizarre (c)
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Researchers at Stanford University and Caltech demonstrated that people's brains experience more pleasure when they think they are drinking a $45 wine instead of a $5 bottle, even when in reality it's the same cheap stuff! ...
Shiv, in another experiment, showed that people who paid more for an energy drink actually solved puzzles more quickly than those who bought it at a discount. The higher price made the drink more stimulating...
Yet another study showed that 85 percent of subjects given a placebo pill for pain relief reported a reduction in pain when they were told the pill cost $2.50 per dose; when told the pill cost 10 cents, only 61 percent of subjects reported a pain reduction. The pills, of course, had no actual active ingredients.(c)
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Here's the conundrum for marketers: On one hand, we know that the pain of paying kicks in when people perceive that a product is overpriced and makes people less likely to make a purchase. But now we have multiple studies showing that people enjoy a product more when they pay more for it. How should a marketer determine the price point (c)
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Another study looked at the price of houses and found that sellers who listed their house at an odd price, such as $494,500, sold at a price closer to their asking price than houses priced at even numbers, like $500,000. Oddly, the even-priced houses lost more value as they aged on the market, too. (c)
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Relativity is the key element in decoy marketing. (c)
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One study, by Ned Augenblick and Scott Nicholson of Stanford University, analyzed voting patterns in a California county. They found that the lower on the ballot an item appeared, the more likely the voter was to not make any choice or to use a shortcut, such as picking the first choice. The process of working through the ballot making choices caused voters to look for an easy way out as they progressed. (c)
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Sometimes, we process scents without conscious awareness. In one unique experiment, researchers asked female subjects to smell shirts worn by men who watched either an erotic movie or a neutral one. Virtually all of the women said they didn't smell anything, but the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of the brains of the women who smelled the shirts worn by the aroused guys lit up in a different way. (This is just one example of why surveys, questionnaires, and similar market research tools can yield unreliable results.) (c)
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John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules, describes an amusing, albeit informal, experiment he conducted to evaluate the potency of scent to enhance the formation of memories.10 Medina ran the test while teaching a complex molecular biology topic to two classes. In one class, before each lesson he sprayed Brut cologne on the wall; the other class received no such treatment. (Medina doesn't relate what comments, if any, students entering the cologne-scented classroom made.) When it was time for the final exam, he sprayed Brut for all students. The students who had received the Brut-scented lectures performed significantly better on the test.
 Although this experiment wasn't scientifically rigorous, it is consistent with the theory that memories can be stimulated by sensory inputs similar to those present when the memory was formed. (Think Proust!) (c)
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I'm not a big yogurt fan. "Live cultures" would be unacceptable, or even scary, in most foods, but for some reason, they are highly prized in yogurt. (c)
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Researchers have found that training alters brain maps (the locations of the brain that correspond to individual body parts). One experiment attached two fingers of a monkey together for a period of months so that they acted, in essence, as a single finger; tests showed that the previously separate brain mappings for the two fingers had indeed become one. Although this is an extreme example, many other experiments show that training rewires the brain. (c)
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Martin Lindstrom gives evidence of how associations can become hardwired over time in his popular neuromarketing book Buyology. Lindstrom notes that tobacco warning labels were found to stimulate craving for tobacco when smokers were observed using fMRI brain scans. The very labels intended to frighten smokers became, after repeated exposure, a cue to smoke. By their presence on every pack of cigarettes, the warning labels became associated with the pleasurable aspect of satisfying a tobacco craving. (c)
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One interesting finding reported by du Plessis is that the impact of fast-forwarded commercials is highest when the viewer has seen the whole ad at regular speed at least once. After one regular viewing, apparently there's enough information in the fast-forwarded visuals to stimulate recall; this makes subsequent "skipped" ads nearly as effective as those seen at regular speed. (c)
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Decades ago, psychologist Robert Zajonc demonstrated what is known as the mere exposure effect by showing two groups of non-Chinese-speaking subjects a series of five Chinese ideographs; one group received five exposures to the symbols, and the other group just got one. In all cases, the exposures lasted only five milliseconds or less, too fast for conscious processing. Then, Zajonc showed the subjects a larger group of images that included the original set as well as new ideographs and other symbols. The subjects viewed the images for a full second, more than enough time to be conscious of seeing them. Zajonc then asked how much they liked each one.
