Brand & Brain


Our experience with a brand is our judge when choosing the products we buy. This was proven In 2004 when a softdrink preference test happened between Coke and Pepsi. The test was initiated by Dr. Montague, a Neuroscientist who wanted to understand how consumers choose.

The test goes this way: First, he will let people drink a cola without revealing its brand, this means people will chose based on taste. Then on the second part, people knew the brand they were drinking to know how brand affects taste.

The result of the first test (taste only) showed brain’s preference between were almost equally split. It was the second test that was revealed a lot. Dr. Montague’s test showed that:

“In the case of Coke®, with brand knowledge, decisions recruited another area of the brain, the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. These are mid-brain areas  associated with emotion-based (cultural) learning. When these areas were engaged, previous preferences of taste were out-influenced and overturned.

Significantly, more people chose Coke® (approximately two times more) than Pepsi®. Unfortunately, with brand knowledge of Pepsi®, there was non-engagement of the mid brain area…no emotional influence. Preferences of the group remained based on taste only. (

As evident in the study, people judged with the brand. This is why it is important to make sure consumers get only the best from your product.

To understand how experiences are formed in the brain, watch this video.

Here are some tips on how to build good brand experience:

1. Product features should equal Benefits.

When we sell, we tell our customers what our product features are and what it can do for them. It is important that the product “walk the talk”. Of course, a product that solves the problem of the customers, automatically create positive emotions in the mind of the customers.

2. Make your products/services friendly.

Nokia used to dominate the cellphone market because of its user friendly features. Menu is easy to navigate and even its shape makes the phone easy to hold. Understanding how a product is used by the customers is key in creating user-friendly products and services. One exapmle is a theme park in the US. Knowing that people hate lining up for hours, they incorporated an interactive video game to make people forget about the pain of waiting.

3. Know your customers.

Customers are the source of your business therefore you have to know their needs and wants. The way to do this is through survey or data mining (analysing your current custome base). From their, you will know what they want (what they do not like or what is lacking) and be able to create a plan to provide better value.

4. Be consistent in delivering quality.

Quality, from the perspective of the manufacturer, means the product is free from defect. But more than that, quality must also be consistent in all the batches. Toyota is known to have the best quality and this can be seen in the very few recalls they have in their cars. To provide quality, you have to be consicious about your target market’s definition of quality. Point is, know what they want in your product, how they want to buy it, and how they want it priced.

5. Make brand experience part of culture.

It begins within the company. The role of the entrepreneur is to start good experience within the company. This is evident in how Tony Hsieh is managing He incorporated play and good benefits in his company, that is why the employees have passed on good service to its customers, thus creating a good brand experience.

What you do to your product defines your brand, so from advertisement to customer experience you have to be consistent in giving the quality customers expect. This is not only for big companies, even small companies need to do this if they want to make it big in the minds of their consumers.

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