Top brands activate our brain's pleasure centres
Our brain anticipates possible pain and gain with every purchase decision we make.
The nucleus accumbens is the pleasure centre in our brain. It activates when we experience pleasure. Through the activation of the nucleus accumbens, we experience a strong sense of gain and thus excitement.
The anterior insula is the pain centre in our brain. It gets activated when we experience physical pain, but also during mental pain. An example of mental pain would be expending money for a product because you're losing resources.
However, when you don't buy a product, you also lose something - the potential reward from using the product. People are balancing potential pain and gain when deciding to buy a product.
Therefore, stronger brands can charge more because they bring higher gains. The pleasure centre is strongly activated from the potential reward of using the product, an activation much stronger than one in the pain centre. Consequently, the brand is linked to feelings of pleasure.
This concept applies to Porsche drivers as well.
Neurensics studied Porsche drivers in the MRI scanner while they saw images of Porsche vehicles. (Watch the video above depicting the study.) Simply looking at Porsche vehicles was sufficient to activate the pleasure centres in the brain.
This strong activation in the brain's pleasure centres increases Porsche drivers willingness to pay high prices for a Porsche.
Ensure your brand activates more gain than pain
When your brand strongly activates the brain's pleasure centres, consumers are willing to pay more for your product or service. Therefore, it's important to investigate:
- Which of your brand associations activate the pleasure centres.
What makes your brand activate the reward system?
- Which associations can you still add to your brand.
Using the right branding and marketing can help you communicate the right associations and activate desirable emotions.
The feeling of reward increases consumers' willingness to pay more for your product. The higher product price is accepted in return for the potential rewards.
The next learning will show you why stronger brands make us more impulsive and how this influences purchase behaviour.