Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!

When I was in college, the focus of the marketing exam was the 4P model... A few years later, Mr. Kotler war already announcing their association with 4C... And today we are actually talking about Neuromarketing... Science evolves and marketing with it!


The art of convincing consumers to purchase is based on psychologicalstudies, behavioral surveys and the most famous, cutting edge “sensorial”technologies. Neuromarketing is closely tied to the use o fvisualizationtechniques of cerebral activity (for example, functional electromagneticresonance or electroencefalography) to understand what exactly takes place on aneurocognitive level in the human brain in reply to certain emotional stimuligiven by promotional or publicity messages, for the purpose of determining thelevel of efficacy of the communication in question and the most potent stimuli.

The science that studies the process and motivations that lead the humanbeing to perform what no other creature in the universe can - purchase goodsin-line with his/her needs, thus putting an end to the mission of everyeconomic activity - increasingly focuses on the emotional factor, admittingthat affective and emotional states are foundational for individuals’ choices.This new branch spurs us to consume by using new levers that are not the 4P oreven the 4C but that act on our mind, stimulating it through colors, perfumesand other kinds of tricks and strategies. An example? RTX9338PJS. Its name isimpossible to pronounce and for this reason it is already a product “outsidetraditional mktg”, but it seems to have brought optimal results in terms ofbusiness. It is the acronym of a product fruit of “psychic” marketing: a spraycan containing the aroma of a bacon cheeseburger that abundantly sprayed in theair ducts of fast food restaurants increases the sale of hamburgers. It seemsthat many customers become inebriated with what they think is the genuine smellof meat and surrender to the latest frontier of marketing! … But do all thosepeople who hate this strong smell that lingers on clothes remain unscathed bythese stratagems?...Hmm, probably not!


The consumer experiences a series of stimuli that are not casual but that research and studies have shown can in some wayfacilitate “the mission of every economic activity”: the perfumes, the sounds,the way of organizing and displaying the goods, the appeal of the sales staffare just some of the aspects to focus on in order to apply a goodNeuromarketing strategy.

The sense of smell is one of the most focused on, but so is sight!That’s why we are surrounded by products whosecolors seem saturated andcontrasted with “photoshop”!

For example, a great find by marketing experts is that eggs with a brownshell sell much more easily than those with a white shell. Thedarker colorseems to recall bucolic scenarios and meets the favorable consensus ofconsumers! The face of advertising on TV, too, is another example, and we’reall susceptible to that. The visual and audio emotional stimuli dominatecommercials that increasingly resemble movies: directors are called to producethem, actors become exceptional testimonials, the music is increasinglycaptivating... and onomatopoeic. If the program you have decided to watch isboring, it is probable that the commercials in-between stimulate your brainmuch more! Let’s see how.


Sight. In advertising, the image is protag onist for the emotionalstimulus that it produces.

In most cases, this stimulus is limited to mere sexual lure. Thewidespread use of this strategy that exploits the most primordial instincts ofthe human being is justified by its success. It actually works almost all thetime! In the human male, sexual desire is stimulated through sight and byassociating the image of a desirable woman with that of a product, the malesubconscious associates the satisfaction of his desire with the possession ofthis product. For women, the pleasure that derives from being desired isassociated to the purchase of the product presented by a woman who is just asdesirable. It seems banal, but it works and increases sales!


Hearing. Sound is protag onist when the audio channel is chosen, and in this case the emotional content is higher,more “noble”, and the trend that consists in advertising consumer productsusing successful songs and music scores confirmed its power. This music hasbeen heard and appreciated by audiences in a purely recreational, culturaloccasional context before being connected with the product and, in theconsumer’s subconscious, represents a special period of his or her personallife, an emotional charge, memories that listening to this music brings backeven stronger than before.


Sight and hearing merge in the result of the animate d commercial. The footage is the most complete form of communication because itinvolves both of the main senses, presenting something very similar to reality.Some statistics have shown that in travel agencies, the vision of a certaindestination increases the sale of tickets for this location much more than justits picture. So here’s the first advice: in a given activity, exploit monitorsto their fullest!


Smell. Many researchers are working on this discipline, making surveysand special tests and some of them have discovered that, for example,diffusing vanilla perfume in a women’s clothing store doubles sales. Therelease of a very strong smell upon opening a can of coffee builds loyalty inthe consumer who would do anything to be able to repeat the “mystical”experience! Maybe it is also for this reason that the bread counter and freshbakery section are always close to the entrance in supermarkets? Of course!

Because the smell of fresh bread immediately stimulates our appetite,leading us to perceive the freshness of these and other products, making usfill our trolleys with good cheer!

The sense of smell is the most strongly connected to our emotions, andtoday there are many companies involved in olfactory marketing consultancy.Like in the creation of a tailor-made piece of clothing or ofhome furnishings,consultants are able to create an olfactory marketing strategy capable ofconnoting the corporate identity, speaking its language, representing its styleand consequently conquering the clientele!

