Get ready, because we’re about to get real science-y. And I’m no scientist, but I have reading a lot about this particular subject lately, and thinking a lot about how it ties into branding.

Mirror neurons play a BIG part in how we perceive brands and choose to interact with them.

You’re probably wondering, what are mirror neurons? Well, they’re basically a tiny cluster of cells in the brain. One of their functions is controlling our empathy.

They’re the reason we yawn when we see someone else yawn and the reason you probably just yawned while reading this. Also, they’re the reason I just yawned while writing this.

Some people call them “the mind’s mirror”. They were discovered when scientists were studying a macaque monkey’s brain. When the monkey, who was set up with an EEG machine, reached for a peanut, certain neurons in his brain fired up. But when the monkey watched another monkey reach for a peanut, they discovered that the same neurons fired.

Mirror neurons might just be one of the most important findings in the last decade of neuroscience. They’re helping us to understand phenomena like how we show emotional empathy in our relationships and communication, the way language evolves, and even our personal identities.

To put it simply, they allow us to feel what we see. The way we wince when we see someone stub their toe.

Or, the way a feel-good, heartwarming ad campaign makes us feel all fuzzy inside – and then because of that, we associate the feeling with the brand. We start to think of a brand as warm. Do you see what I’m getting at?

Brands can use this knowledge of mirror neurons to better market their products and services.

Mirror neurons tell us more about why and how we imitate media. We become what we see. And we buy products because they can make us cooler, trendier, smarter, more responsible, etc. We see clothes in a shop window and suddenly picture ourselves wearing those clothes – we how a new brand look would affect our social standing, our confidence, our life. Martin Lindstrom explores exactly this phenomenon in his book Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (which I highly recommend to anyone who’s interested in neuromarketing!)

If there’s one thing that mirror neurons show us, it’s that emotion is a crucial aspect of branding. Did you know that 90% of our decisions are based on emotion?

You want to tap into your customers feelings and needs! What need does your product fulfil? Who does your customer strive to be?

If you can connect on an emotional level, you’re going to grow a loyal audience that’ll stick with you for the long haul.

 

Need to figure out how to connect with your customers? Let’s work together.

 

Kate Bourque is a branding and web specialist in Ottawa, Canada with a background in design. She’s passionate about brand psychology and why we buy. 

 

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