Did you succumb to Halloween? It’s not your fault.

You’ve just survived a full-on holiday if you live in the US – Halloween.  It struck me this week that Halloween is masterfully designed to push every button in our tri-part brains.  As consumers, we take in information, respond and decide to buy based on signals from our old-as-time brains.

And boy, do candy and film producers understand this perfectly.

Have you ever been lured into a scary movie?  Film producers know that there is no better way to play off our survival instincts than to experience the thrills of a threat to life and limb from the comfy seat in a Cineplex.

Halloween triggers our full range of emotions, too.  We’re alternately titillated or grossed out by friends’ costumes at the weekend party.  Adorable babies in pumpkin suits paraded through the local mall pull ‘awwwww’s’ from us. 

And our logical mind convinces us that we will of course require the Costco-size bag of miniature candy bars for all of the trick-or-treaters.  The fact that I had just 5 kids come to my door last year doesn’t mean anything.  This year might be different.

Yes, it’s remarkable to consider how many industries have effectively nailed the opportunity that Halloween offers.  They achieve this windfall by knowing their customers from the inside out, tapping into recent insights from neuroscience. 

Today we know how your customer’s brain really takes in information; how our minds create long-lived associations that define the best-loved – or despised – brands.  And critically, what part of the brain makes the decision to buy.

A classic example of a company doing this well is the PT Cruiser, a success story due to the critter brain, as Carl Buchheit name the older two mechanisms of our brain.

In the 1990’s, Chrysler was just another struggling car company making products that looked like a subtle variation of every other American car on the market.

Then the product team had a conversation with their buyer’s critter, the portion responsible for making purchase decisions. Chrysler listened to the subconscious desires that people held for a car of their dreams then designed it. 

Love it or hate it, the PT Cruiser stands as one of the most successful model launches in automotive history. In fact, in 2000, the PT Cruiser was the best-selling car on the market in the world. Those answers are available to you or any business; they’re buried inside your customer’s brain. Learn how these inner gears operate and you will know:

  •  How your customer has changed after the economic turmoil of the past few years and what you need to do differently to respond. 
  • How to stand out from the morass of competitive messages that your customer sees daily. 
  • What to say and how to say it powerfully to be relevant when your consumer is making a decision to buy. Are you ignoring this new knowledge? 

Businesses who aren’t paying deep attention to their customers will typically find that building sales will be harder, their frustration level higher, and customer loyalty weaker.

It is more than a decision to buy an industrial-size bag of seasonal candy. Events of the past few years have shaken all of us, your customer included, to the soles of our boots. Learning how your customer is making his or her decisions to buy can be the difference between your products sinking or selling.

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