"NeuroBranding and brand association research have been essential to Smint's strong growth during these recent years." Dave Brosens, Brand Manager Smint & Frisk
Smint knows which associations to activate to increase growth
Research question Smint
Smint knows all too well that there's still a lot to be gained in the 'refreshers' market. In order to respond to it, Smint wanted to know which brand associations help to turn a non-existing customer into an existing customer to expand the group of Smint users.
How it's researched
When you ask someone which associations a certain brand activates, you'll get a conscious and considered answer. However, even before someone consciously thinks about a brand, the network of associations has already been unconsciously activated.
These unconscious associations determine consumer behaviour. It's therefore that we find the answer to what the most important associations are for turning a non-existing customer into an existing customer in the unconscious part of the brain.
We measure this directly in the brain by using an online association study and fMRI.
Prior to the brain study, we measured which conscious associations Smint and its competitors activate. This gave us a good overview of the associations that fit the market in which Smint operates.
Using a cluster analysis, we looked at which associations fit together and to what extent the associations are distinctive for Smint. We made a short-list of these associations.
Via an online association survey, we then examined the extent to which these associations are subconsciously linked to Smint and how they contribute to the acquisition of new customers.
Online association study
The online association study measures unconscious associations. Under time pressure, respondents had to indicate which associations fit Smint best and which ones fit better to its competitors.
The time pressure is important here, because it prevents respondents from thinking about the answer in detail. The study revealed the associations that contribute the most to the acquisition of new customers, such as 'fresh feeling' and 'gives confidence'.
Now that Smint knew the associations to focus on in their communication, Smint also wanted to know if it their ads actually activated these associations. We measured this at the very place where it happens: in the consumer's brain.
At Neurensics we have developed a method to measure the neural patterns of associations with fMRI: the Neuro Brand Signature.
Neuro Brand Signature: Smint's signature in the brain for the association 'freshness'
How to discover the Neuro Brand Signature? With actors. Actors have the brilliant ability to imagine smells, situations and feelings so strongly, that these neural patterns can be measured with fMRI.
We had actors imagine the associations 'fresh feeling' and 'gives self-confidence' while lying in the fMRI scan. We then tested whether these patterns were activated when people watch Smint ads.
We measure directly whether an ad activates the important brand associations and with this the long-term effects of the ad.
Advice to Smint
To turn unknown customers into existing customers, Smint has to focus on activating four important associations, including 'fresh feeling' and 'gives confidence'. The Neuro Brand Signature can be used in new marketing communications to measure whether the right associations are activated in order to activate the group of non-users.
Advantages for Smint of NeuroBranding
- Smint knows which unconscious associations are distinctive for the brand.
- Smint knows exactly on which brand associations to focus to increase their customer base.
- With the Neuro Brand Signature all marketing communication can be tested with fMRI to predict whether the communication will contribute to the long term effects: increasing their customer base.
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Senior Client Executive
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Andries van der Leij
Head of Research & Development
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