Buyology - Martin Lindstrom 

Buyology - Martin Lindstrom 

Find out, in this summary of the book, how marketing is related to neuroscience and unveiling consumers' subconscious.

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Did you know that your brain plays a key role in your buying decision, both consciously and unconsciously? And did you know that companies are already evaluating the brains of consumers to know the best course to follow?

In this Pocket Book, we can understand what is this new concept and what are these new strategies.

Welcome to Neuromarketing!

About the book "Buyology"

The book "Buyology", published in 2016, brings a new vision for marketing.

In this book, we can find a complex study of neuromarketing, which seeks to deepen human behavior and understand how we behave in moments of decision-making.

During its 207 pages, the book is divided into 11 chapters, which address several discoveries made from the stimuli that hit every part of the human brain and how they affect our day-to-day consumer behavior.

About the author Martin Lindstrom

Defined by "The Sunday Times" as the "wonder boy of the marketing world," Martin Lindstrom is considered one of the gurus of global marketing. A specialist in branding, he has had books translated into 19 languages and reaching more than 1 million people.

Today, in addition to being a writer, Martin is an executive director of Lindstrom Company, a consulting firm he has created and providing services to large companies such as McDonald's, Nokia, Nestlé, and Microsoft.

To whom is this book indicated?

This book presents a completely new line of thinking in the marketing arena.

So, if you study or work in this field, or if you want to understand how your consuming behavior works, this book is recommended to you as it will provide for you innovative learning about how our brain influences our buying behavior.

Main ideas of the book "Buyology"

The book includes as main ideas the following topics:

  • Neuromarketing, as a new marketing tool;
  • The importance of our brains in the buying process;
  • The tactics and strategies used by companies that hit our unconscious.

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[Book Summary] Buyology - Martin Lindstrom

Overview: Neuromarketing and its Technologies

Have you ever wondered what makes you decide to buy a product? At which point you figured you needed to buy one chocolate bar at the supermarket, a book that had an interesting subject, or even the moment you decided your car was right for you?

Lindstrom says that sure some of our choices are made from our needs and by comparing prices, but many of them are also made unconsciously, that is, the stimuli reach our brain, which arouses interest for a given product.

In this scenario, marketers have realized the need to delve into the consumer's mind and understand how the brain reacts to the stimuli of advertisements and products. So the neuromarketing came.

For this, the SST (Steady State Topography) is used, next-generation equipment that measures the electrical activity of the brain in real-time, allowing to examine whether, from an ad, the brain reacts with joy, contempt, repulsion, among other feelings.

With these results, "Buyology" shows that it is possible to understand what people really think about a particular product, usually when the questionnaire is applied, the answers may not reflect the actual thought of the product, but when we analyze the brain, the answers are accurate.

Martin Lindstrom, in his research process to thoroughly understand consumer behavior, set out on the challenge of studying the brains of 2000 people. Three years and seven million dollars later, he managed to group together a series of knowledge that he exposed in this book and that we will see from now on.

Overview: Understanding Our Brain

It has already become clear that the main character of "Buyology" is our brain, right? So now we're going to understand better about two of its members who are essential to our buying decision: mirror neurons and somatic markers.

Mirror Neurons

A classic example that summarizes the performance of mirror neurons is the act of yawning. You have probably experienced a situation where someone close to you yawns and consequently you yawn as well.

Lindstrom says we can take the example of the smile. A smile is contagious, to see someone smiling, most likely you will also smile.

All this is the work of mirror neurons. They replicate what we see other people doing. Whenever we watch an advertisement where someone drinks a cold soda or eats a tasty hamburger, our brain re-enacts that image as if we were performing the action.

Consequently, there is the release of dopamine, a chemical substance responsible for the sensation of pleasure, which makes us happier and more likely to buy that product.

We conclude that the mirror neurons directly influence our buying behavior without our control because just like a yawn and a smile can be contagious, buying can be as well.

Somatic Markers

Our experiences directly affect our buying behavior. And those responsible for this are the somatic markers.

Whenever we are about to make a buying decision, our brain revisits our immense amount of memories and experiences, to find times when similar decisions were needed and what answers were given. Thus, the brain tends to repeat these responses.

For example, if you burned your hand on the iron as a child, your brain immediately objects to the burn and pain, inhibiting you from repeating the action.

The same goes for consumption. Lindstrom says that in your brain there is the record of previous choices, brands you prefer, and other factors that allow subsequent purchases to be made on impulse.

The responsible for this are the shortcuts of our mind, these somatic markers, which facilitate access to this information and make the decision-making process much faster.

Overview: Subliminal Messages

In 1957 there was a study where the researcher inserted several times images that said "Drink Coke" and "Eat popcorn" during the film by milliseconds.

The results showed that sales of Coke and popcorn increased by 18% and 58%, respectively. Although this study has been later denied, it gives us an introduction to how our subconscious works.

When images are inserted into the film, our mind does not pick up the message consciously, and we continue to watch normally. But our brain absorbs and understands hidden content.

