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How to improve customer studies with behavioural sciences?

customer studies packaging neurosciences

Customer studies… Let’s face it: customers do not say what they do, and do not do what they say. So how can we really understand how customers perceive and evaluate your products and their packaging?

 

 

 

 

In his recent book Experimentation works, Stefan Thomke, a professor at Harvard Business School, quotes a manager from Booking (booking.com) speaking about customers’ behaviour:customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

“We see evidence every day that people are terrible at guessing. Our predictions of how customers behave are wrong nine out of ten times.”

 

 

TRADITIONAL VS NEUROSCIENCE-BASED CUSTOMER STUDIES

 

Traditional customer studies are beneficial to understand people’s preferences and habits. They are a strategic phase of the development of products and packaging. Once strategic decisions have been made, how can we be sure that creations and messages are perceived as expected by customers?

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

Are the colours and texture of a new mobile phone congruent with the claim that it is the lightest phone on the market? Is a Union Jack sufficient for a product to be perceived as made in the UK? Does the font type reflect a product of quality and authenticity? Should the teaspoon on the cereal packet be placed on the bowl’s left or right? Shall the advertisement’s background be the same colour as the displayed product? Should the triangular shape of the pasta packet’s transparent window be pointing downwards or upwards?

 

 

 

Customer studies based on psychology enable us to objectively assess people's perceptions and judgments Click To Tweet

 

 

Such questions about the impact and efficacy of products and packaging can hardly be answered with traditional customer studies. Conversely, all of them have been answered thanks to behavioural science. Customer studies based on psychology enable us to objectively assess people’s perceptions and judgments. They are also useful to understand your clients’ unconscious judgments; the very judgments that they cannot express because customers’ answers are usually biased and influenced by many factors! Eventually, you will obtain accurate information about the psychological impact of your product and its packaging on consumers (e.g. font, colours, claims, weight, size, texture, etc.).

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

EXAMPLES OF CUSTOMER STUDIES

 

For these products, the darker version was judged by consumers as heavier and more durable than the lighter version, but also less user-friendly.

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

In this example, biscuit and fruit juice manufacturers wondered whether person-like drawings could improve purchase intentions. Customer studies have shown that the impact of person-like drawings depends on the type of product sold. It improves purchase intentions for “hedonic” and calorific products (biscuits = vice product). However, it decreases purchase intentions for healthy products (fruit juice = virtue product).

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

“Vice product” corresponds to biscuits, and “Virtue product” corresponds to fruit juice

 

 

See these packaging infographics about Campbell’s soup. Each improvement has been tested and validated through studies about customers’ perceptions and judgments. Traditional customer studies could not have found that the logo placed on top attracted too much attention. Or that the spoon triggered a minimal emotional reaction.

 

 

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

The benefit of using neurosciences and psychology for customer studies is thus manifold:

 

 

AVOID INFLUENCING CUSTOMERS’ ANSWERS

 

It is easy to influence people’s answers to a survey. One just has to ask questions in a way that encourages a particular answer.

 

 

Often, the survey designer is not aware of that influence. As a consequence, collected data turn out to be useless and of poor quality. But these data will still be used to make strategic decisions. For instance, Steve Jobs, the iconic but this time misled Apple CEO, said in 2003:

Steve Jobs

 

“People have told us over and over and over again, they don’t want to rent their music… they don’t want subscriptions.”

 

 

Conversely, customer studies based on social psychology principles enable us to assess people’s perceptions and judgments objectively, including unconscious representations and judgments that customers do not verbally express.

 

 

DETERMINING CUSTOMERS’ PERCEPTIONS & JUDGMENTS BEYOND VERBAL STATEMENTS

 

If you think that customer studies are only about assessing your target’s preference for a given product or packaging, then neurosciences won’t help you. Ordinary surveys are sufficient to understand such preferences. Conversely, behavioural sciences allow for more innovative customer studies to be conducted. Collected data about the impact of a product or a packaging are virtually limitless!

 

 

Every detail of a product or its packaging can have a tremendous impact on consumer perception Click To Tweet

 

 

Customer studies based on neuroscience help to confirm whether new products and packaging trigger the expected perception. They enable us to understand customers’ unconscious judgments. Genuine judgments that your customers cannot properly express. Every detail of a product or its packaging can have a tremendous impact on consumer perception. This is why behavioural sciences have become essential for customer studies.

customer studies packaging neurosciences

 

 

In this example, the labels of Champagne bottles vary in complexity. Do you wish to communicate a ‘feminine’ feeling? The label on the right should rather be used. Do you wish to communicate a sensation of ‘modernity’ and ‘authenticity’? The label on the left is more likely to generate them. Would these conclusions have been reached following traditional customer studies and creators’ mere intuitions? No.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IN SUMMARY

 

Behavioural sciences enable us to access significantly more data that traditional customer studies. Perceptions, representations, judgments, intentions… Neurosciences, along with social psychology, possess technical tools to accurately assess the objective impact of a new product or its packaging on consumers. And these tools go beyond simple statements that often turn out to be biased and subjective. Your customers show unconscious judgments and representations that traditional customer studies cannot identify. Because each and every conception detail can have an unexpected but substantial influence on consumers’ perceptions and intentions, neurosciences provide more reliable and more objective methods than intuition or chance.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Morgan David

Dr Morgan DAVID   

A former academic and behavioural sciences expert, Dr Morgan David is the founder and director of ANALYTICA, a consultancy agency based in the UK and in France. ANALYTICA uses the way our brain works to design better products and better services in the realm of neuromarketing, webmarketing, customer experience, sales strategy and pricing tactics. ANALYTICA created CogniSales, a neuromarketing sales service, CogniMenu, the first new-generation menu engineering service, and Predicta Sports, a science-based talent identification tool for predictive recruitment in sports.