It is called perfume psychology.

Marketing and fragrance industry experts research the way of using theunique power that odors have to arouse emotions directly in the location thatpresides over their elaboration - our brain1 - to influence consumers’ buyinghabits. Since smell is the sense that guides us in choosing between good andbad, in the human psyche perfumes have a protagonist role with respect tomorale for example, but not only. In many cultures, there are very similarwords or even the same word that mean “good” and “perfumed”. Studies in thisrealm are rather difficult to conduct, but the strong potential of smells andthe many possible applications at the service of business make olfactorypsychology very fascinating, so much so that it gives life to entities like theolfactory logo that adds another value to the many belonging to the companybrand. The few olfactory logos that we have as examples have been created inthe past unconsciously by some companies and the study of these particularcases has given rise to the efficacy of this new marketing. There are smells thatwe unmistakably associate with a product or a brand, like the smell of vanillinassociated with the name Borotalco (renowned Italian brand of baby powder) orthe smell of cedar wood that remind many people of a special brand of coloredpencils. A common smell is hence associated with specific products andautomatically becomes the olfactory logo of the brand producing them.


An important note in regards to the sense of smell is the memoryconnected to it. Lots of memories ofthis type have a long history and are often the oldest ones we have, connectedmostly to our infancy and for this reason they can evoke generally pleasantemotions that are very easy to recall. It seems that it is a type of memorythat never fades, with a strength directly proportional to the importance thatthe circumstance where the odor was perceived had in the individual’s learningprocess: the more the experience constituted a “cognitive” and “augmentative”moment in our lives, the harder will it be to forget that particular smell. Allthis lies at the basis of sensorial marketing that focuses on the sense ofsmell. Perfumes (or olfactory logos) are disseminated on materials and inenvironments, completely pervading the situation they are used in. Olfactorylogos can be diffused during events, for example, to transmit a strongemotional charge that can in some way conditionsthe audience by releasing afavorable response every time the perfume is smelled.


An olfactory logo is elaborate d based on the target to be reached andconquered, of course, and themore restricted is the type of audience, the simpler the logo is to construe.For example, Borotalcobaby powder and children’s products in general use thesweet aromas of vanillin and milk creams to symbolize tender maternal feelings.For large companies with a vast and diversified audience, it may not be as easyto create an olfactory logo: corporate values must be respected and an almostuniversal consensus must be had...Rather a complicated task that must alwaystry to minimize the risk of errors and assess the chosen aroma several timesand repeatedly before officially declaring it the company’s olfactorysignature. Of course, specialized figures such as perfumers are foundational inbuilding an appropriate olfactory logo - like a musician creating thesoundtrack of a movie mixes specially perfumed “notes” to produce the mostappropriate essence, an artistic work where knowledge, intuitionand inspirationgo hand in hand with olfactory psychology and aromatherapy.


These are just some of the “little tricks” that Neuromarketing applies to make goods more seductive in the eyes of consumers, and there areplenty of experts and books that reveal2 how the major brands succeed in makingtheir product more attractive compared to the competition by acting on these“psychological” levers with expedients bordering on the sly, but very genialall the same!


Apple is always a good example when analyzing a pa rticular trend, and in this case, the phenomenon is called “thereligion of the iPod3”. It is said that Apple moves the lever of“religion” by organizing its stores as if they were “technological cathedrals”and launches its products bybuilding events articulated in time based on aprecise liturgy. Steve Jobs holding an iPad has been compared to Moses holdingthe Tablets of the Law. Exaggerated? Metropolitan legends collected by criticsof the consumer society and by the most apocalyptic sociologists?


We cannot sa y for sure...But if we consider that the human mind has unexplored boundaries, we can wellhope that all these experiments promoted by companies in an effort tounderstand what goes on inside our brains - when we find ourselves in thepresence of a product on the supermarket shelves or watch a TV commercial orbecome inebriated by a special essence - can open the way to a new frontier! Sowemust keep this aspect of Neuromarketing in consideration, too … The moreoften it develops, the greater the number of companies capable of knowing ourreal needs and our most subconscious desires, and the more useful will be theproducts developed for us!

Nothing left to do but ask ... or rather, think! •


1. The limbic system is a series of brain structures that include thehyppocampus, amygdalae, anterior talamic nuclei and the limbic cortexthatsupport a variety of psychic functions such as emotion, behavior, long-termmemory and olfaction. The term limbic comes fromthe Latin “limbus”, for“border” or “edge”.

2. For example, “Neuromarketing”, the book by Martin Lindstrom(publishedby Apogeo).

3. One of the examples in Lindstrom’s book.

  • "The Ear" by Adolfo Wildt (Milan 1868-1931)
  • Renè Magritte (Lessines, 21 November 1898 - Bruxelles, 15 August 1967), "The False Mirror", surreal work of 1928
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
  • Nothing left to do but ask... Or rather, think!
Login or Register to publish a comment