CAIRO: “Consumer behavior is constantly and rapidly changing in today’s world, Hany Mwafy, managing director of Nielsen North Africa, said Monday at a conference.
“This requires new and innovative marketing methods in order to keep up with these rapid changes in consumer behavioral patterns and this is what we are presenting to the local market, he added.
The Nielsen Company hosted a conference in Cairo designed to bring together top people in marketing and public relations to discuss product branding and consumer behavior.
The conference was called “The Next Big Thing, and the keynote speaker was Martin Lindstrom, marketing executive and author of “Buyology, a book that tackles what makes consumers tick.
Lindstrom commanded the stage for the bulk of the day, speaking for more than an hour at each of the four sessions.
He spent much of his time on stage discussing his area of research, neuro-marketing, a field that combines the hard and social sciences and uses brain scanning technologies to discover what drives consumers to buy.
As part of his research, Lindstrom discovered that a marketing effort must touch all the senses to build a successful brand.
When one audience member told Lindstrom that she worked in marketing for a chocolate company, Lindstrom suggested she find a way to make the chocolate section of a grocery store to smell like chocolate. He also said she ought to put the company’s theme song on CD and pay grocery stores to play it everyday.
In branding, he said, companies should look to businesses outside their industry for inspiration.
“Lots of brands look at other brands in the same category, Lindstrom said, noting that this is a problem.
If a computer and technology company, in other words, tries to model itself after Apple, it will come up short. Instead, companies in other industries, like, for example, food products, should think what their company would look like if modeled after Apple.
Lindstrom said that a cornerstone of his marketing efforts was a study he conducted years ago to determine which parts of the brain are stimulated while shopping.
The study also included scanning the brains of religiously inclined people to determine what portion of the brain reacts to religious stimulation.
Lindstrom determined that there was a 41 percent correlation between how the brain reacts to holistic brands and how it reacts to religion. For some, you might conclude, shopping is a religious experience.
Lindstrom said that the correlation was much weaker, though, between religion and weaker brands that evoke less emotion, like Microsoft and British Petroleum.
In his presentation, Lindstrom also presented his marketing scale, which denotes the success of a branding effort.
The most basic end is labeled “Attribute, in which consumers know a product by its function, like, say, a piece of television equipment.
Up the scale is “Benefit, in which consumers know what they get out of a product. Using the television example, the benefit might be having luxury entertainment, Lindstrom said.
At the most sophisticated end is “Added Value, in which the product transcends its functionality. In the case of a beautiful television, Lindstrom noted, this might be owning one that looks like art.
Lindstrom’s back and forth with the hundreds of marketing executives in the room resulted in an engaging discussion about the importance of branding. Lindstrom’s many examples of successful and unsuccessful branding campaigns left members of the audience visibly working through their own issues.
Marketing may sound like an art, but Martin Lindstrom has parked his take on the industry firmly in the camp of hard science.