Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Jul 9, 2021

Today I am very excited to have Dr. Matt Johnson on the show to talk about the application of neuroscience and psychology to the business world. A professor, researcher, and writer, Matt received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience from Princeton University in 2013. His focus now is ultimately about bridging the gap between science and business, and to this end, he works across several fields including behavioral economics, consumer neuroscience, and experiential marketing.

A contributor to major news outlets including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and VICE and writer for Psychology Today, Matt regularly provides expert opinion and thought leadership on a range of topics related to the human side of business. He advises both start-ups and large brands in his native San Francisco and has served as an expert-in-residence to Nike’s Innovation Team in Portland, Oregon. Among other things today, we are going to talk about the book he co-wrote, called Blindsight: The (Mostly) Hidden Ways Marketing Reshapes our Brains. It’s fascinating stuff you definitely want to listen to today!

Show Notes:

  • [00:07] In today’s episode, I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Matt Johnson, co-author of Blindsight.
  • [01:38] Among other things today, we are going to talk about the book he co-wrote, called Blindsight: The (Mostly) Hidden Ways Marketing Reshapes our Brains.
  • [03:30] Matt shares more about who he is and how he got into behavioral science. He has always been driven by a curiosity about why we do what we do. 
  • [05:33] For the past five years he has been working to explore the deep connection between neuroscience and marketing. 
  • [08:16] They started working together as neuroscientists and marketers because of the shared realization of the similarities just separated by vocabulary. 
  • [09:06] The mind and brain are fundamentally the same entity. They really just differ in terms of the language which is used to describe it. 
  • [10:35] It is clear that the mind and the brain have a relationship. It is not immediately obvious what this relationship is. 
  • [11:46] It is understood at this point that the brain produces the mind. 
  • [14:06] “If you are led to deeply believe that your chosen shoe brand makes you a better basketball player, who’s to say that it doesn’t?” -Matt Johnson
  • [14:35] He is very interested in the ways the consumer world shapes our belief systems and our associations that we have given brands and products.  These shifts can actually change our experiences and our perceptions of reality. 
  • [16:04] Each new advertisement you see of Coca-Cola has changed the brain in such a way where it changes your fundamental concept of what you are consuming and this fundamentally shifts your experience.  There is this gap between objectivity and physical reality. 
  • [17:27] Brands and consumer experiences are such a fascinating thing to study. 
  • [19:43] Even if you have maximum exposure to the brand, they still invest in additional advertisements because of the exposure effect. The exposure effect moves the need more to preferences. 
  • [21:29] Red Bull has continued to expand their target market to the point that now they are speaking to each of us. They started with a narrow association strategy and expanded strategically as they went.  
  • [23:45] It is crucial to maintain brand perception by having a consistent execution with all your brand identifiers. 
  • [24:33] Adding in a little newness can actually increase preferences even more instead of just repeat exposure. 
  • [25:50] Matt shares about the Cadbury Gorilla and the value of doing something unexpected. 
  • [27:11] When your consumers come to expect a certain type of brand personality or service, giving them something totally and completely different is a fantastic way to drive attention. 
  • [27:59] The key to grabbing attention is going against the grain. 
  • [29:57] You have to understand what the current goals of the brand are to choose the correct strategy. 
  • [31:28] Brands have much less control over their brand image than they ever have before so brands really need to rethink how they’re constructing brand perception to begin with. 
  • [33:23] Brands really need to adapt to this new media landscape through co-creation of the brand personality and also leaning into user-generated content. 
  • [35:13] Matt shares his favorite tidbit from the book: psychology essentialism. 
  • [37:13] A little story can actually go a long way. The story enhances the value of the product. 
  • [39:31] Just like brands compete in terms of their positioning and products, they also compete in terms of their story. One of the goals of storytelling is empathy. 
  • [40:46] We can’t empathize with groups, but we empathize with individuals very easily. Ideally oriented your story to an individual will enhance the empathic response. 
  • [42:48] Melina shares her closing thoughts.
  • [43:55] Melina’s first book, What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You is officially available on AmazonBookshop, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Booktopia

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

Let’s connect:

More from The Brainy Business:

Get the Books Mentioned on (or related to) this Episode:

Connect with Matt: 

Past Episodes & Other Important Links: 

Check out What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You on AmazonBookshop, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Booktopia