Neuroplasticity, Happiness, and Neuromarketing – What’s the Link?
Two decades ago, neuroscientists believed that the adult brain was fully formed and impervious to change. Now, they understand that the adult brain is, in fact, very capable of change. The emerging scientific field of neuroplasticity focuses on studying the brain’s adaptable nature, and the ways in which it can rewire itself to form new neurons and neural connections.
The science of neuroplasticity is making inroads into our understanding of how people can, for example, recover from catastrophic brain injuries, or simply become happier and more productive.
Companies can also use neuroplasticity to improve customers’ perceptions of their brands and, as a result, increase sales. Enter the field of neuromarketing, which helps companies boost sales of key brands by investigating what it is consumers like about those products, or determining which products bring consumers true pleasure. On the sales floor, associates can use neuroplasticity to reach out to customers in a more meaningful way.
You Can Make Yourself — And Your Customers — Happier
Much of the research surrounding neuroplasticity involves re-wiring the brain to make people happier and more productive. People have always searched for the keys to lasting happiness, and now neuroscientists think they’ve found them. While genetics and personal circumstances do have an effect on your happiness levels, your attitude and daily habits are more powerful than you may realize. According to Shawn Achor, founder of the positive psychology consulting firm GoodThink, you can re-shape your brain to improve your happiness and positivity using brief, simple, daily exercises. These exercises include:
/ Listing three things you’re grateful for
/ Exercising for 10 minutes
/ Meditating for a few minutes
/ Reaching out to someone in a positive way, like writing a brief, supportive text or email
/ Writing a brief account of the day’s most meaningful event or experience
In an office environment, employees can increase productivity simply by being more social with one another. Employees, who organize activities for the whole office, help co-workers who are struggling, and those who invite co-workers to happy hour drinks or lunch are more productive than those who keep to themselves. Companies can extend this theory to the sales floor, too, to improve consumer interactions. When sales personnel work to relate to customers on a personal level and connect with them emotionally, customers are more likely to feel good about making a purchase. They’re also more likely to walk away with positive memories of their interaction and good things to say about the company in general.
Use Neuromarketing to Boost Sales
When you go to school online to study psychology, you’ll learn about much more than how you can use neuroplasticity to make yourself a happier, more optimistic person. You may become interested in the field of neuromarketing, which investigates the ways companies can influence consumers to prefer their brands by stimulating the pleasure center of the brain. People make decisions based largely on what makes them feel good, and that includes purchasing decisions.
Neuromarketing research gives companies a look at the secret motivations for why consumers buy the products they buy. For example, research sponsored by Frito Lay in 2008 discovered that people really like the coating of orange dust Cheetos cheese puffs leave behind on their fingers. Consumers get a subconscious kick from what they perceive as the product’s subversive messiness. Frito Lay used this information to craft an ad campaign that played into this source of enjoyment of the product by depicting the brand’s mascot, Chester Cheetah, encouraging consumers to incorporate their Cheetos into small acts of rebellion. One such advertisement won Frito-Lay the Advertising Research Foundation’s Grand Ogilvy Award in 2009.
Further research into neuromarketing has determined that songs that stimulate the pleasure center of the brain are more likely to become big commercial hits. It’s important to note that there was no link between listeners’ self-reported enjoyment of the songs and the songs’ later success. Researchers could only predict songs’ future success by hooking study participants up to an fMRI to examine activity in the pleasure center of the brain.
Over the past 20 years, advances in the field of neuroplasticity have allowed scientists to come to a new understanding of the adaptable nature of the human brain. Individuals can use these findings to improve their own lives, but corporations can use them too – to improve consumer relations and sell more products by getting to the root of what it is people love about their products.