Firms need to understand the neuroscience behind customers, psychologist says

Shaw believes businesses are in reality in 2015 still just applying a cursory nod to the impact of neuroscience on retaining and attracting new customers

While neuroscience may be the new industry buzz word, businesses are still failing to obtain a true insight into what their customers think and feel and what their decision-making processes are, according to neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw.

Shaw believes businesses are in reality in 2015 still just applying a cursory nod to the impact of neuroscience on retaining and attracting new customers.  

“Most businesses have a good business and marketing strategy in place, they know who their target audience is and are able to sell to them accordingly,” she said. “The truth is though that many businesses fear change, partly and understandably because of the last few years of economic insecurity. However, the knock on effect is many businesses have lost their mojo, are stuck in a holding pattern and are failing to really understand who their customer is today which is not helping our growth recovery. We must understand the neuroscience behind the decisions of our customers.”

According to Shaw, brand association and brand loyalty are increasingly being explained by consumer neuroscience. To understand emotional response to brands is key to effective marketing. The selection and experience determines customer satisfaction and loyalty to the brand. This includes emotional processing and a great deal of cognitive processing such as memory, decision-making and attention. This means that the prefrontal cortex and limbic system are busy evaluating and determining consumer choice.   

She also says that understanding customers is vital but similarly it is very important to truly understand our team/employees.

“There is a lack of dynamic business leaders who inspire and drive their workforce to be their very best. Good managers need to ensure that people are happily engaged at work and that the company is harnessing their employees’ individual personalities, goals, needs and abilities to build a successful and intuitive working environment.

“When business leaders are employee-focused and communicate with them properly, the employee will feel valued and valid. This will empower them and alleviate any stressful situations thus calming down stress hormones such as cortisol. As a result, rather than people narrowing their attention to any perceived threat, which is causing the stress, we open ourselves up to broader thinking, better problem solving and greater creative thought. 

“Leaders need to give their staff opportunities to develop and grow, and to lead by example.   The brain loves to learn, but this invariably leads to change in a business environment, which the brain is resistant to.  This is why development needs to be delivered in a positive way thus encouraging people to want to learn.”  

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