 The subjects who received five subliminal exposures to an ideograph liked it much better than the subjects who had seen it only once.
 The conclusion was that the presence of familiar things, even when we are unaware of the exposure, makes us feel better. Later work has suggested that this effect is related to fluency, the ease with which our brains process things that are more familiar. And although the experiment used ideographs, it's not a big leap to suggest that unconscious exposure to brand symbols might work the same way. (c)
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any exposure is better than none and can cause a positive association later. Labeling your products in a way that keeps the brand constantly visible is one approach. Every time the product is used, or carried in public, the brand is exposed. Sponsorships are another. How many people consciously notice who has branded their luggage cart at the airport Probably very few, but those labels add up to billions of impressions per year...
Samsung is a master of subtle branding via sponsorships. Lately, the firm has been branding airport electrical charging stations. Can you imagine a better way to link an electronics brand with a positive association Imagine the relief felt by the owner of a smartphone with a dying battery, who, stuck in the airport without a charger, finds this electrical oasis! (c)
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Newlin writes, "Passion brands breed passionate followings, very often through impassioned employees. I remember the early stories of Red Bull, when dogged sales guys would bring empty cans to bars and leave them crunched up and strewn around to make it look like the brand was popular, well before it actually was." (c)
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Take Apple, for instance; they are a brand envied by all. The firm that began by building some of the first home computers turned their customers into legions of fanatical evangelists. Indeed, brain scans show that when you put Apple "true believers" in an fMRI machine, their brains light up in the same areas normally triggered by religion.
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Psychologist Henri Tajfel wanted to know how seemingly normal people could commit genocide, and he explored how easy or difficult it was to get subjects to identify with one group and discriminate against others. What he found was startling: with the most trivial of distinctions, he could create artificial loyalties to one group, who would then discriminate against those not in that group.
 Tajfel tested subjects by having them perform a more or less meaningless task, like choosing between one of two painters or guessing a number of dots shown on a screen. Then, he assigned each subject to a group, ostensibly based on their answer. When the groups were asked to distribute real rewards, they became loyal to their own group and were stingy with the other group. Many variations on this experiment have been performed subsequently, and they have shown that people can develop group loyalty very quickly, even in the absence of real differences. Subjects even became emotionally invested in their meaningless groups, cheering for their own group's rewards and mocking the other group.
 Tajfel's experiment led to the theory of social identity, which states that people have an inherent tendency to categorize themselves into groups. They then base their identity, at least in part, on their group affiliations, and build boundaries to keep other groups separate.
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Jumping back to Apple, look how they have leveraged an "us versus them" approach for decades. Their "1984" commercial certainly drew a sharp distinction between the lone, attractive, athletic young woman and the lines of brainwashed drones.
 A year later, Apple's creepy and somewhat depressing "Lemmings" commercial continued to push people into one of two camps; they again portrayed Windows (PC) users as mindless, in this case as blindfolded businesspeople functioning like suicidal rodents following each other off a cliff. (c)
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The Etsy Approach
 Although Etsy, the phenomenal web success story in the arts and crafts market, wouldn't seem to have much in common with a megabrand like Apple, founder Rob Kalin has emulated Steve Jobs in at least one way. Etsy's key "customers" are actually the thousands of artists who choose to sell their wares on Etsy, and Kalin has appealed to this group by positioning himself on their side against big business.
