What we hear and what we smell are more powerful than what we see…Brand futurist Martin Lindstrom says as little as 50 years ago buying groceries was an experience that thoroughly stimulated all of the senses. Householders traipsed through the clatter and colour of vegetable markets and bought their meat in butcher shops that smelled of blood and sawdust.
“Now the shopping journey is not stimulating and the sensory experience is generic,” he says. “It’s like we totally forgot we are human beings and sales are going down because shoppers are incredibly bored.”
Lindstrom should know. The Danish-born marketing guru has spent three years and $7 million of advertisers’ money trying to understand why we buy what we buy. His latest book, Buyology, is a compelling account of a landmark study that used neuroscience to scan the brain for the “buy button”.
But what shocked Lindstrom most was that what we hear and what we smell are more powerful than what we see. That’s bad news for the 83 per cent of advertisers who create campaigns around visual appeal but good news for companies wanting to understand why 60 per cent of shoppers make decisions in less than four seconds.
“Using ordinary research techniques we learned that the most important sense was sight, then smell then sound,” Lindstrom says. “Now when we scanned the brain we found the most important is sound followed by smell and then sight.”
But what’s interesting is that our emotional brain overrides our rational brain when triggered by sound and smell.
Credits: Erin O’Dwyer – Marketers tap into our biology to boost sales – The Age (March 26/09)