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!

Perini Journal

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

The science that studies the process and motivations that lead the human being to perform what no other creature in the universe can - purchase goods in-line with his/her needs, thus putting an end to the mission of every economic activity - increasingly focuses on the emotional factor, admitting that 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 or even the 4C but that act on our mind, stimulating it through colors, perfumes and other kinds of tricks and strategies. An example? RTX9338PJS. Its name is impossible to pronounce and for this reason it is already a product “outside traditional mktg”, but it seems to have brought optimal results in terms of business. It is the acronym of a product fruit of “psychic” marketing: a spray can containing the aroma of a bacon cheeseburger that abundantly sprayed in the air ducts of fast food restaurants increases the sale of hamburgers. It seems that many customers become inebriated with what they think is the genuine smell of meat and surrender to the latest frontier of marketing! … But do all those people who hate this strong smell that lingers on clothes remain unscathed by these 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 way facilitate “the mission of every economic activity”: the perfumes, the sounds, the way of organizing and displaying the goods, the appeal of the sales staff are just some of the aspects to focus on in order to apply a good Neuromarketing 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 and contrasted with “photoshop”!

For example, a great find by marketing experts is that eggs with a brown shell sell much more easily than those with a white shell. Thedarker color seems to recall bucolic scenarios and meets the favorable consensus of consumers! The face of advertising on TV, too, is another example, and we’re all susceptible to that. The visual and audio emotional stimuli dominate commercials that increasingly resemble movies: directors are called to produce them, actors become exceptional testimonials, the music is increasingly captivating... and onomatopoeic. If the program you have decided to watch is boring, it is probable that the commercials in-between stimulate your brain much more! Let’s see how.


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

In most cases, this stimulus is limited to mere sexual lure. The widespread use of this strategy that exploits the most primordial instincts of the human being is justified by its success. It actually works almost all the time! In the human male, sexual desire is stimulated through sight and by associating the image of a desirable woman with that of a product, the male subconscious associates the satisfaction of his desire with the possession of this product. For women, the pleasure that derives from being desired is associated to the purchase of the product presented by a woman who is just as desirable. 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 products using successful songs and music scores confirmed its power. This music has been heard and appreciated by audiences in a purely recreational, cultural occasional context before being connected with the product and, in the consumer’s subconscious, represents a special period of his or her personal life, an emotional charge, memories that listening to this music brings back even 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 it involves both of the main senses, presenting something very similar to reality. Some statistics have shown that in travel agencies, the vision of a certain destination increases the sale of tickets for this location much more than just its picture. So here’s the first advice: in a given activity, exploit monitors to their fullest!


Smell. Many researchers are working on this discipline, making surveys and special tests and some of them have discovered that, for example, diffusing vanilla perfume in a women’s clothing store doubles sales. The release of a very strong smell upon opening a can of coffee builds loyalty in the 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 fresh bakery 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 us fill our trolleys with good cheer!

The sense of smell is the most strongly connected to our emotions, and today 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 of connoting the corporate identity, speaking its language, representing its style and consequently conquering the clientele!

It is called perfume psychology.

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


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


An olfactory logo is elaborate d based on the target to be reached and conquered, of course, and the more restricted is the type of audience, the simpler the logo is to construe. For example, Borotalcobaby powder and children’s products in general use the sweet 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 easy to create an olfactory logo: corporate values must be respected and an almost universal consensus must be had...Rather a complicated task that must always try to minimize the risk of errors and assess the chosen aroma several times and repeatedly before officially declaring it the company’s olfactory signature. Of course, specialized figures such as perfumers are foundational in building an appropriate olfactory logo - like a musician creating the soundtrack of a movie mixes specially perfumed “notes” to produce the most appropriate essence, an artistic work where knowledge, intuitionand inspiration go 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 are plenty of experts and books that reveal2 how the major brands succeed in making their product more attractive compared to the competition by acting on these “psychological” levers with expedients bordering on the sly, but very genial all the same!


Apple is always a good example when analyzing a pa rticular trend, and in this case, the phenomenon is called “the religion 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 a precise liturgy. Steve Jobs holding an iPad has been compared to Moses holding the Tablets of the Law. Exaggerated? Metropolitan legends collected by critics of 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 well hope that all these experiments promoted by companies in an effort to understand what goes on inside our brains - when we find ourselves in the presence of a product on the supermarket shelves or watch a TV commercial or become inebriated by a special essence - can open the way to a new frontier! So wemust keep this aspect of Neuromarketing in consideration, too … The more often it develops, the greater the number of companies capable of knowing our real needs and our most subconscious desires, and the more useful will be the products developed for us!

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


1. The limbic system is a series of brain structures that include the hyppocampus, amygdalae, anterior talamic nuclei and the limbic cortexthat support a variety of psychic functions such as emotion, behavior, long-term memory 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!
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