 Even as Etsy itself turns into a huge enterprise, Kalin calls himself not CEO but crafter in chief and talks about "the big companies that all us small businesses are teaming up against." This rhetoric seems laughable for a company that has raised tens of millions of dollars in venture capital, but so far it seems to be working. It's us (Etsy and the artists) against them (the suits and big business). (c)
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Seth Godin and his tribes!
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A test involving the believability of political falsehoods found that asking undecided voters to write their age on a card nearly doubled the percentage who thought John McCain was senile. Similarly, voters who indicated their race on a card were more than twice as likely to believe that Barack Obama was a socialist.
Undecided subjects gave the "Obama is a socialist" a mere 25 percent probability of being true, a number that jumped to 62 percent when they were asked to record their race.(c)
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Researchers asked people to study a job candidate by looking at a resume placed on a clipboard. Each subject received either a light clipboard or a heavy one. The people given the heavy clipboards judged the applicants to have a more serious interest in the position than did the group that received the light clipboard. (c)
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 Song and Schwarz attribute the difference to cognitive fluency-in essence, how easy it is for us to process and digest information.
 They performed a similar experiment involving a sushi recipe. Subjects who saw the instructions in estimated that preparation would take 5.6 minutes, while those who read the directions in , a more complicated font, expected it to take 9.3 minutes. (c)
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Use Complex Fonts and Big Words to Enhance Your Product
 There's a lesson here for all kinds of businesses: complicated fonts and difficult text make things seem harder. If you want to convince customers that your product involves tedious steps to make or that great skill is required to deliver the service you provide, slow the reader down with a harder-to-read font and big words. (c)
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A Princeton study compared student retention of course material presented in both simple fonts and more complex fonts and found that retention was significantly better for the complex font. (c)
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A face in your ad will attract attention, but be sure the face is looking at what you want the viewer to see-your headline, a product image, or whatever is key. Viewers will examine the face, and then subconsciously be drawn to what the eyes appear to be looking at. Try it with pictures of adults, too. Instead of a smiling model staring out of the page, position him so that he is looking at your most important content! (c)
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One South African bank trying to boost its loan business did just that. They mailed 50,000 customers a loan offer and used several variations in the direct mail package. ... For me, at least, the most startling finding was that for male customers, including a photo of a female instead of a male on the mailing piece increased response rate by the same amount as a 4.5 percent drop in the loan interest rate. Female customers, meanwhile, were mostly unaffected by the gender of the photo. ...
The second takeaway from this research is that marketers should never assume they know what is going to work; testing different offers, different presentations, and even a crazy idea or two is the only way to know what will really make an offer take off.(c)
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The researchers ran a series of tests. They asked subjects to reflect on how the United States came into being. Half of the subjects were asked to reflect on what their world would be like if the country hadn't come into being. (This is called counterfactual reflection.) The other half were told to think about what their world is like because the country did come into existence (factual reflection). The subjects told to imagine the "what if the country hadn't come into existence" scenario demonstrated higher levels of patriotism in subsequent testing than those who reflected on their actual situation.
 And it's not just patriotism that can be stirred by imagining alternative scenarios-it works for businesses, too. A similar test that had subjects reflect on the origins of a company showed a significant boost in positive feelings among those who thought about the counterfactual condition, that is, the differences in the world or their own lives had the company not been created. (c)
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One of the most interesting findings was that the mere illusion of progress caused people to buy coffee more frequently. The experimenters issued two different cards: empty cards with 10 spots to stamp and cards with 12 blanks of which two were prestamped. In both cases, 10 stamps were required to earn the free coffee. Despite the identical number of stamps needed, the group that started with apparent progress on their card bought coffee more frequently than the empty-card group. (c)
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Natural Mind Readers (c)
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Markita's strategy was simple. When she knocked on a door, she would first ask for a $30,000 donation to the Girl Scouts. Naturally, she had no takers on that request. But then she'd ask if they would at least buy a box of Girl Scout cookies, and just about everyone would. (c)


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