 

 

 

Morgan DAVID psychologie marketing

Interview about neuromarketing with Morgan David

neuromarketing-Morgan-DAVID

 

I have recently been interviewed about neuromarketing by Salomé Ficarelli, a student of the master in Communication & Marketing of ISCOM in Lyon, France. Definition, techniques, examples, strengths, limits… everything you have ever wanted to know about neuromarketing without asking…! I leave you to discover the transcription of this interview and thank Salomé for soliciting me.

 

 

 

 

Salomé Ficarelli: Morgan David, who are you?

 

Morgan David: I am a behavioural sciences expert, with a PhD from the University of Burgundy (France) and the University of Quebec in Montreal (Canada). I have worked as an academic in several universities in France, Canada, the UK and Belgium. My research dealt with the factors influencing people’s behaviours and decisions in various contexts. I am the fonder and director of Analytica, a behavioural sciences-grounded consultancy company based in the UK and in France. I help my clients develop their services and products by taking into account how their customers’ brains work, how they make decisions and how they behave. My services rely on neuromarketing techniques, nudges, social psychology and other disciplines related to behavioural sciences.

 

 

“Taking customers’ psychology into account is an essential added value for companies to improve their margins and their benefits”

 

 

SF: Could you please, in a few sentences, tell us what neuromarketing is?

 

Morgan David: Not all professionals would give the same definition, depending on their expertise. As far as I am concerned, I consider neuromarketing as a technique used to promote a product or a service’s sales by taking advantage of scientific knowledge about how customers’ brains collect information, process it and take decisions. Neuromarketing sometimes uses advanced technology, like MRI or eye-tracking, mainly for marketing purposes and because clients fantasize quite a bit about those kinds of technique… But I would like to make two statements: 1) these techniques are rather descriptive and their efficiency quite limited. Is it sufficient to know where a customer places their attention to make a sale? The answer is no; and, 2) a vast array of knowledge from consumer psychology, cognitive and social psychology provides efficient techniques to profile customers, anticipate their decisions and their behaviour, so as to develop services and products that match their preferences and expectations. I personally tend to use these latter types of knowledge and techniques because they are based on evidence despite being neglected.

 

 

neuromarketing-morgan-david-faces

Click on the image to read our article ‘What is neuromarketing?’

SF: On which tools and technology does neuromarketing rely on?

 

Morgan DAVID: Neuromarketing relies on the direct recording of brain activity (like MRIs), on physiological measures (such as skin conductance or eye tracking), or on techniques based on consumer and cognitive psychology. In this latter case, we adjust the environment and the context in which customers make choices and take decisions to promote specific products or services. Therefore, information about how the brain collects and processes information, and how it takes decisions, is essential to create an efficient sales strategy. Without it, we are just fishing for solutions following uncertain customer stereotypes. This is why it is important, in my opinion, to rely on knowledge and techniques that have been scientifically proven. As far as I am concerned, I only use techniques whose efficiency has been assessed in peer-reviewed articles published in international scientific journals.

 

 

SF: What are the benefits and limits of neuromarketing?

 

Morgan David: The added value of neuromarketing is high for companies. Take the example of these big American chains, like McDonalds or Starbucks. Whatever we think of them, these ventures have succeded because they have for a long time tried to understand how to attract customers, sell them products and encourage brand loyalty. And they did not do it by flipping a coin. They have asked behavioural experts to carefully think about these issues. Adopting a customer-centric approach by taking customers’ psychology into account is an essential added value for companies to improve their margins, their benefits, customers’ loyalty and to expand their market. Neuromarketing allows them to more accurately target a relevant sales’ strategy, from its conception to its development. I argue in favour of a trial and error framework to determine what works and what does not. Also, knowing how customers think and behave enables to be one jump ahead within this process.

            Talking about limits now, a large portion of customers’ behaviour still remains unknown. It is sometimes hard to identify which of several techniques is likely to be the most efficient. Customers are not robots. It is unrealistic, and ethically questionable, to think that people’s decisions and behaviour can be predicted with perfect accuracy. That is simply impossible! Neuromarketers are more successful than the average marketer because they work with large samples of people. Statistically speaking then, the techniques that we use, when grounded in experimental evidence, are likely to be more efficient than others, which then translates into concrete benefits for companies. Neuromarketers are not magicians! They use scientific techniques; that is, the objectively most efficient techniques currently available, to reach precise goals. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

 

“Neuromarketing allows companies to more accurately target a relevant sales’ strategy, from its conception to its development”

 

 

SF: Could you please provide concrete examples of neuromarketing applications?

