11 January 2006

Are we wired for brand choice?

According to a new study by California Institute of Technology, reported by New Scientist our liking for a particular brand name could be wired into a specific part of our brains.

Using new neuroimaging techniques Caltech identified two regions of the brain – the ventral striatum and the ventral midbrain – as having an important role in identifying our preferences for particular products based on our access to previous learning.

“The key message of our study is that we are able to make use of neural signals deep in our brain to guide our decisions about what items to choose, say when choosing between particular soups in a supermarket, without actually sampling the foods themselves,” study leader John Doherty told New Scientist.

“This is because we can make use of our prior experiences of the items through which we fashioned subjective preferences – do I like it or not?”

“The next time we come to make a decision we use those preferences.”

DIFFUSION believes the study has important repercussions for our understanding of how our first experiences and exposure to products and services can be deeply ingrained into our behaviours and therefore our responses and choices.

More importantly, it means companies and businesses need to address consistently, the total brand experience of customers and clients. It signals a warning that later attempts to alter or modify brand experiences through the use of public relations and advertising, may have no effect whatsover on these first impressions and experiences.

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