This is how subliminal messages work. They are very used to induce the customer to purchase and can be composed of sensory stimuli of sound, even the smile that the seller gives to the customer, affecting his interest in the product.

Some examples of subliminal messages "Buyology" shows can be noticed in logos, print ads, television advertisements, radio ads, among other media. But in all of them, the goal is the same: exposing consumers to stimuli that will affect the subconscious and induce buying.

Overview: The Myth of Sexual Content in Advertisements

When you watch TV, read a magazine or even see ads on the street, it is not difficult to find advertisements with sexual content, where models expose their bodies to attract viewers' attention and promote the brand (beer advertisements are a great example of this).

However, one of the findings of the neuromarketing experiments is that, as Martin Lindstrom says,

"Sex in advertising does not sell. Models in minimal attire and provocative poses do not convince us to buy anything."

In studies with volunteer groups, materials were displayed with and without sexual content, and when questioned, volunteers gave preference to non-sex material.

And in the case of advertisements, the volunteers remembered the brand at a considerably higher level when there was no sexual content conveyed to the product. This happens because people end up focusing more on that content than the product itself.

There are rare cases where sexually appealing advertisements generate positive results. When they generate, it is due to the controversy generated around this content, which ends up publicizing the product and the brand.

Overview: The similarity with Religions

"The persuasive methods of advertising agencies can be very similar to those of religion"

During the studies, Lindstrom realized that the brain stimulation for big brand advertising was very similar to the stimulus caused by religion.

Some of these brands use strategies very similar to religious strategies. That is, through advertising campaigns, they seek to win the loyalty of their "followers."

Among the main similarities we can mention:

  • Both brands and religions spread their missions to the public, with the intention of showing what their main objectives are and explaining what makes them different from others;
  • Both create a mentality of rivalry and competition with their respective brands and creeds competing. This strategy may be controversial, but it strengthens the loyalty of followers;
  • Symbology plays a key role in using logos and slogans and establishing an association between brand and product, as well as with religions, with saints, angels, and the symbol of the cross, for example.

Another point that refers directly to religions is the existence of rituals.

These rituals create a strong connection between the brand and its consumers. "Buyology" brings 2 examples: the Oreo cookie and the Corona beer.

The cookie went on to have a ritual where people could eat in two ways. The first one was eating the stuffing first and then the tips, and the second was dipping the cookie into a glass of milk.

The case of Mexican beer happened in 1981, where a waiter unpretentiously inserted a lemon into the bottleneck of the bottle and encouraged others to do the same. Thus was born a ritual that allowed the Crown to grow in its scope and even beat Heineken in the number of sales.

Rituals such as these can bring great results to companies as they instill the curiosity of consumers to follow these processes and thus can increase sales of the product.

Overview: Others Neuromarketing Learning

In addition to the learning we have had so far, there are other neuromarketing techniques that Martin Lindstrom presents that are worth quoting.

Fear as a Tool

Everyone has ever felt fear in their lives. And when we are afraid, we seek something that will bring us a sense of security and provide relief.

Lindstrom argues that one of the ways to overcome fear is by going shopping. That's why many companies use this feeling as an advertising tool. For example, Johnson & Johnson has a famous slogan for its line of children's shampoo: "Enough of tears".

The goal is to offer the customer a choice: he can buy Johnson & Johnson and let his son's eyes normally, or buy another brand and hurt the child's eyes. By creating this sense of fear, it creates a sense of prevention in the client and the stimulus to purchase.

What new does Neuromarketing bring from new?

Finally, "Buyology" comes to the conclusion that neuromarketing can be considered a revolution in marketing studies. With proper targeting and use, this new method can bring more complete and complex results for analysis.

As much as market research, questionnaires, and other tools are very important in marketing, while we say one thing, our brain can say another. Then, the neuromarketing comes to complement and present answers that would not normally be obtained with a simple questionnaire.

What do other authors say about it?

In his book "Blink", Malcolm Gladwell says that quick and intuitive decisions can be as reliable as highly analytical decisions. And it is precisely these quick and intuitive decisions that Martin Lindstrom analyzes with his study of neuromarketing.

In his book "Pre-Suasion", author Robert Cialdini addresses a crucial moment in decision-making: the first impression. This first impression is very important to define how our brain will recognize this product in future purchases, so making a good impression is essential to win not only customers but their brains as well.

Charles Duhigg in his bestseller "The Power of Habit", describes extensively how the understanding of habit can change drastically how we interpret buying decisions, from the association of routines with consumption habits to products with ideas and other habits.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

If you intend to apply the concepts of neuromarketing in your company, consider the following points:

  • Know your client: before knowing the brain, we need to understand the other variables. So, use neuromarketing to complement the studies;
  • Understand the stimuli: know what stimuli should be promoted to win over consumers;
  • Implement the learning: transform your marketing and advertising area, encompassing the learning in the promotion of the brand, for example, creating rituals for your product.
  • Continuous improvement: the brain does not have a fixed characteristic, so always seek to update your knowledge and bring new strategies for marketing.

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Book 'Buyology'