Brand on the Brain: Getting Into the Mind of the Retail Consumer
We live in an age where anything can and does get replicated quickly. If a product, service or idea is successful for one company, several will follow suit – tweaking, enhancing, fine-tuning, improving, and building the next one better than the original.
With all of this “one-upping,” it’s extremely difficult to maintain relevance in a mass-produced and commodity-based world where consumers will abandon ship and go to the next new thing. However, without engaging in the inevitable price wars, how are retailers suppose to attract and keep loyal customers?
Successful retailers know it all has to do with a strong brand image. But what they may not realize is that the emotional connection customers feel toward their brand goes beyond just “liking” it on Facebook, “pinning” its products on Pinterest, or “tweeting” its special deals on Twitter. There is actually a physical change that occurs in the mind of consumers who have given their loyalty to a brand or a store.
In The New Rules of Retail, Robin Lewis and Michael Dart define this effect as neurological connectivity or “neuroconnectivity.” The perceived brand offers such a compelling experience that it goes beyond just an emotional connection and actually creates an addictive response in the consumer’s mind. Just by the thought of experiencing – or even missing out on experiencing – the brand will release dopamine in the brain.
We have all witnessed these addictive behaviors toward certain brands. Because it takes place on the subconscious level, consumers may not even be aware that it’s occurring. They just know that their shopping experience at a particular retailer brings great pleasure each time, and the interaction they have with their purchases afterward just reinforces this neurological connection. This psychological and physical effect reinforces a continual pattern of shopping behavior and the value placed on it.
However, this experience isn’t one-sided. It’s a shared experience between the consumer and retailer, one that is co-created by both and can be different each time it’s experienced. As The New Rules of Retail puts it, “a brand or store has a neurological connection with customers if they approach the store visit as they would a visit to the home of a good friend. The trip requires almost no perceivable effort because they know it is going to be a fun and enjoyable experience.” (77)
Attaining this level of psychological and physical effect with consumers can be considered the holy grail of branding because it’s the “most powerful preemptive weapon” against competitors. When customers have reached a strong emotional relationship with a brand, they will not only go to great lengths to remain loyal to that brand, but they will also work to convert others to do the same. No monetary value can be placed on that kind of customer as retailers won’t have to worry about losing them to the next new thing.
As retailers strive to establish an emotionally compelling brand experience, ShopperTrak can help them make critical decisions through our people counting technology and in-store analytics. From the areas where shoppers spend their time within the store to their interactions with displays or employees, ShopperTrak’s unique in-store analytics provides them with the tools needed to manage the in-store experience.