The foods you prefer, the music you like or whether you think David Hasselhoff is a really good singer or an insane reality tv judge who makes awesome youtube music videos, are likely influenced by ‘imprints’ embedded in your unconscious mind.
‘Imprints’ can be defined as the subconscious rules that guides each of us depending on the culture in which we are raised. The combination of the experience and the accompanying emotion creates the imprint. The stronger the emotion, the deeper the imprint. Thus explains my disdain for rotary dial phones. As a child i had a red, rotary dial Grover (Sesame Street) phone. Each time it rang I eagerly answered expecting Grover… but always nothing! That son of a bitch Grover was just toying with me!
In Culture Code, Clotaire Rapaille demonstrated an imprint by highlighting his work with Nestle, where he was commissioned to work with the company to introduce instant coffee to the market and convince the Japanese consumer to switch from tea to coffee.
While the Japanese had an extremely strong emotional connection to tea, they had, at the most, a very superficial imprint of coffee. Most, in fact, had no imprint of coffee at all.
Under those circumstances, Nestle’s strategy of getting these consumers to switch from tea to coffee could only fail. Coffee cound not compete with tea in the Japanese culture if it had such weak emotional resonance. Instead, if Nestle was going to have any success in this market at all, they needed to start at the beginning. They needed to create an imprint for coffee for the Japanese.
Armed with this information, Nestle devised a new strategy. Rather than selling instant coffee to a country dedicated to tea, they created desserts for children infused with the flavor of coffee but without the caffeine. The younger generation embraced these desserts. Their first imprint of coffee was a very positive one, one they would carry throughout their lives.
Coffee sales in Japan are now valued at over $10 billion dollars. In another more recent study carried out by Masaki Huki at Hokkaido University in Japan, culture was shown to play a significant role in determing whether we look someone in the eye or the mouth to interpret facial expressions. The study showed that, in Japan, people tend to look to the eyes for emotional cues whereas Americans tend to look to the mouth.
When Yuki entered graduate school and began communicating with American scholars over e-mail, he was often confused by their use of emoticons such as smiley faces:) and sad faces, or:(.
“It took some time before I finally understood that they were faces,” he wrote in an e-mail. In Japan, emoticons tend to emphasize the eyes, such as the happy face (^_^) and the sad face (;_;). “After seeing the difference between American and Japanese emoticons, it dawned on me that the faces looked exactly like typical American and Japanese smiles,” he said.
Neuromarketing is about understanding your customer – how his brain works physiologically and how it’s affected by its environment. The culture of the market in which your product is sold, in which your website is viewed, will have a profound impact on how it is perceived. As a marketer it is your responsibility to attempt to understand how your product or service is viewed in the marketplace, in order to produce the desired emotional state (of the consumer), prompt memorization and drive sales.
Equally important: Don’t Hassle the Hoff!
Marc Narine is the creator of the ’3Brain Marketing’ system. An application of neuromarketing that incorporates various disciplines of neuroscience and marketing. A strong desire to better understand the motives behind customer decisions led to neuroscience research and in turn the application of this knowledge in traditional marketing. He often speaks, writes and consults on the topic. His unique writing style has won many fans seeking to better understand this new discipline while being entertained.