Neuromarketing and Innovation
As a relatively new concept, neuromarketing has contributed a surprising amount of useful information in the marketing field that companies use to persuade consumers to purchase their products. The innovation of neuromarketing lies in the fact that it identifies the key elements that guide our motivation and behaviour as consumers and then explores this behaviour to determine what pushes consumers to decide to buy one product over another.[footnoteRef:1] [1: (Elg Jensen, 2015)]
We may consider neuromarketing psychological ‘hacking’ into the human brain because, by targeting the ventromedial prefrontal cortex – an area of the brain responsible for using emotional responses and shaping them into behavioural tendencies, it modifies the emotion-based brand perception. How does this relate to Apple? Apple uses meticulously selected visual content – the Apple logo and the physical appearance of Apple stores and products predominantly in the achromatic colour scale of white, silver, and black.
By the scientific-based colour theory in psychology, all respective colours have highly-specific associations in human minds – white represents simplicity and induces creativity, black conveys dominance and sophistication, while silver is commonly associated with high-quality technology. It is not a coincidence that these colours are representative of the Apple brand; Apple’s visual presentation was strategised to induce a strong associative emotional response to the brand by consumers – and this is visual neuromarketing.
This statement is not simply a meaningless assumption – it has been proven in Apple vs. Samsung: Neuroscientific fMRI study conducted in Berlin by Prof. Dr. med. Jürgen Gallinat. In the study, Prof. Gallinat wanted to discover whether there is a scientific explanation for the fascination with a gadget based on the answers of 25 participants divided by respective affinity towards Apple or Samsung. The study found that, in Apple users, Apple activates a brain area responsible for liking people, which Prof. Gallinat interprets as Apple products evoking so-called ‘gut feelings’. However, the study also yielded a surprising finding that Apple products activate two highly specialised areas in the temporal lobe used when humans see and evaluate emotional faces. As Apple products, of course, do not have faces – this information is revolutionary.[footnoteRef:2]
Based on this study, we may logically conclude that Apple users are highly influenced by Apple’s visual presentation – after all, a face is an extremely visual element of appearance. [2: (ARD, 2013)] If we connect this study to Apple’s own market research, which acts in favour of this hypothesis as customers from seven different countries, when asked why they bought an iPhone, “trusting the Apple brand” emerged as the first or second most popular answer in most regions, including the USA and China, where over 50% of respondents included it as a factor.[footnoteRef:3] [3: (Heisler, 2012)]
Therefore, operating from the hypothesis that Apple uses visual neuromarketing, it may be confirmed that, there is a direct correlation between the visual presentation of a brand and brand development, more specifically that, “color-induced brand personality can affect purchase intent.”[footnoteRef:4] The effect of visual-based brand presentation is unprecedented in the technological industry, as the perception of the Apple brand by the consumer society is unimaginably enhanced, thus creating a sustainable competitive advantage of Apple over both existing and future competitors. [4: (Labrecque and Milne, 2011)]