How Smint achieves continuous brand growth

Smint's revenue and brand value has been growing for five years in a row. How is this possible?

Smint uses their ads to focus on brand associations which are relevant for their existing customers and for attracting new ones. These associations activate certain measurable brain regions. Together with Smint, we have developed Smint's very own Neuro Brand Signature: a signature of their brand in the consumer's brain. Read more about this case and grow your brand too.

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"NeuroBranding and brand association research have been essential to Smint's strong growth in these recent years." Dave Brosens, Brand Manager Smint & Frisk

Smint knows the right associations for increasing growth

SMINT NeuroBranding - Hoe maak je van een non-user een user?

Research question Smint

Smint knows fully well that there's still a large market share in the 'refreshers' market. Thus, Smint wanted to know suitable brand associations for converting a non-customer into a Smint customer to grow the group of Smint consumers

How it's researched

When you ask people about a brand's associations, you'll get mix of a conscious and rationalized answers. However, our research have shown that a network of associations unconsciously activates, even before they consciously think about a brand.

These unconscious associations determine consumer behaviour. Therefore, it's crucial to find the relevant associations for converting a non-customer into a customer within the unconscious brain processes.

We could measure this directly from the brain using an online association test paired with fMRI.

The results

Prior to the MRI scan, we discover the conscious associations activated by Smint and its competitors. This gave us a good overview of the associations within the "refreshers" market in which Smint operates in.

Clusteranalyse NeuroBranding Merkassociaties

Cluster analysis of associations

Using a cluster analysis, we looked at associations which fit together and the distinctiveness of associations for Smint. Next, we made a short-list of these associations.

Via an online association test, weexamined the extent to which these associations are subconsciously linked to Smint and how can they contribute to the acquisition of new customers. 

Online association study

The online association test assesses the strength of these unconscious associations. Test participants have to indicate associations fitting with Smint and Smint's competitor under time pressure. The time pressure is important because it prevents respondents from consciously thinking about the answer.

The test revealed that the associations contributing most to the acquisition of new customers are -  'fresh feeling' and 'gives confidence'. 


Now that Smint knows which associations to focus on in their communication, Smint also wanted to know if their ads activated these associations. We measured this at the place where associations are made: in the consumer's brain. 

At Neurensics, we have developed a method to capture the neural patterns of associations with fMRI: the Neuro Brand Signature.

Neuro Brand Signature Smint Neuromarketing-onderzoek

Neuro Brand Signature for Smint: Smint's signature in the brain for the association 'freshness'

How do we discover a Neuro Brand Signature? With actors. Actors have brilliant abilities to imagine smells, situations and feelings strongly, evoking these measurable neural patterns.

We asked actors to imagine the associations 'fresh feeling' and 'gives self-confidence' while lying in the MRI scanner. Next, we tested whether the same neural patterns were activated when test participants watch Smint ads.

We observed whether an ad activates relevant brand associations and also indirectly captured the long-term effects of the ad. 

Advice to Smint

To turn non-customers into customers, Smint has to focus on activating four important associations, including 'fresh feeling' and 'gives confidence'. The Neuro Brand Signature can be used to test new marketing communications to test whether the right brand associations are activated.

Advantages for Smint from NeuroBranding

  • Smint now knows which unconscious associations are distinctive for the brand.
  • Smint now knows the right brand associations to focus on to increase their customer base.
  • With Neuro Brand Signature, all future marketing communication can be tested with fMRI to assess whether the communication will have long term effects: increasing customer base.

We work together with

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