 

Morgan David: As far as I am concerned, I can tell you about some examples related to webmarketing. I work on company websites, and more precisely on their composition, their organisation, the formulation of their offers and on the general website environment (what we usually call ‘atmospherics’) to improve conversion rates. It is highly efficient. The reason is that websites are almost never optimised from a customer-experience point of view. When we know how people’s brains work, it is rather easy to anticipate customer reactions, behaviours and decisions within the “confined” website environment. The way information is laid out and organised is key. I also am experienced in contributing to the development of physical shops. In this case I work on customer experience: people’s buying journey inside the shop, pricing optimisation, lights, music, the layout of products and the whole shopping environment. In consumer psychology, these parameters are known for impacting customers’ satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. I have also created a new-generation menu engineering service called ‘CogniMenu’, which aims to increase restaurants’ benefits by improving their menus and display boards.

 

 

SF: To end with, should we fear neuromarketing?

 

Morgan David: As I said earlier, the media and the general public fantasize quite a lot about neuromarketing. All that neuromarketing can do is to increase a product’s sales by a few percent. This is done by modifying some of its features according to customers’ preferences and expectations. Neuromarketing helps to increase margins, benefits and market shares. That’s all! It translates into lots of benefit for companies that wish to boost sales, but remains virtually impactless for customers. When neuromarketing increases customers’ average spending, it is by a few percent too. Customers cannot be manipulated as one pleases. I am often asked about manpulation: is neuromarketing manipulation? That is a very good question. I have seen TV documentaries in which companies were trying to hide somehow their use of neuromarketing techniques… From a social psychology point of view, any interaction can be manipulative. Manipulation consists of influencing others’ decisions to make them adopt behaviours they would not have adopted otherwise. This interview is a good example. In a sense, you have manipulated me to convince me to answer your questions. Asking your kids to set the table? That is manipulation. Inviting your friends for dinner? That is manipulation. And here comes the link with selling. Selling is manipulation by definition. This is because salespeople try to convince clients to buy their products by emphasizing the benefits of those products. Have you ever found a shop that does not promote its products? It would not last very long on the market. Advertisement is manipulation because it tries to convince customers to purchase a product or to buy a service. In conclusion, manipulation is not a bad thing in itself, as long as it does not harm the person who is being manipulated. If you rip customers off, that is both illegal and morally condemnable. That said, malpractices and dishonest salespeople have always existed, long before neuromarketing showed up. Any attempts to persuade, like advertisement and marketing have always done, can be considered as manipulation. Using knowledge about customers’ behaviour to persuade them better is not, in my opinion, any more morally reprehensible.

 

 

logo CogniMenu menu engineering

CogniMenu: an innovative service to boost UK restaurants’ sales

Restaurants commonly have two options to increase their benefits: to reduce their costs or to increase the amount of the average order. Building on the latter option, CogniMenu genuinely boosts restaurants’ sales with an innovative, yet simple and efficient solution that uses neuromarketing techniques.

 

 

Proposing good products does not automatically translate into effective sales. This is true in the catering and hospitality sectors as well as in many others. As passionate as the chef can be, and as delighted as clients might feel, managing sales effectively is of utmost importance to a restaurant owner. This requires anticipating and responding appropriately to customers’ expectations and behaviour which is an aspect of the selling process that is all too often missed by restaurant managers. Not much of a surprise, given that restaurant owners cannot simultaneously be chefs, managers, salespeople and marketers…

 

cognimenu

Based on these statements, CogniMenu has been created to help restaurant managers access a hitherto unexplored source of profit: their menu!

 

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

 

From our experience virtually no menus are optimised in a way to make the best of what restaurants offer. Generating benefits through sorting out these lost sales opportunities is what CogniMenu provides.

 

CogniMenu uses the latest techniques from neuromarketing to anticipate customers’ psychology and behaviour, thus improving their experience as well as increasing restaurants’ profits.

 

CogniMenu brochure first pageThe good news is that these techniques are easily applicable and very efficient: we reinvent the structure, organisation and presentation of menus, the labelling of meals, and optimise prices. For example, carefully laying out meals under several sub-categories can improve orders and sales up to 25%. Also, improved meal labelling can increase sales by 27%!

 

 

 

CogniMenu’s process of sales’ improvement goes through the following three steps:

1) We identify priorities, objectives and opportunities to be explored with the restaurant manager

2) We provide a new optimised version of the restaurant’s menu.

3) You enjoy a rise in both your clients’ average order and your average margins.CogniMenu menu engineering

 

In addition, personal support in the application of an individualised and powerful sales marketing strategy can be offered.

 

See how CogniMenu has been efficient with our latest client:

 

Optimising menus to boost sales is easily applicable and a common technique in some countries, like the US. In the UK though, there is not any innovative service like CogniMenu!

 

To find out more about CogniMenu:

Web page: www.cabinet-analytica.fr/en/cognimenu_uk/

Email address: morgan.david@cabinet-analytica.fr

Twitter: @CogniMenu_UK

Phone: +33 651 402 001